Why are conservatives happier than liberals?

posted at 10:02 pm on July 9, 2012 by Allahpundit

I’m more interested in your feedback on this than I am in giving my opinion, but my gut feeling is that the touchstone of happiness is purposefulness. At first blush, I can’t reconcile my instinct that lifestyle, not politics per se, is more important with Brooks’s data that extreme ideologues on both sides are happier than squishy moderates. If lifestyle is the main component — e.g., married and religious people tend to be happier than singles and agnostics — then we’d expect moderates to be happier than liberals, fewer of whom have those lifestyle traits. But that’s not what the numbers show: 48 percent of happy people are “extremely conservative,” 35 percent are “extremely liberals,” and only 26 percent are “moderate.” Brooks spitballs:

Political moderates must be happier than extremists, it always seemed to me. After all, extremists actually advertise their misery with strident bumper stickers that say things like, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!”

But it turns out that’s wrong….

What explains this odd pattern? One possibility is that extremists have the whole world figured out, and sorted into good guys and bad guys. They have the security of knowing what’s wrong, and whom to fight. They are the happy warriors.

Whatever the explanation, the implications are striking. The Occupy Wall Street protesters may have looked like a miserable mess. In truth, they were probably happier than the moderates making fun of them from the offices above. And none, it seems, are happier than the Tea Partiers, many of whom cling to guns and faith with great tenacity. Which some moderately liberal readers of this newspaper might find quite depressing.

The common thread between happy lifestyle choices and happy ideological choices is, I think, the sense of purpose. You have it if you have a spouse and children to care for; you have it if you believe God has a special role for you in the world; and you have it if you’re deeply committed to a political platform that you think will save the country. (Doesn’t mean you can’t be happy without those things, of course, but per the data, fewer people are.) Along the same lines, and as silly as it sounds, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that people who follow a sports team devotedly are also happier than average, simply because of the extra little shot of purpose that the team’s drive for a championship gives them vicariously. E.g., I’ve been watching the Pirates since day one this year, from the time they were a scrub team that hadn’t been .500 in 19 years to first place in the NL Central at the break and number five in the ESPN power rankings. And dude, I am telling you: Atheist though I am, if they go all the way and win the Series this year, I will see the face of God. Purpose — it’s a wonderful thing, even when it’s really, really trivial and dumb.

But as I say, I’m more interested in feedback. Why are conservatives happier than liberals?


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What do you mean, Google and SpaceX technology aren’t based on ‘reality’?
It’s unbelievable that you could say something so stupid. Or perhaps you need to rationalize a severe shortcoming into a strength. While conservatives while about the government and their tax rates, progressives are building the next generation of great technologies and companies, from Google to Microsoft to SpaceX.
You could say that the Apple ‘Think Different’ ad would never apply to a conservative.
bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Do you willfully misunderstand people or are you driven to be a douche because you’re unhappy?

gwelf on July 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM

So yes liberals desire for free stuff is built into utopia and doesn’t work, because government are made and paid for by people. People who will have no incentives if all their essentials are given to them for free.

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 10:52 PM

That’s no different from saying that all conservatives are uneducated rednecks that either earn minimum wage or receive federal assistance.

And if you know actually anything about the most successful high growth companies such as Apple and Google, there’s very little ‘conservative’ about them.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

While conservatives while about the government and their tax rates, progressives are
bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Conservatives don’t have to call themselves something different because the old term got soiled in the public mind.

Yesterday: liberal

Today: progressive

Tomorrow: who knows

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM

it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that people who follow a sports team devotedly are also happier than average, simply because of the extra little shot of purpose that the team’s drive for a championship gives them vicariously.

dude? Cubs fans…..?

The disconnect here is the purpose. What, aside from “rooting”, is the fan working toward? There is nothing aside from buying a jersey, watching the game, and buying the “gear” that the fan is really involved in. I like sports, but aside from training/competing, the fan thing can go quite overboard…..as in purposelessness, IYAM.

ted c on July 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Because we’re positive about liberty and our options when we have it. Liberals are negative on that topic. They’re like perpetual adolescents who continue to belive that they can’t be happy unless all those awful other people change first. Conservatives have gotten over that, and realized that our happiness is up to us, and we can’t tell everyone else how they have to change.

It’s incredibly liberating to realize that you don’t have to remake the rest of the world in order to be happy. Now and then it’s a strategic disadvantage, but we conservatives can’t help it: we just can’t start needing to turn everyone else inside out in the vain hope of making ourselves feel better.

J.E. Dyer on July 9, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I credit changing my desktop to raptor Reagan.

jhffmn on July 9, 2012 at 10:58 PM

What I have found is that conservatives don’t really hate anything. They reason thier way through things.
whbates on July 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Sounds like Rush alright. Not an ounce of anger in that man- a soul filled with hope and love for his fellow man.
bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Unlike bayam who takes time to drop by and tell us on a regular basis that we’re all idiots and hypocrites. Out other love in his heart.

