The American Enterprise Institute, home or at least temporary perch to such right-wing stalwarts as Richard Perle, John Yoo, Charles Murray, David Frum, and John Bolton -- and, as a result, unsurprisingly, a bete noire of the left -- has a new president. He's Arthur Brooks, a professor of government and business at Syracuse University.
I wrote about Brooks when he first arrived at AEI as a visiting scholar, and I saw him present at the DC think tank the ideas and data underpinning his book "Who Really Gives"? (The short answer: Religious conservatives. Who doesn't? Secular liberals and -- a fact played down in his book -- secular conservatives.) Some readers thought my profile was unduly skeptical, but judge for yourself.
Brooks's latest book is "Gross National Happiness." Its main finding, according to the AEI website: "The values that bring happiness are faith, charity, hard work, optimism, and individual liberty. Secularism, excessive reliance on the state to solve problems, and an addiction to security all promote unhappiness."
Brooks succeeds Christopher DeMuth, who has led AEI since 1986.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.