Scientists Baffled By Concept Of Personal Responsibility

It has long been noted that conservatives are happier people than liberals and here’s the latest “scientific” explanation of why that is,

Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person’s tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: “It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others,” and “This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are.”

To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one’s social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

If your beliefs don’t justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings.

…The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as “very happy,” while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer.

The same rationalizing phenomena could apply to personal situations as well.

“There is no reason to think that the effects we have identified here are unique to economic forms of inequality,” the researchers write. “Research suggests that highly egalitarian women are less happy in their marriages compared with their more traditional counterparts, apparently because they are more troubled by disparities in domestic labor.”

The current study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

It’s not called “rationalization,” it’s called a belief in personal responsibility, and it’s the biggest, but not the only factor in being a happy person.

People who take responsibility for their own lives and believe that other people need to do the same tend to be much happier people.

Why? Because if you have a problem, you don’t wait for someone else to fix it for you, you take care of it yourself. Similarly, if someone else has a problem, you may try to help him out because you’re a decent person, but ultimately, you feel like it’s his responsibility.

Not only is taking responsibility empowering, it’s much more in line with how the world really works. That’s because the government is slow, stupid, and inefficient while other people and countries are much more interested in themselves than you.

So, if you blame other people for how your life is turning out or wait for other people to solve your problems, you’re disempowering yourself and setting yourself up to have an unhappy life.

PS: This may be a bit unintuitive to some people, but it’s also people who believe in personal responsibility who tend to do more good in the world and give more to charity (Yes, studies show that conservatives are not just happier, they give more). Why is that? Because if you take personal responsibility and get your own life together, you are in a position to contribute to others if you so desire, you feel like it’s your personal responsibility to help, and you have more compassion for people who are struggling because you have done it yourself to succeed.

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