Btw, Rush has done more to help others through charitable giving than you or I ever will.

gwelf on July 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

And if you know actually anything about the most successful high growth companies such as Apple and Google, there’s very little ‘conservative’ about them.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Well…other than the keeping of large amounts of money offshore, legally tinkering around the edges to pay less taxes, having uber-rich founders who live in the very lap of 1%’er luxury, and all the other things which are used to smear conservatives as out-of-touch rich jerks.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

AP- why don’t you resurrect one of your Palin flor vp posts if you need traffic that bad.

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

That’s no different from saying that all conservatives are uneducated rednecks that either earn minimum wage or receive federal assistance.
And if you know actually anything about the most successful high growth companies such as Apple and Google, there’s very little ‘conservative’ about them.
bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Google and Apple are 2 cut-throat capitalist corporations. When Jobs got rehired one of the first things he did was cut Apples charitable programs. Besides I thought lefties we’re torn about Apple: it’s so hip yet uses slave labor from China?

gwelf on July 9, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I’m waiting… as in waiting for concrete examples. And by the way, voting for a Tea Party candidate doesn’t count for taking action to improve things.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:44 PM

How about tax returns showing that those on the right give more to charity than those on the left? Coffee Party doesn’t count.

Esthier on July 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Conservatives have gotten over that, and realized that our happiness is up to us, and we can’t tell everyone else how they have to change.

Unless it involves abortion or illicit drugs.

It’s incredibly liberating to realize that you don’t have to remake the rest of the world in order to be happy. Now and then it’s a strategic disadvantage, but we conservatives can’t help it: we just can’t start needing to turn everyone else inside out in the vain hope of making ourselves feel better.

J.E. Dyer on July 9, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Sounds like the way many Brit loyalists would have described those difficult and world-changing Founding Fathers.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Conservatives are happier because we can read a simple headline.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Is it really hard to figure out why someone who believes in self determination and God is happier than someone who feels helpless and relies on forced charity?

How happy would you be if you lived on welfare and believed you were a victim of an unjust society?

jhffmn on July 9, 2012 at 11:07 PM

So yes liberals desire for free stuff is built into utopia and doesn’t work, because government are made and paid for by people. People who will have no incentives if all their essentials are given to them for free.

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 10:52 PM
That’s no different from saying that all conservatives are uneducated rednecks that either earn minimum wage or receive federal assistance.

Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Obamacare, free birth control.. all Liberal policies and programs enacted for people to get FREE STUFF. A generalization based in reality.

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 11:07 PM

Because when I screw up, I immediately know who to blame. If I were a liberal, I would spend the rest of my life fruitlessly searching through the billions of people on earth for the culprits. Talk about frustration!

Peri Winkle on July 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Uppereastside, you are an idiot, but I don’t hate you. It’s just business. Does that help?

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I think devoted sports fans are less happy because they center so much of their energy and emotion in something they have no control over.

gwelf on July 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult.” –M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

butterflies and puppies on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Well…other than the keeping of large amounts of money offshore, legally tinkering around the edges to pay less taxes, having uber-rich founders who live in the very lap of 1%’er luxury, and all the other things which are used to smear conservatives as out-of-touch rich jerks.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Yeah I love liberals when they say the rich should pay more taxes, but of course they don’t honestly mean THEIR rich. Denise Rich just renounced her citizenship because it will save tens of millions of dollars in taxes.. Her husband’s pardon must have cost her too much..

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Because conservatives don’t hate themselves…its easy if you try!

aposematic on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I’m perfectly happy when I’m not paying attention to the sociopathic communist democrat party destroy liberty and opportunity in this great nation.

tom daschle concerned on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I’m probably repeating what others have said but I would say it has something to do with the fact that conservatives believe in personal responsibility and self-determination. That imparts a sense of control over one’s life and destiny. It’s like how good you feel when you cross things off your “to do” list. That sense of accomplishment is a powerful happy pill.

Liberals, OTOH, want someone else to tell them what to do and how to live — and everyone else too. They lack confidence in the average Joe to make appropriate decisions for himself so they wish to appoint the government to make those decisions for him. They are grievance mongers who believe everything in life is inherently unfair and that someone needs to even the playing field. They think that if someone is succeeding, someone else must be losing. The pie has a finite number of pieces, you see. They are plagued by black emotions like envy and contempt. Is it any wonder they’re miserable? If they would just forget about what other people are doing and focus on improving their own lives and the lives of those immediately around them — like maybe donating some of their time and money to those less fortunate (like conservatives do) instead of abdicating their responsibility to be decent citizens of humanity to the government — they’d be much happier and more content.

NoLeftTurn on July 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Happiness, for me, stems from peace of mind. Since it’s impossible to change the whole world, I’m content that I influenced my small corner of it with the best I could offer. Because my parents gave me their best, I returned to God and Country children who are successful; they also married well and have wonderful children in whom they are instilling good values. I don’t see the world with a vision of what I want it to be, and it isn’t. I see it with hope for what it one day might be long after I’m gone.

