What do you believe?
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Tommy Thompson: Sure. It is doing good, and doing as little harm as possible. But looking at the overall good and finding ways in which you can make things better. I’m driven by . . . by results. I’m driven by ideas. And you know I think that is what is failing in American politics right now. Because right now we have . . . I’m a builder, and right now we have people who want to tear down. Democrats hate Republicans; Republicans hate Democrats; everybody hates the Independents. And nobody wants to cross over and say, you know, “Who cares who gets the results? Who cares who gets the credit? Let’s get the results, and let’s change the system for the better.” And that’s what drives me. I wanna . . . I wanna make the system stronger, be more healthy, and make things better tomorrow than they are today. And that’s what I think should drive every person that puts his name or her name on the ballot. They should be smitten with the passion to make things better for the people that elect them.
Recorded on: 7/6/07
Bridging the partisan divide.
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.
- Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
- Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
- Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
An amateur astronomer discovers an interstellar comet on its way to our Sun.
Take the circumstances in your life seriously, but not literally. Here's why.
- Galileo was quite controversial, in part, because he argued that Earth moved around the sun, despite people's senses deluding them that the world was static.
- Evolution may have primed us to see the world in terms of payoffs rather than absolute reality — this has actually helped us survive. Those who win payoffs are more likely to pass on their genes, which encode these strategies to get to the "next level" of life.
- It's important to listen to people's objections because they may bring something to your attention outside your ken. Learn from them to make your ideas sharper.