Values & Capitalism on Campus: Bethel College
A Happy Twist on Free Enterprise
Amy Baker, Bethel College
Happiness. Few words in the English language seem so subjective, elusive, ambiguous and sometimes even trite. It’s a difficult term to define, let alone to quantify. But Dr. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, has done the seemingly impossible. As an economist and social scientist, Brooks has the hard facts on happiness, and he traveled to Indiana to share his findings.
About 200 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind., to hear Dr. Brooks discuss four keys to happiness. He shared that happiness is determined by genetics, big life events, and the prioritization of faith, family, friends and work. With an intriguing mix of data, insight, motivation and humor, Dr. Brooks enthralled his audience with a happy twist on free enterprise.
“I was completely captivated by his detailed statistics and revealing truths about happiness,” said senior economics student Zach Miller. “Dr. Brooks’s message was very informative, motivational, and humorous at the same time.”
Attendees seemed to appreciate most Brooks’s evaluation of hard data with such a slippery subject.
“For me that’s what made his presentation so effective,” said Bethel College staff member Wes Laidig. “He wasn’t just giving his opinions during his lecture, but by using data he was able to back up what we know to be true but seem to forget.”
By the end of the evening, the Bethel community had been informed and challenged, not just to increase their own happiness, but to defend and encourage happiness for their neighbors—through the dignity and meaning of work. Dr. Brooks implored his audience to promote and protect free enterprise, on a personal level and through public policy.
“Seeing how packed the Octorium was … made me hopeful that my generation desires to make much-needed, beneficial changes to American public policy,” said Shelby Tuck, a senior psychology student. “I thoroughly enjoyed Brooks’s refreshingly non-partisan lecture on the four pillars of success: faith, family, friends and work.”