Liam on July 9, 2012 at 11:12 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Conservatives are happier because we can read a simple headline.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

Yeah I love liberals when they say the rich should pay more taxes, but of course they don’t honestly mean THEIR rich. Denise Rich just renounced her citizenship because it will save tens of millions of dollars in taxes.. Her husband’s pardon must have cost her too much..

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

What do you mean by ‘their rich’? Where do you think the wealth in this country is concentrated? Hint- it’s on the coats, where liberals live in the highest concentration. Conservatives’ anxiousness in protecting Paris Hilton, Larry Page, and the thousands of rich kids in silicon valley from taxes is certainly interesting.

Denise Rich should be tarred and feathered and banished to Kazakhstan.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Why are conservatives happier than liberals?

Because we do not have to pretend to be something other than what we are. We do not have to lie and play games about what our core beliefs and specific aims for this country are.

Being a constant CON saps energy and therefore happiness. Just go to a Whole Foods store (or a Starbucks, or whatever leftist haunt you chose) and look closely at all the pinched, self-absorbed faces of the people there. Give one of them a friendly smile and see what happens. They’ll look at you like you’re an itinerant salesman.

Liberals have to constantly hide their socialistic, statist, blame-America-first beliefs and assumptions.

We on the right do not have to tote such heavy luggage. We stand for what we AFFIRM (rather than what we would run away from). We affirm our love of country. We affirm our love of traditional American values that stretch back for decades and centuries. We affirm our love for individual liberty and freedom from overreaching government. The New Liberal really hates that.

minnesoter on July 9, 2012 at 11:15 PM

What do you mean by ‘their rich’?

How about the Kennedys who never met a tax they didn’t like as long as it effected someone else?

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Exactly! Conservative tend to see the world exactly the way it is and work within it. Liberals live in this utopiaville where people will never live because people are well people..

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 10:15 PM

As my dad, a rock-ribbed conservative to his dying day, used to say: “If you want to get to utopia, you’re gonna have to die first.”

Sorry, moonbats!

NoLeftTurn on July 9, 2012 at 11:17 PM

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Ok I’ve heard enough of why you feel conservatives shouldnt really be happy, but I havent heard a single argument why you are happier than a conservative. What makes your bliss? How is that different than a conservative’s happiness?

canditaylor68 on July 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Sounds like the way many Brit loyalists would have described those difficult and world-changing Founding Fathers.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

It’s certainly the way the Founding Fathers would have described the British parliament.

But the Brits wouldn’t, in fact, have described the Founders that way. Fighting honestly for independence is very different from wanting to control what others do. If the American Founders had argued that the Brits in England needed to be taxed to send money to the colonists, and needed to be prevented from farming in certain ways or dumping their waste overboard in the Atlantic, or needed to be taught certain propaganda themes in school and punished for saying mean things about the colonists — in that case, the Brits would have been justified in describing them as you suggest.

But, of course, the Founders’ purpose had nothing to do with that.

J.E. Dyer on July 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Conservatives are happier because we can read a simple headline.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

We can also see the hilarity on Nov. 6.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 11:19 PM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

No wonder the OWS at Zucotti Park was one big festival.

Bishop on July 9, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I’m more content, because when things go bad, I don’t go bad with them.

Liberals go all to hell.

TheClearRiver on July 9, 2012 at 11:24 PM

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Ok I’ve heard enough of why you feel conservatives shouldnt really be happy, but I havent heard a single argument why you are happier than a conservative. What makes your bliss? How is that different than a conservative’s happiness?

canditaylor68 on July 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Actually I don’t have confidence in this type of survey. You can’t effectively survey happiness because responses can’t be objectively measured and are influenced by all kinds of strange biases.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Because reality is truly is unfair.

Liberals, the self-proclaimed ‘reality-based’ community, are unable to reconcile that with their desire for universal fairness.

Peri Winkle on July 9, 2012 at 11:28 PM

But, of course, the Founders’ purpose had nothing to do with that.

J.E. Dyer on July 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Actually I was referring to Brit loyalists living in the colonies, who believed that the monarchy provided the colonists with generally fair rule of law.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:29 PM

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

You didnt answer my question.

canditaylor68 on July 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

And if you know actually anything about the most successful high growth companies such as Apple and Google, there’s very little ‘conservative’ about them.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Thanks. You just admitted that Google is a Leftist-Biased Search Engine.

Just curious: Do you approve of Google Earth Street View’s going down every street and taking pictures of people sitting on their porches? It’s not illegal, but considering Google’s Leftist history, I would think that would be an Albatross.

(Cue the band)

I’m very stupid compared to you.

bayam on July 25, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Del Dolemonte on July 9, 2012 at 11:42 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Everyone gets angry when their party isn’t in power. Liberals are angry even when their party is in power.

Good Solid B-Plus on July 9, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Actually I don’t have confidence in this type of survey. You can’t effectively survey happiness because responses can’t be objectively measured and are influenced by all kinds of strange biases.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

And yet you posted:

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

So you have confidence in those surveys. Just not the ones which relate happiness to political ideology.

How convenient.

Good Solid B-Plus on July 9, 2012 at 11:44 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

AP- why don’t you resurrect one of your Palin flor vp posts if you need traffic that bad.

