52 Quotes of Nicholas Kristof

” Inequality causes problems by creating fissures in societies, leaving those at the bottom feeling marginalized or disenfranchised. “
” The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul. “
” Above all, we want Millennials to realize that they can have an impact on the world and that, in the course of empowering others, they can also empower themselves. “
” The best escalator to opportunity in America is education. “
” Most of the time in the 21st century, we dominate our surroundings: We tweak the thermostat, and the temperature falls one degree. We push a button, and Taylor Swift sings for us. It’s the opposite in the wilderness, which teaches us constantly that we are not lords of the universe but rather building blocks of it. “
” Our world is enriched when coders and marketers dazzle us with smartphones and tablets, but, by themselves, they are just slabs. It is the music, essays, entertainment and provocations that they access, spawned by the humanities, that animate them – and us. “
” Why are fanatics so terrified of girls’ education? Because there’s no force more powerful to transform a society. The greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles, but girls reading books. “
” Anybody looking at the history even of the 20th century would not single out Islam as the bloodthirsty religion; it was Christian/Nazi/Communist Europe and Buddhist/Taoist/Hindu/atheist Asia that set records for mass slaughter. “
” Individual storytelling is incredibly powerful. We as journalists know intuitively what scientists of the brain are discovering through brain scans, which is that emotional stories tend to open the portals, and that once there’s a connection made, people are more open to rational arguments. “
” Every high school and college graduate in America should, I think, have some familiarity with statistics, economics and a foreign language such as Spanish. Religion may not be as indispensable, but the humanities should be a part of our repertory. They may not enrich our wallets, but they do enrich our lives. They civilize us. They provide context. “
” Literature seems to offer lessons in human nature that help us decode the world around us and be better friends. “
” Climate change is hugely exacerbated by changing patterns of how we choose to live, often in danger zones such as extremely vulnerable coastal zones – from New Jersey to the Philippines. This enormously increases the economic and human costs of hurricanes, rising seas and changing weather patterns. “
” Maybe our best family trip started at Victoria Falls, which drenches you with spray and is so vast that it makes Niagara Falls seem like a backyard creek. Then we rented a car and made our way to Hwange National Park, which was empty of people but crowded with zebras, giraffes, elephants and more. “
” Utah may well be the most cosmopolitan state in America. Vast numbers of young Mormons – increasingly women as well as men – spend a couple of years abroad as missionaries and return jabbering in Thai or Portuguese and bearing a wealth of international experience. “
” Wilderness trails constitute a rare space in America marked by economic diversity. Lawyers and construction workers get bitten by the same mosquitoes and sip from the same streams; there are none of the usual signals about socioeconomic status, for most hikers are in shorts and a T-shirt and enveloped by an aroma that would make a skunk queasy. “
” A basic element of the American dream is equal access to education as the lubricant of social and economic mobility. “
” You no more have the right to risk others by failing to vaccinate than you do by sending your child to school with a hunting knife. Vaccination isn’t a private choice but a civic obligation. “
” The greatest problem is not with flat-out white racists, but rather with the far larger number of Americans who believe intellectually in racial equality but are quietly oblivious to injustice around them. “
” What use could the humanities be in a digital age? University students focusing on the humanities may end up, at least in their parents’ nightmares, as dog-walkers for those majoring in computer science. But, for me, the humanities are not only relevant but also give us a toolbox to think seriously about ourselves and the world. “
” One of the things you learn as a journalist is that when there’s no accountability, we humans are capable of tremendous avarice and venality. That’s true of union bosses – and of corporate tycoons. Unions, even flawed ones, can provide checks and balances for flawed corporations. “
” One of the things that evangelicals do really, really well is to make giving a joyous, social enterprise. Too often, the world sees giving as a burden, a sacrifice, when in fact it’s more like an opportunity to help others and oneself at the same time. “
” We journalists are a bit like vultures, feasting on war, scandal and disaster. Turn on the news, and you see Syrian refugees, Volkswagen corruption, dysfunctional government. Yet that reflects a selection bias in how we report the news: We cover planes that crash, not planes that take off. “
” Our public figures are often narcissists, utterly self-absorbed in their quest for power. “
” One of the aims of higher education is to broaden perspectives, and what better way than by a home stay in a really different country, like Bangladesh or Senegal? Time abroad also leaves one more aware of the complex prism of suspicion through which the United States is often viewed. “
” If only meat weren’t so delicious! Sure, meat may pave the way to a heart attack. Yes, factory farms torture animals. Indeed, producing a single hamburger patty requires more water than two weeks of showers. But for those of us who are weak-willed, there’s nothing like a juicy burger. “
” Beware of generalizations about any faith because they sometimes amount to the religious equivalent of racial profiling. Hinduism contained both Gandhi and the fanatic who assassinated him. “
