As a child, I was a voracious reader, mostly of fiction. I would read during class, during lunch, during the bus ride. When I was reading, I was not part of my boring normal life, but part of a deeper, more compelling story.
Fiction has the ability to transport the reader into a different world. The same holds true for movies and television shows. Stories of all types capture our attention and imagination. Even news is told in story fashion. Sports coverage includes the backstories of the athletes to draw us into the narrative of the event.
When we talk, we trade information with friends, often through story form: "Let me tell you what," or, "Can you believe that?"
Even how we view our own lives is a storyline. More often we are the protagonists, the people who are battling against the forces of evil and becoming stronger and better through the process. According to Jonathan Gottschall, author of "The Storytelling Animal," "we are, as a species, addicted to story."
But not all stories are real. For instance: The Obama-Biden campaign recently rolled out a story about Julia, a made-up woman. Titled "The Life of Julia," it is billed as a way to "take a look at how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime -- and how Mitt Romney would change her story."
The moral of the story given to us at the end of the slide show is: "From cracking down on gender discrimination in health care costs to fighting for equal pay, President Obama is standing up for women throughout their lives."
The story promises a nanny state where the government is the one that makes sure people, in this case women, are cared for and happy.
In his newest book, "The Road to Freedom," Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, lays out the opposite moral argument. It is in favor of the free enterprise system and against government control.
The choice he describes is between two versions of America. One where "government will restart our economy with more stimulus, more taxes and more borrowing. Morally, the government holds the secret to fairness through more income redistribution and taxation of the wealthy. The government will lift up the poor and the disadvantaged. We need government programs in order to pursue our happiness." Think Julia.
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