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Nah, we’re happier because we don’t live in perpetual panic. We know that we’re gonna come out of this because we’re typically more optimistic than the chicken littles that worry (WORRY!) about the environment, health care, redistribution of wealth, outcome equality, ad nauseum….

We also don’t live politics 24/7. We come here to relax and talk over the events of the day. Oh, and to piss off liberals.

john1schn on July 9, 2012 at 11:49 PM

What do you mean by ‘their rich’? Where do you think the wealth in this country is concentrated? Hint- it’s on the coats, where liberals live in the highest concentration. Conservatives’ anxiousness in protecting Paris Hilton, Larry Page, and the thousands of rich kids in silicon valley from taxes is certainly interesting.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Why? They certainly are more competent with the money than Obama.

Why do you want to reduce demand when you say the problem is weak demand?

Chuck Schick on July 9, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Well, I’d say we’re happier because we get to have sex with the good looking females. I wouldn’t be happy if the only women available had the attitude of the average lib.

platypus on July 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Wow, Bayam you’re kind of an angry troll aren’t you?
Newsflash… I’m a conservative female and I’m happy. Ive never taken a government hand out, my parents are still married, I do not have kids, and I have a kick ass job that allows me to live next to the beach and go to Europe every summer for two weeks on vacation.

Guess what? I did all by myself! And there’s a lot to be said for things you have earned yourself. I’m not jealous of those who earn more than me either, because they earned their life on their own hard work too!

RadioAngel on July 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM

With Obama destroying this country and his plant on the Republican side poised to hand him the election, I really don’t see much to be happy about, quite frankly.

Dunedainn on July 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM

Conservatives are merely less unhappy than leftists.

Leftists’ stance is rooted in envy, racism, condescension and frustration against those who realize that leftism is a debacle wherever it’s fully implemented. Whenever the left encounters something it can’t control, it’s a burr in their saddle.

Pity the poor libturd. It knows it’s a failure and doesn’t have the will to improve itself.

MisterElephant on July 9, 2012 at 11:58 PM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Epic Fail.

You’ve been Constantly Angry about Dick Cheney being a War Criminal for almost 10 years now.

So when does he go to Trial at The Hague? Along with Colin Powell, who was charged with the same War Crimes as Lon was?

UES-

Del Dolemonte on July 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM

’cause we figured out that we’re the real counterculture, who aren’t afraid to laugh at the politically incorrect humor of the old Dean Martin roasts.

ardenenoch on July 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Which explains why a record 70% of high school dropouts voted for O’bama in 2008, and will do so again this time.

You must be sou proud of them.

Del Dolemonte on July 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

canditaylor68 on July 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Actually I don’t have confidence in this type of survey. You can’t effectively survey happiness because responses can’t be objectively measured and are influenced by all kinds of strange biases.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

In other words, you’re admitting that these surveys can be manipulated in order to shape public opinion?

That would explain why you totally ignore the latest polling that shows only 31% of Americans trusting O’bama to do the right things re. the economy. That’s a 10% drop in 7 months.

F-

Del Dolemonte on July 10, 2012 at 12:07 AM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

Yeah I love liberals when they say the rich should pay more taxes, but of course they don’t honestly mean THEIR rich. Denise Rich just renounced her citizenship because it will save tens of millions of dollars in taxes.. Her husband’s pardon must have cost her too much..

melle1228 on July 9, 2012 at 11:09 PM

What do you mean by ‘their rich’? Where do you think the wealth in this country is concentrated? Hint- it’s on the coats, where liberals live in the highest concentration. Conservatives’ anxiousness in protecting Paris Hilton, Larry Page, and the thousands of rich kids in silicon valley from taxes is certainly interesting.

Denise Rich should be tarred and feathered and banished to Kazakhstan.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Arthur Brooks addressed and dismissed this in his article.

gwelf on July 10, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Because when I screw up, I immediately know who to blame. If I were a liberal, I would spend the rest of my life fruitlessly searching through the billions of people on earth for the culprits. Talk about frustration!

Peri Winkle on July 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

This isn’t true if you are a US Leftist – that “billions of people on earth” very quickly gets narrowed down to GWB and/or SP, and sometimes maybe Rush L, too…

Bizarro No. 1 on July 10, 2012 at 12:18 AM

I was flying in B-52s in the early seventies as a cold war warrior. Reagan won that one for a couple of generations. Carter was a SCOAMF and so is Obama. And because of the latter, my grandchildren will still need to fight that same war, among others. It is bullshit.

bville 13027 on July 10, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Conservatives are happier because when they meet someone who disagrees with them, they just think the other person is wrong. When Liberals meet someone who disagrees with them, they feel a raging hatred and call the other person names. Since they meet people who disagree with them every day, they are always filled with raging hatred.

hadsil on July 10, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Whenever Liberals get their way, things invariably get worse. No matter how much of what they want they get it’s never enough to work. They are continually frustrated.

When Conservatives get their way, things work.

Point of note: Red State vs. Blue State employment in this economy.

