Why The Right Is Happier Than The Left

by John Hawkins | February 12, 2008 6:15 am

Over at the WAPO[1], they’re trying to figure out why Republicans are happier than Democrats,

A 2006 Pew Research poll found that 45 percent of Republicans describe themselves as “very happy,” compared with only 30 percent of Democrats (and 29 percent of independents). This is a sizable gap and a remarkably consistent one, too. Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the General Social Survey, conducted biannually by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, began asking about happiness in 1972.

What to make of this finding? Is there something about being a card-carrying member of the GOP that induces a warm, fuzzy feeling, a sort of political Prozac? Or does the river of causality flow in the other direction: Are happy people more likely to become Republicans than Democrats? Or maybe neither explanation holds water and it only appears as if Republicans are happier than Democrats.

The most obvious place to look for an explanation is, of course, with money. Wealthy people are marginally happier than poor ones, and Republicans, according to some surveys, tend to be wealthier than Democrats, so that must be why they’re happier, right? Nice try, but no dice. Even after adjusting for differences in income, the Pew researchers still found a marked happiness gap: Poor Republicans are, on average, happier than poor Democrats, and wealthy Republicans are happier than wealthy Democrats.

Maybe the answer is power. Republicans have controlled the White House for most of the past 35 years, and nothing spells happiness like p-o-w-e-r. Wrong again. Republican bliss persists even if a Democrat — be it Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton — resides in the White House.

You can practically hear the researchers at Pew scratching their liberal heads. They put the findings through a rigorous process called multiple-regression analysis in an attempt to isolate the relevant variables. But try as they might, they could not wash that Republican happiness out of their hair.

Basically, Republicans have in spades all the things that combine to make us happy. Church attendance is particularly crucial. People who attend religious services regularly are more likely to report being “very happy” than those who don’t — 43 percent vs. 26 percent (a happiness boost, by the way, that cuts across all the major religious denominations). In addition, Republicans are more likely to be married than Democrats, and married people are happier than singles.

When I tell my liberal friends about Republican happiness, they usually reply angrily — angry not being a happy trait. “They’re just not paying attention,” one friend snapped. “Ignorance is bliss,” said another. Or perhaps it’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, putting it more eloquently and less angrily: “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please — you can never have both.”

There are at least four reasons why the Right is happier than the Left.

1) Church and marriage, along with the attitudes and lifestyle changes that go along with those two things, which the article mentioned.

2) Conservative ideas generally work very well while the Left’s don’t. It’s hard to be happy when your belief system is constantly being proven wrong in the real world, but you’re not flexible enough to change.

3) Liberalism is, by its very nature these days, an extremely pessimistic, miserable philosophy. It assumes that half the country is not just wrong, but evil. It encourages hatred for successful people. It pits groups of people against each other in race, class, and gender warfare. It’s just non-stop negativity, 24×7.

4) You want to be unhappy in life? Have a problem and wait around for the federal government to fix it. You want to have a chance to be happy? Take personal responsibility for your problems and work to take care of yourself. People who believe they have control of their own life, not that their fate is in the hands of others, are happier people because they accomplish much more in life.

  1. WAPO: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/07/AR2008020701904.html

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