” I can’t help thinking that if the American West were discovered today, the most glorious bits would be sold off to the highest bidder. Yosemite might be nothing but weekend homes for Internet tycoons. “
” One of my frustrations is that we in society generally have this bifurcation in how we see the world. That’s probably a little less true with business audiences, but in general, there tends to be this view that for-profit companies are greedy, and nonprofits are noble. It’s absolutely more complicated than that. “
” We all stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. We’re in a relay race, relying on the financial and human capital of our parents and grandparents. Blacks were shackled for the early part of that relay race, and although many of the fetters have come off, whites have developed a huge lead. “
” I think we need to rethink a lot of business skills. In finance, for example, social impact bonds are potentially a way of providing capital for investments that save the public money in a context in which government often doesn’t invest in things that would save it money. “
” In 2013, 71 percent of black children in America were born to an unwed mother, as were 53 percent of Hispanic children and 36 percent of white children. Indeed, a single parent is the new norm. “
” Since the end of the 1970s, something has gone profoundly wrong in America. Inequality has soared. Educational progress slowed. Incarceration rates quintupled. Family breakdown accelerated. Median household income stagnated. “
” Seniors vote, and that is why we have, you know, Medicare since the 1960s for seniors, and we didn’t have a national healthcare program for children, even though it’s a lot more cost-effective to deal with children than with seniors. “
” Most moms and dads, they want to be good moms and dads. But it’s an incredibly hard job when you are stressed out, when you are poor, when your life is in chaos. And giving them some of the tools to be better parents, to whittle away at that parenting gap, gives those kids a much better starting point in life. “
” Saudi Arabia isn’t the enemy, but it is a problem. It could make so much positive difference in the Islamic world if it used its status to soothe Sunni-Shiite tensions and encourage tolerance. For a time, under King Abdullah, it seemed that the country was trying to reform, but now under King Salman, it has stalled. “
” I think humanitarians really feel very awkward and embarrassed about marketing, but it really doesn’t matter whether a shampoo gets better marketing. It does matter when a famine or a huge crisis is – oh – well, I hate to use the word ‘marketed’ better but, you know, is publicized in a way that will be more effective. “
” One of the most crucial kinds of intervention is in advocacy. We can think about charities in the context of delivering services, and indeed that is part of their job, but advocacy is also getting governments to step up to the plate. They can also give more voice to those who don’t have one. “
” The Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine, is in northwestern India near the Pakistani border, and it is a delightful place to contemplate the draw of faith. “
” Too often, I believe, liberals deny that poverty is linked to bad choices. “
” My take is that the optimal approach to food, for health and ethical reasons, may be vegetarianism. “
” If I wanted a circus ringmaster, I’d hire Trump. If I wanted advice on brain surgery or hospital management, I’d turn to Carson. Fiorina would make an articulate television pundit. But for president? “
” In Angola, I visited ‘HeroRats’ that have been trained to sniff out land mines (and, in some countries, diagnose tuberculosis). In a day, they can clear 20 times as much of a minefield as a human, and they work for bananas! “
” Dr. Ben Carson has the most moving personal narrative in modern presidential politics. His mother, one of 24 children, had only a third-grade education. She was married at age 13, bore Ben and his brother, and then raised the boys as an impoverished single mother in Detroit. As a young boy, Carson was a terrible student. “
” Saudi Arabia has supported Wahhabi madrasas in poor countries in Africa and Asia, exporting extremism and intolerance. Saudi Arabia also exports instability with its brutal war in Yemen, intended to check what it sees as Iranian influence. “
” In effect, Saudi Arabia legitimizes fundamentalism, religious discrimination, intolerance and the oppression of women. Saudi women not only can’t drive, but are also told by some clerics that they mustn’t wear seatbelts for fear of showing the outlines of their bodies. “
” Saudi Arabia inflames the Sunni-Shiite divide and sets a pernicious example of intolerance by banning churches. “
” For all Trump’s criticisms of government, his family wealth came from feeding at the government trough. His father, Fred Trump, leveraged government housing programs into a construction business; the empire was founded on public money. “
” There’s something to be said for CEOs’ entering politics: In theory, they have management expertise and financial savvy. Then again, it didn’t work so well with Dick Cheney. “
” It’s maddening in my travels to watch children dying simply because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. “
” When the poor know that their children will survive, when they educate their daughters, when they access family planning, they have fewer children. “
” The ice bucket challenge went viral in 2014, partly because it was so much fun to watch videos of celebrities or friends dumping ice water on their heads. Videos of people in the challenge have been watched more than 10 billion times on Facebook – more than once per person on the planet. “
” Most of the time in America, we’re surrounded by oppressive inequality such that the wealthiest 1 percent collectively own substantially more than the bottom 90 percent. One escape from that is America’s wild places. “