It’s as simple as that.

jaydee_007 on July 10, 2012 at 12:37 AM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier more dependent and kept in modern day plantations, compaed to than their counterparts.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Gratis, you looter, at worst…

Schadenfreude on July 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

No one hates the poor and lower classes more than Obama and you. You and him know full well that if they get educated and see the light they’re out of your camps.

Schadenfreude on July 10, 2012 at 12:46 AM

How about extremists tend to wall themselves off from things that would make them unhappy?(Athough I’m kind of calling bs on all of this because the most unhappy people always seem to be extreme liberals. A Tim Tebow would be happiest when he is helping someone else whereas libs always seem so pissed because other people aren’t doing what they’re doing.)

JavelinaBomb on July 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM

After all, there is an entire academic literature in the social sciences dedicated to showing conservatives as naturally authoritarian, dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity, fearful of threat and loss, low in self-esteem and uncomfortable with complex modes of thinking.

Brooks is right: people like this shouldn’t be happy.
But most conservatives aren’t really like this.

This particular dedicated branch of social science literature generally starts by defining conservatives as people who have these nasty traits, and end up simply affirming their original bias.

Comparing the comments on this thread to the general run-of-the-mill remarks on a non-conservative website, it seems to me that all of these adjectives belong more to the left.

And people like that aren’t happy.

AesopFan on July 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM

For me it’s because I know that no matter what, it all works out fine in the end.. :)
HotAirian on July 9, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Favorite fridge magnet:
“Remember, it will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

AesopFan on July 10, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Damn! Late again. Nicely said, all of you.
AP, belief in one’s very own self, and grindstone, aplomb, charity/helpfulness, humility, common good sense, love of life, respect for others.

I’m sure I’ve left out more positive attributes. Bless us all, everyone.

mickytx on July 10, 2012 at 1:16 AM

It’s also been proven that people with lower IQs and less education are generally happier than their counterparts.

I’ll speak for all my conservative brethren in HA when I say “kiss our collective asses bayam!”
I have an engineering degree and all of my close family are highly educated and conservative.

MechEng5by5 on July 10, 2012 at 1:19 AM

But as I say, I’m more interested in feedback. Why are conservatives happier than liberals?

God. A literal, existing God as defined in the Bible

God as a metaphor, or Jesus as a social worker doesnt cut it

Literal God promises to make all things right in the end, but it requires full faith and the wrongs may not be righted until the next life. If you truly believe in literal God you have peace and joy

Metaphor God doesnt cut checks or dispense medicine. Since there is no afterlife in metaphor land, material living is a frantic rush against death, and all who stand in the way are destroying the limited chance for material happiness

This is similar to believing in the full faith and credit of the USA. If you believe, you can rest on it

Here is my test of faith. If someone tells you there is a grizzly bear in the kitchen, and you do not believe them, you will ignore the warning. If you believe them, you will not enter the kitchen

Faith also is the confidence you are on the good side of the greatest grizzly and he loves you like a son even if no one else does

entagor on July 10, 2012 at 1:32 AM

Here’s a case in point, via a comment on a post linked in tonight’s QOTD (h/t Flora Duh on July 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM)

Jane Pitt, mother of actor Brad Pitt, has been scared into silence by the hate-filled, vulgar and even violent reaction to her public assertion that Barack Obama is “a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”
Pitt has even been the subject of death threats following her letter to the editor of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader in which she asserted failure to vote for Republican presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney constituted a vote for Obama.
…Editors of the Twitter-scouring news site Twitchy exclaimed sarcastically, “Time for the left’s self-proclaimed arbiters of tolerance to teach her a lesson with their hateful, misogynist slurs and death wishes.”…

Sadly, there are some “conservatives” who respond in much the same way (some Democrat friends were recipients of this kind of dreck in 2008), but they are in a distinct minority at HA.

Liberals are too full of hate to be happy.
jaime on July 9, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Isn’t nice not having room in your heart for hate? I know it makes me happy. ; )
Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 10:34 PM

AesopFan on July 10, 2012 at 1:33 AM

You could say that the Apple ‘Think Different’ ad would never apply to a conservative.
bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Capitalism once again trumps progressivism

Apple “has pulled its products off the U.S. government-backed registration of environmentally friendly electronics.” It wasn’t long ago that Apple devoted considerable marketing effort to trumpeting its products’ environmental friendliness. But that was then, and now? Now, being Green doesn’t have the cachet it once did. .. John Hinderaker at PowerLineBlog

(PS: There were a lot of wonderful, creative people in that ad, but I don’t want them running the US economy or foreign policy; and some of them weren’t very happy.)

AesopFan on July 10, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Two pages of comments and not one mention of the most obvious concept of all: GUILT.

Liberals feel guilty about their very existence on this planet. They feel guilty for living in a prosperous Western civilization. They feel guilty for enjoying the fruits of capitalism. They feel guilty for being white (where applicable). They feel guilty for stuffing their guts with fine rich food every night. They feel guilty for the luxurious houses and condos they live in, and the spacious SUV’s they drive their kids to school in.

