Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still Valid 40 Years Later

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product - if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

- Robert Kennedy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

There is a reason the Kennedys were so powerful and I feel it's not because they were all very "pretty" in their time. They were a family full of wisdom. Granted, speeches are normally written by professional speech writers and the politicians often just deliver the words with a few changes here and there, but the team work can create a powerful message that remains valid for forty years.

I was made aware of this quote by the most recent TED video (below). This is David Cameron speaking about behavioral economics. I think he's on the right track talking about how to change people's political behavior by appealing to who they already are, not trying to change or mold them into someone else.

Of course, anything said in a British accent sounds so much more intelligent. Why IS that?

(Well that stinks - their video won't play so I had to change it to a link that opens in a new window.)

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