Politics of Kindness When We Really Need It

The first thing you should do, in any policy situation, is ask “what would the golden rule have me do?” Most of the time, this will be the correct policy, which will produce the best results. People who are treated with kindness, in general, reciprocate and are productive. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. Ian Welsh, Scottish politician, on the politics of kindness

In the wake of a major national tragedy, words are hard to find and the best courses of action difficult to determine.

One thing I know right off the bat, though, is that the values that drive public policy matter greatly. And my belief is that the politics of kindness, which happens to be the main stance of President Obama, will almost always serve us best. His words several years ago: “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs.”

And despite what the cynics may believe, Hillary Clinton for decades has stood by a similar core philosophy: “Love and kindness.”

Psychologist Dacher Keltner, Co-Director of the Greater Good Science Center and author of new book The Power Paradox, offers info that’s relevant to today’s political climate:

We tend to believe that attaining power requires force, deception, manipulation, and coercion. Indeed, we might even assume that positions of power demand this kind of conduct—that to run smoothly, society needs leaders who are willing and able to use power this way. As seductive as these notions are, they are dead wrong. Instead, a new science of power has revealed that power is wielded most effectively when it’s used responsibly by people who are attuned to, and engaged with the needs and interests of others.

When proceeding, then, to consider and debate whether it’s all about assault rifles, terrorism, mental illness, hatred, or all the above and more, let’s keep caring and kindness in the forefront.

George Hodgman: Kindness may be the most difficult of virtues, but when I have encountered it, it has meant everything to me.

Amelia Earhart: A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.

Dalai Lama XIV: This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

Theodore Isaac Rubin: Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Nathaniel Branden: There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.

Jean Maalouf: Kindness holds the key to the secret of our own transformation and, in the process, of the transformation of the world.

Albert Schweitzer: Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

Henry James: Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.

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