In short, they feel guilt about everything…but not enough to make them quit any of these things. Just enough to make them perpetually miserable about having them.

Liberals are also very negative people. They see the worst side of everything. As much as this makes them miserable, I think it would actually make them even more miserable to see the good side of something. That’s how utterly miserable they are. They see nothing but doom and catastrophe in the Earth’s future…but when you try to take this impending doom away from them by showing that the planet is actually going to be just fine, the very idea makes them furious. How dare we! The outlook is equally as bleak for humanity, for Western civilization (they love telling you how America will fall just like the Romans) and for capitalism. I don’t think there is one single liberal in existence today who doesn’t think the world is a big steaming pile of sh*t that is doomed and that we’re all going to regret having the audacity to think otherwise.

I would not be surprised in the slightest to learn that liberals commit suicide at twice the rate of anyone else.

Sharke on July 10, 2012 at 1:56 AM

I think part of it is because those with conservative values are happy to live and let live. They live their values and don’t feel compelled to impose them on others or to convert others to their way of thinking or pass all kinds of stupid and picayune laws to force others to live their way. Too many liberals on the other hand spend all their waking hours judging everybody else and then can’t sleep at night if they haven’t converted you to their way of thinking, living and eating and won’t rest or leave you alone until they’ve succeeded at either changing you or driving you away. I once asked the biggest pain-in-the-butt liberal in my family if he’s rather be right or happy, and he said, right–too bad he’s so left or he could be both.

I may not have a spouse or children taking care of me, but I also don’t have them making endless demands on me and sucking away all my time and energy–trade-offs. Thus I have more time to enjoy my unexpectedly good AL Central leading White Sox this year (forget Obama, true WSox fans don’t accept him as one of our own, he’s a bandwagon jumper and more like an albatross).

stukinIL4now on July 10, 2012 at 2:24 AM

That’s easy. Liberals think the world is imperfect, and kill themselves fretting about how to make it perfect. Conservatives think the world is just fine, better than it’s ever been, so let’s leave it be.

John the Libertarian on July 10, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Embrace passion and nurture your emotions, and you’ll be happier than those who suppress and run from their own.

MadisonConservative on July 10, 2012 at 2:30 AM

The answer is quite simple: conservatives tend to be mostly thankful for what they have whereas liberals are mostly angry about what they don’t have. Must be a miserable way to live, unable to cope with the fact that the Joneses have a nicer car, house, (insert material item here) than you do. Whiny children posing as adults, really.

stout77 on July 10, 2012 at 2:47 AM

That’s how utterly miserable they are. They see nothing but doom and catastrophe in the Earth’s future…but when you try to take this impending doom away from them by showing that the planet is actually going to be just fine, the very idea makes them furious. How dare we!
Sharke on July 10, 2012 at 1:56 AM

Shouldn’t this be the definition of “bitter clingers”: People who desperately (even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) latch on with a deathgrip to all that which is most horrible?

Conservatives “cling” to our churches, to our families, to the businesses we build… Sure we “cling” to guns, but not so much for their own sake — we love them because they protect the things we love.

This does not make conservatives immune to unhappiness. Conservatives are unhappy when people try to take away the things we love.

Liberals are unhappy when people try to take away the things they hate. And they’re infinitely more unhappy when left to their own devices.

Ergo, liberals can never be truly happy. The most they can “enjoy” is the momentary kick they get from making other people miserable. That may be a weird type of joy, but it most definitely is not happiness.

logis on July 10, 2012 at 2:48 AM

And just to prove the poInt, Bayam and Uppereastside show up and do their thing.
You can’t make this stuff up.

Cleombrotus on July 10, 2012 at 4:18 AM

Has Allah been reading the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren?
terryannonline on July 9, 2012 at 10:49 PM

If so, let’s hope he doesn’t stop there.

Cleombrotus on July 10, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Living a life of fiction has it’s moments of fun, ask anyone from the Hollywood elite. Conservatives also enjoy being entertained with fictional stories but there is where the line is drawn. The left wants this fiction to be fact where everything is equal and balanced and in their mind this is very possible because they have lived this way within moments of their lives. The conservatives realize it’s fiction and get on into reality with the bumps and bruises of life, learning to make good choices in their lives to eliminate the rough times. Conservatives know that life is not fair and balanced, it never was and never will be but this idea takes much time and effort of the left to prove to themselves that this is possible if it wasn’t for those darn conservatives who don’t believe the fiction.

mixplix on July 10, 2012 at 6:34 AM

This is a joke right? The party that has been constantly angry for the past 3 a d a half years is now the happy one?

Uppereastside on July 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

As opposed to the constant outrage during all of Bush’s 8 years?

