Researchers at the University of California have asked a question that has bedeviled liberals for years:
Just who is happier, anyway, conservatives or liberals?
Or, to put it another way, who sits on the happiness side of the so-called ideological happiness gap, liberals or conservatives?
Not being an esteemed social scientist or a liberal, it seems to me such studies are a stupid waste of time and money, promoted by morons to legitimize a particular political point of view.
Conservatism is an attitude. It is not by its nature an ideology. But I'm not going to waste my precious time explaining essential truths to esteemed scientists (i.e., "morons") who proceed as if never having read Edmund Burke.
For decades, conservatives were considered the happier group because, basically, they told researchers they were happy. Liberals didn't feel altogether happy and made the mistake of being honest about it.
The New York Times (a well-known liberal paper) is sensitive to this imbalance of happiness, reporting that scientists are "raising the possibility that although conservatives may report greater happiness than liberals, they are no more likely to act in ways that indicate that they really are happier."
Meanwhile, The Washington Post, the house organ of big federal government, also jumped on the study, quoting one of the scientists as saying something revealing:
"Common sense would dictate that if you want to know how happy someone is, you can ask them," said Peter Ditto, a professor at University of California at Irvine. "But what do you do if someone says they're happy but doesn't act that way?"
Conservatives, the scientists said, have a tendency to "self-aggrandize," reported the Post, while liberals who weren't so happy told the truth. "In other words, liberals were being more honest about their personal pitfalls."
So the scientists began to examine the allegedly self-aggrandizing comments by conservatives to see how much of it was pure bragging.
I've never cared one way or another if liberals or conservatives are happy. If people want to brag that they're happy, and suggest it is due to their politics, I'd suggest they need a drink.
But otherwise, who cares?
What worries me are people who walk around with smiles on their faces. What's wrong with them anyway?
You don't run toward such people. You run away from them, since they're rather frightening, especially if they're politicians.
Vague smiles usually mean the person is high on narcotics, or perhaps mad.
In rare cases, it might also mean the person's been lobotomized with one of those silver hammers from Victorian days -- if you've seen Ian Holm play the surgeon in the Jack the Ripper movie "From Hell" then you know what I'm talking about.
And if you don't know, then you should probably just leave it alone, or you won't be happy.
Perhaps the person smiling at you has been absorbed by an alien host that left a gigantic, hairy seed pod next to his bed.
The thing is: What do his politics have to do with it?
As a conservative, I've always felt it best to frown.
Well, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, the national debt is too large, the government is too big, personal freedoms have been eroded, drones are everywhere, the NSA will probably put chips in our heads or suppositories up our behinds without telling us, and the president of the United States is acting like a Chicago boss.
Oh, and most Americans don't give a damn about their liberty anyway, yet they will argue for hours about entertainment news or whether dogs have souls.
And, if you say you support the Constitution as written, you're apt to be called some kind of crazed radical "extremist."
That's why I frown, OK?
According to the reports of the stupid study, the scientists examined photographs of the 533 members of Congress, paying particular attention to the eye muscles.
Conservatives, according to the University of California scientists, were less likely than liberals to use facial muscles around the eyes when they smile.
Researchers operated under the theory that political eye crinkling, rather than mere flashing of capped political teeth, is indicative of true happiness.
I don't know whether the researchers made a careful study of Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, and Rep. Aaron Schock, Peoria Republican.
But one thing you can say with true bipartisan even-handedness: They're great eye crinklers, the both of them. And neither is conservative.
Durbin plays the lefty attack dog and Schock, the establishment Republican, has publicly displayed his rock-hard abs, though now he's being ridiculed for excessive spending out of his political accounts.
And when Durbin or Schock smile, crinkling their eyes, one thing you know for certain: They just ooze sincerity, don't they?
The foolish happiness competition between liberals and conservatives is, at best, bothersome, and at worst, a complete and utter waste of time.
The liberals have already won, haven't they? Government keeps growing and individuals keep shrinking. Why shouldn't they be happy?
These days, the pursuit of happiness is not enough. America is now a place where happiness is a right.
And if you're not happy, it will most likely be deemed illegal, perhaps immoral, and this will likely be blamed on conservatives.
So please do us all a favor. Liberal or conservative, get happy as fast as you can. And then please shut up about it.