David Brooks, a New York Times opinion columnist, will be in Winston-Salem next week to talk about bringing together people in a divided U.S. society.
Brooks’ appearance is part of “Better Communities and Better Lives,” an event sponsored by the Winston-Salem Foundation. His talk is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Reynolds Auditorium, 301 N. Hawthorne Road. Tickets for Brooks' talk are sold-out.
Scott Wierman, the foundation’s president, said that Brooks’ visit is part of his organization’s celebration of its 100th anniversary in Winston-Salem.
“2019 has been a celebration of our first 100 years and a time to look toward our future and our next century of service to the community,” Wierman said in a statement. “We felt that bringing a speaker such as David Brooks, with national significance, to speak about connecting our community was the perfect way to culminate this year’s efforts to engage and thank Winston-Salem for its legacy of generosity.”
Brooks, 58, has worked as an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since September 2003. Brooks, an executive director at the Aspen Institute in Washington, is also a commentator on PBS’s “Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Brooks’ most recent book, “The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life,” was released in 2019. He is also the author of “The Road to Character,” and other books. Brooks is on the faculty of Yale University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Brooks said he plans to speak about what he sees as a troubled American society.
“I really want to talk about the state of the community in America, where it is and where it’s failing apart, but where it’s being put together,” Brooks said in a recent telephone interview from Washington.
In “Second Mountain,” Brooks writes about what he considers the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith and to a community, according to a description of the book by his publisher, Penquin Random House of New York.
In the 346-page book, Brooks documents “a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence,” his publisher says.
Throughout the book, Brooks discusses tribalism and community.
“I make a distinction between community and tribalism,” Brooks said. “To me, community is people coming around something they love in common, like people in Winston-Salem, and they want to serve it together.
“And tribalism is based on some mutual hatred of something, such as hating someone of a different race or different state or different ideology,” he said. “Tribalism is always about a friend/enemy distinction; it’s always conflict.”
Brooks said he encourages people to have a sense of purpose in their lives.
“I think one of our strong motivations in life is not for money, power and status,” Brooks said, “but to have a really a meaningful and good life.
“Even though I think we can be selfish,” he said, “we have a strong motivation to care for each other.”