How soon you forget – or are just dishonest. So stupid. As if the right’s unhappiness with Obama is any different than the left’s constant outrage over Bush. I could easily argue that the right has been much less nasty and less outraged than the left was for those 8 years, but it’s not worth having that argument and it is irrelevant anyway. The point is, claiming conservatives are unhappy in life b/c we are unhappy with Obama ignores the left’s reaction to Bush entirely. But that is standard liberal “thinking” – ignoring any position you took, claim you made, or argument you put forth more than 20 minutes ago.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2012 at 7:52 AM

After spending this past weekend on KY lake I’ll make the following observation. The entire weekend fishing, drinking cold beer, floating in a boat and concluding the day with some simple bluegrass music and fresh cooked bluegill and crappy is about as close to heaven as I can get. It’s cheap and good fun and friends.

Needless to say most of those participating weren’t counting on big brother to look after them and really never expect to get social security, medicare or any of the other government handouts that we all know will end.

I can’t see an “educated elitist” such as obama, pelosi, hilary or reid doing that. In fact, they’d be furious that anyone might actually be enjoying themselves with the government telling them how to do it.

acyl72 on July 10, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Actually I don’t have confidence in this type of survey. You can’t effectively survey happiness because responses can’t be objectively measured and are influenced by all kinds of strange biases.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

I actually agree with this. I think “happiness” surveys are bunk. It’s all relative. And, it is going to depend on the day you ask. If I had a particularly bad day at work, I may answer I am unhappy generally. If I have a great day at home I might answer I am happy generally. Something in the news may make me claim to be generally unhappy or happy.

It’s very silly to claim one can measure who is happier based on ideological positions. I know plenty of what I perceive to be happy liberals and plenty of what I perceive to be happy conservatives. And I know the opposite as well for both groups.

I don’t know what these studies seek to accomplish.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2012 at 7:55 AM

I have always said that self-deprivation is the key to happiness. Its a Christian idea that selflesness is good, selfishness is bad. You constantly see this them in the words of Jesus.

I agree with AP’s point that purpose explains why idealouges are happier than moderates. But I think its more than that. Its that because people care deeply about something they are willing to put before themselves. These type of people are disciplined and deprive themselves in order to carry out a goal. The people that do not believe in a cause greater than themselves are much more likely to be selfish. Perhaps Christianity is not merely a tool to get to heaven as all knowing athesits like to smile and shake thier heads at, but a counter-intuitive key to happiness on this earth or on this earth as well.

I’ve always noticed that the only unreachable student’s I have hads are the ones who do not care about anything, they cannot be motivated in any way. The people that just don’t care are lost.

One qoute from Jesus has him in agreement: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Jesus would much rather have an atheist than an agnostic. At least the atheist is more likely to be in a search for truth, and so much more likely to eventually find actual truth, just like the students who care about something.

kmalkows on July 10, 2012 at 7:57 AM

oh hell thats easy …who and what is the democrat party today….who are most of the convicts ….welfare …..drug users ….. uneducated …. murderers …. * SHRUG *

Aggie95 on July 10, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Simple. Liberals exist in one of two conditions: 1) their ideology is rejected; or 2) their ideology is accepted and demonstrated to be a failure.

In the first case, they’re angry at everyone else for being too stupid or evil to agree with them. In the second case, they’re angry at everyone else for being so stupid and evil as to undermine their wonderful plans.

Basically, they walk around believing themselves to be superior to everyone else, and are constantly enduring the presentation of conclusive evidence that they’re wrong. The cognitive dissonance they experience on a daily basis makes it difficult for them to stay cheerful.

morganfrost on July 10, 2012 at 8:24 AM

i’m happy because I refuse to be a victim or a pity case?

annoyinglittletwerp on July 9, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Or see other people as victims and pity cases.

dbrhmccrtr on July 10, 2012 at 8:35 AM

That’s no different from saying that all conservatives are uneducated rednecks that either earn minimum wage or receive federal assistance.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Says the hate-filled bigot.

Sorry, but most “uneducated redneck” conservatives I know work very hard to provide for their families and are repulsed at the idea of having to depend on the government.

dominigan on July 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Simple. Liberals exist in one of two conditions: 1) their ideology is rejected; or 2) their ideology is accepted and demonstrated to be a failure.

In the first case, they’re angry at everyone else for being too stupid or evil to agree with them. In the second case, they’re angry at everyone else for being so stupid and evil as to undermine their wonderful plans.

Basically, they walk around believing themselves to be superior to everyone else, and are constantly enduring the presentation of conclusive evidence that they’re wrong. The cognitive dissonance they experience on a daily basis makes it difficult for them to stay cheerful.

morganfrost on July 10, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Probably the most insightful comment on this thread. It applies well to nearly every liberal idea currently being advanced. Despite scientific claims proving them wrong, they will use the force of government to prove everyone else wrong and them right.

dominigan on July 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Well, I do know that some happiness accrues when you can live free of confiscatory taxes…

I visited Chester, Connecticut over the 4th of July weekend, and as I was being driven around by my host, I noticed “for sale” signs in front of many of the beautiful homes in the area. I asked my host why there were so many houses up for sale in what looked to be a very desirable area in which to live. I posited in my comment that the economy must be really bad in Chester to have so many foreclosures on the market…

My host replied that, for the most part, those are not foreclosures — those are older people who can no longer afford to live in Chester, because property taxes have gone up over 30% over the past five years — to the point where people on a fixed income can’t afford their own homes…

