The Happiness Gap

Posted: Oct 30, 2007 9:24 AM
David Brooks has an interesting piece in the NY Times today.  Essentially, he argues Americans are happy with their private lives, but unhappy with public institutions.  This, of course, makes it very tricky for a politicians who want to appeal to voters:
If one were to advise a candidate about the happiness gap, you’d say: first, don’t try to be inspiring or rely on the pure power of authenticity. In these cynical days, voters are not interested in uplift.

... In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt could launch the New Deal because voters wanted to change the country and their own lives. But today, people want the government to change so their own lives can stay the same. Voters don’t want to be transformed; they want to be defended.