Did you know liberals arenít as happy as conservatives? Of course, you did. How could you not know it after listening to them incessantly wail, gripe, whine, and complain about everything? But, letís bringÖ.drumroll, please ó the science! First, hereís the Pew Research
comparison between Republicans and Democrats:
The survey, released this week, points out several disparities based on lifestyle, beliefs and political persuasion:
* Republicans are happier than Democrats.
* People who worship frequently are happier than those who donít.
* The rich are happier than the poor.
* Whites and Hispanics are happier than blacks.
* Married people are happier than the unmarriedÖ
About 45 percent of Republicans said they were very happy, compared with 30 percent of Democrats. Republicans have been happier in surveys going back to 1972, the Pew study notes.
Hereís more from Arthur Brooks:
In 2004, people who said they were conservative or very conservative were nearly twice as likely to say they were very happy as people who called themselves liberal or very liberal (44 percent versus 25 percent). Conservatives were only half as likely to say they were not too happy (9 versus 18 percent). Political conservatives were also far less likely than liberals to express maladjustment to their adult lives. For example, adults on the political right were only half as likely as those on the left to say, ďat times, I think I am no good at all.Ē They were also less likely to say they were dissatisfied with themselves, that they were inclined to feel like a failure, or to be pessimistic about their futures. Further, a 2007 survey found that 58 percent of Republicans rated their mental health as ďexcellent,Ē versus 43 percent of political independents and just 38 percent of Democrats.
Want to be a miserable person? Be a liberal. Want to have a happy life? Be a conservative. Why is that the case? There are a number of reasons for it.
1) Conservatives believe in personal responsibility
: One of the tragic facts of life is that nobody cares as much about you as you do. Thatís why, if you want to have a good life and be a happy person, youíre going to have to take care of it yourself. Conservatives get this. Liberals? Not so much.
Liberals spend a lot of time playing the victim and trying to come up with ways to get someone else to fix their lives. ďWell, if the government forced some rich guy to give me more of his money, then all my problems would be solved! If our society could just make this change, then we could all dance in the moonlight with faeries and unicorns! If the government just added one more program, then we could teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, hold it in our arms, and keep it company!Ē
One of the biggest keys to happiness is accepting that if you want to be happy, you need to take personal responsibility for everything in your life so you can do something about it. On the other hand, you want to be unhappy? Act like liberals and expect other people to show up and fix your problems.
2) Conservatives are more religious than liberals
: Thereís a school of thought, largely embraced by liberals, that says religion is an archaic, largely arbitrary set of rules that do little more than keep you from doing all the ďfun stuffĒ in life. That view leads to not taking your religious views very seriously at best and atheism or agnosticism at worst.
On the other hand, hereís an alternate view, one that many conservatives hold. Religion, particularly Christianity, isnít out-of-date or arbitrary at all. Moreover, religion doesnít keep you from doing all the ďfun stuffĒ so much as it keeps you from committing sins that may be fun for a season, but ultimately end in sorrow.
Weíre right, theyíre wrong and thatís another big reason why so many of us are happy and so many of them are not.
3) Conservatives are more likely than liberals to get married
: Despite everything you hear about divorce and unhappy marriages, people who are married are much more likely to be happy than those who are single:
In 2004, 42 percent of married Americans said they were very happy. Only 23 percent of never-married people said this, as well as 20 percent of those who were widowed, 17 percent of divorced people, and 11 percent of those who were separated (but not divorced) from their spouses. Married people were six times more likely to say they were very happy than they were to say they were not too happy.
Conservatives tend to place a considerably higher value on marriage than liberals do. To conservatives, marriage is the bedrock of society, whereas to liberals, itís not all that important. This is one of the reasons we have huge battles over gay marriage. Conservatives think itís dangerous for society to tinker with such an important tradition while liberals donít think marriage is all that valuable. Itís also why ďconservatives are twice as likely to be married.Ē
Twice as likely? Why, itís almost as if conservatives believe all that stuff theyíre saying about marriage being the ďbedrock of our society.Ē Too bad liberals donít look at it the same way. Theyíd be happier people.
4) Liberalism just doesnít work very well in the real world
: If you spend your whole life advocating ideas that make peopleís lives worse, that fall apart at the first touch of reality, and that rely on a government thatís inevitably slow, stupid, and ineffective, itís not going to be conducive to your happiness. Liberal policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them. Thatís what happens when you back political policies based on how they make you feel about yourself.
Conservatives donít have that problem. We support policies based on what works. The better you understand the world and how it works, the easier life is going to be for you. On the other hand, if you spend your whole life trying to slam a square peg into a round hole, itís not likely to lead to contentment.
5) Liberalism has turned into an extraordinarily harsh, divisive, angry ideology
: As a political philosophy, liberalism is centered around hatred and divisiveness. Liberals donít promote their ideas so much as they try to turn people against those who get in the way of their ideas.
Liberals lie to minorities and tell them that conservatives hate them, they tell women that men hate them, they tell the poor they should hate the rich. They try to pit the successful against the unsuccessful, the workers against the corporations ó and they regularly talk about their own country like it is one of the most godawful places on earth. That means liberals are, at best, extraordinarily cynical people whoíre willing to manipulate people for political gain ó and at worst, it means that they believe all this nonsense, which would make the world seem to be a very unpleasant place indeed. If you spend your life seething over a litany of grievances youíve created from scratch in your own head, then youíre probably going to be an Eeyore instead of floating on Cloud 9.