Here in California, we have Prop 13, which gives me some peace of mind that I won’t face the same problems that the elders of Connecticut are facing now. Of course, the liberals would love to change that, so they can have fancier accessories for their bullet trains, but, hopefully, they won’t win…

unclesmrgol on July 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Conservatives are more grateful for everything they have in their life. And they don’t covet what others have as much as do liberals.

sigdoc on July 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Good Solid B-Plus on July 9, 2012 at 11:44 PM

+1000

unclesmrgol on July 10, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Actually I don’t have confidence in this type of survey. You can’t effectively survey happiness because responses can’t be objectively measured and are influenced by all kinds of strange biases.

bayam on July 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

hee hee hee. typical liberal.

search4truth on July 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM

The original article als0 says this:

An explanation for the happiness gap more congenial to liberals is that conservatives are simply inattentive to the misery of others. If they recognized the injustice in the world, they wouldn’t be so cheerful.

Problem with this argument is that it ignores (and the article never mentions) the facts that conservatives give more of our income and personal savings to charity, and far more of our physical labor to charitable purposes. Put another way, there’s more of us on a Habitat for Humanity site (possibly because we’re the ones who know how to work).

We’re not “inattentive to the misery of others” – we put our own resources in the path to make the lives of the unfortunates better. We accept personal responsibility and move to fulfill our duties. Unlike liberals, we can be more hopeful about things getting better, because we make them better on our own – and we are on the spot where we can see the improvements we make in the lives of others.

Because liberals put the government between them and others, they never see success, but always more misery. If they took the time to help a brother, rather than send a bureaucrat, they’d be happier.

For this reason, I have always considered liberals unworthy of my anger – they are creatures to be pitied. Sadly hollow people.

Cricket624 on July 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM

AesopFan on July 10, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Thanks for the compliment. For me one is emotional well being, the other is just business.

Bmore on July 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Liberals/progressives aren’t happy unless they are miserable. They have to have someone to blame for their problems, never taking responsibility for any problems themselves, i.e. THE ONE who blames everyone but himself. Since they never accept that they could be the source of their own problems, they never correct their behavior or thinking and CHANGE!!!! If it’s someone elses fault, they never have to admit that there is something wrong with who they are and how they live.

Conservatives don’t blame others for their station in life and we see how we got where we are. We either worked hard and improved/prospered, or they didn’t work hard enough to get where they want.

Conservatives accept people for who they are. Just because we don’t approve of gay “marriage” does not mean we disapprove of the people that are gay. We believe everyone has an equal chance to succeed. We don’t see black/white, rich/poor, man/woman – we see everyone as people.

I think the fact that we got over the fact that life isn’t fair and moved on makes a big difference, too. butterflies and puppies quote summed that up well:

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult.” –M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

I think liberals/progressives spend a lot of time tilting at windmills. Look at the differences between OWS and the Tea Party. Yup, we had our rallies and protests – then we got busy getting involved in politics at a local level, changing it from within. In 2-3 election cycles, we will be the ones running the Republican party, while OWS will still be out protesting in the streets, accomplishing nothing but rape and filth and vandalism.

My $0.02 worth…

HilliardPatriot on July 10, 2012 at 10:53 AM

AP,

To piggyback onto your sports-fan as purpose thesis, I point to the non-U.S. sports world. Primarily that of soccer. For many nations, those who have a long history of losing, rather than winning, military conflicts; those who live under socialist economic and industrial policies, their national or regional “football” team is the only source of patriotic pride they know. Is it any wonder, then, that losing makes them dangerously riotous? Yes, a purpose can make one happy, but beware a purpose which is founded upon shifting sands.

Those with a purpose which is immutable, unshakable, and eternal, a purpose which always provides hope no matter the circumstances, and most especially a purpose which comforts with the knowledge that “this troubled world is not my final home”, can be happy no matter how bad things get in this life.

Freelancer on July 10, 2012 at 10:54 AM

My thought is conservatives don’t have to contort and rationalize reality to fit their world view. The proven success of conservative ideas such as small government (i.e. US GDP doubling in 1870-1890, the greatest recorded boom in history), low taxes (80′s, 2000′s), and the propensity to take personal responsibility and reap the reward for one’s efforts tend to provide satisfaction and a sense of purpose.

TB Vet on July 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM

19 years since the Pirates had a winning record?

Was Kent Tekulve still pitching then?

connertown on July 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Why are we happier?

Warm guns.

TexasDan on July 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Why are we happier?

Warm guns.

TexasDan on July 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

This is very true. ; )

Bmore on July 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Happiness requires productive work. A conservative can be happy being the best janitor in town. That would never make a liberal happy, because he wants to run the company.

The conservative janitor understands that if he works hard he may someday own the company. He sees that possibility, remote as it may be. The liberal wants the company handed to him without any effort on his part. He sees that possibility as even more remote than the conservative’s dream. As a result, he is angry and resentful.

Colony14 on July 10, 2012 at 6:53 PM

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