Did you know liberals aren't 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, let's bring....drumroll, please -- the science! First, here's 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 don't.
* The rich are happier than the poor.
* Whites and Hispanics are happier than blacks.
* Married people are happier than the unmarried...
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.
Here’s 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, “at times, I think I am no good at all.” 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 “excellent,” 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. That's why, if you want to have a good life and be a happy person, you're 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. "Well, 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!"
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: There's 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 "fun stuff" 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, here's an alternate view, one that many conservatives hold. Religion, particularly Christianity, isn't out-of-date or arbitrary at all. Moreover, religion doesn't keep you from doing all the "fun stuff" so much as it keeps you from committing sins that may be fun for a season, but ultimately end in sorrow.
We're right, they're wrong and that's 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, it's not all that important. This is one of the reasons we have huge battles over gay marriage. Conservatives think it's dangerous for society to tinker with such an important tradition while liberals don't think marriage is all that valuable. It's also why "conservatives are twice as likely to be married."
Twice as likely? Why, it's almost as if conservatives believe all that stuff they're saying about marriage being the "bedrock of our society.” Too bad liberals don't look at it the same way. They'd be happier people.
4) Liberalism just doesn't work very well in the real world: If you spend your whole life advocating ideas that make people's lives worse, that fall apart at the first touch of reality, and that rely on a government that's inevitably slow, stupid, and ineffective, it's 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. That's what happens when you back political policies based on how they make you feel about yourself.
Conservatives don't 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, it's 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 don't 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 -- 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 who're willing to manipulate people for political gain -- 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 you've created from scratch in your own head, then you're probably going to be an Eeyore instead of floating on Cloud 9.