T Nation

Happiness, A Conservative Stance Away?



I just thought this was interesting. Any thoughts on why this might be? Personal responsibility? A belief in a benevolent creator? Discuss.


It´s good to be King.



  • Seventy-one percent of conservatives say you have an obligation to care for a seriously injured spouse or parent versus less than half (46 percent) of liberals.

  • Conservatives have a better work ethic and are much less likely to call in sick than their liberal counterparts.

  • Liberals are 2½ times more likely to be resentful of othersâ?? success and 50 percent more likely to be jealous of other peopleâ??s good luck.

  • Liberals are 2 times more likely to say it is okay to cheat the government out of welfare money you donâ??t deserve.

  • Conservatives are more likely than liberals to hug their children and â??significantly more likelyâ?? to display positive nurturing emotions.

  • Liberals are less trusting of family members and much less likely to stay in touch with their parents.

  • Do you get satisfaction from putting someone elseâ??s happiness ahead of your own? Fifty-five percent of conservatives said yes versus only 20 percent of liberals.

  • Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan, Bill Oâ??Reilly and Dick Cheney have given large sums of money to people in need, while Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Michael Moore, and Al Gore have not.

  • Those who are â??very liberalâ?? are 3 times more likely than conservatives to throw things when they get angry.

The American left prides itself on being superior to conservatives: more generous, less materialistic, more tolerant, more intellectual, and more selfless. For years scholars have constructedâ??and the media has pushedâ??elaborate theories designed to demonstrate that conservatives suffer from a host of personality defects and character flaws. According to these supposedly unbiased studies, conservatives are mean-spirited, greedy, selfish malcontents with authoritarian tendencies. Far from the belief of a few cranks, prominent liberals from John Kenneth Galbraith to Hillary Clinton have succumbed to these prejudices. But what do the facts show?

Peter Schweizer has dug deepâ??through tax documents, scholarly data, primary opinion research surveys, and private recordsâ??and has discovered that these claims are a myth. Indeed, he shows that many of these claims actually apply more to liberals than conservatives. Much as he did in his bestseller Do as I Say (Not as I Do), he brings to light never-before-revealed facts that will upset conventional wisdom.

Conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Robert Bork have long argued that liberal policies promote social decay. Schweizer, using the latest data and research, exposes how, in general:

  • Liberals are more self-centered than conservatives.
  • Conservatives are more generous and charitable than liberals.
  • Liberals are more envious and less hardworking than conservatives.
  • Conservatives value truth more than liberals, and are less prone to cheating and lying.
  • Liberals are more angry than conservatives.
  • Conservatives are actually more knowledgeable than liberals.
  • Liberals are more dissatisfied and unhappy than conservatives.

Schweizer argues that the failure lies in modern liberal ideas, which foster a self-centered, â??if it feels good do itâ?? attitude that leads liberals to outsource their responsibilities to the government and focus instead on themselves and their own desires.


I don't think Republicans are happier so much as they're more likely to say they're happy. Democrats are clustered in cities, especially coastal cities, where neuroticism is higher (they've done Big Five personality tests by geography; check Richard Florida's book "Who's Your City.") I think (just by personal experience) that Republicans are more likely to come from communities where overt cheerfulness and stoicism are valued, and "whining" is discouraged.

An interesting sociological study I saw (forgot the source, sorry) compared children from affluent, educated families (in a liberal city) and from working-class families as they went through a typical day. The well-off kids complained much more.

In particular, their complaining was rational: they would say things like "But you promised..." or "But the rules say this..." And the affluent parents tended to respond to that complaining with logical rebuttals ("But you've already had your snack") while the working-class parents never did.

And it turned out that this kind of logical, verbal complaining (though irritating to parents) correlated pretty well with future school success. Belief in a fair world -- the assumption that good behavior/hard work is rewarded, and that complaint is justified if things are not fair -- is one of the major determinants of academic and career success. (Look up James Heckman, "Schools, Skills, and Synapses.")

That's kind of my problem with happiness studies. There's reason to believe that complainers actually live pretty well. Stoics, on the other hand, can live in harsh circumstances -- Sub-Saharan Africans usually score higher than Americans on happiness tests.


Not all of the makers are survey responses. And not all the survey responses are subjective questions.


Interesting stuff. I have to wonder, though, if these stoics as you call them might actually be happier. What you say may be true, but it's also often the case that the conservatives tend to teach their kids from a very early age to "be content" with what they have. So it might also be the case that they really are happier, despite perhaps living in harsher conditions.


So now that we know conservatives are happier...can you tell me what the fuck is the difference between a liberal and a conservative? I feel like I'm reading Dr Seuss sometimes after looking at this non-sense.

A Liberuck is sad when a blackymuk is mad, and so the conservaduk has to be glad, that the Liberuck has been had!

Seriously, I've hardly met a conservative or a liberal who was clear clut on eiter platform/Persuasion whateverr. What exactly is the difference again?

I mean I believe in the right for a man to bear arms, this is a liberal ideology right? Because conservatives, believe only noble men should be armed and peasants should be kept in their place...wait what?

I myself believe in limited multiculturalism, full recognition of english as official government language, and spanish as the historical secondary language, nuclear family orientation, religion having a larger place in American society, outlaw of gay marriage (if not homosexuality entirely), personal rights against the growing police state, application of larger socialist policy within our society and most major environmentalist causes. I personally believe my work ethic is the most important thing I have, and that my attitude decides my lot in life.

Am I a liberal or a conservative? These distinctions are retarded. Maybe if you compared some real political ideologies, like a socialist versus a liberatarian. But this overgeneralized sociopolitical comparison is just worthless.


Aragorn: that may be true. But then again, do you think an unhappy American would willingly switch places with a happy Senegalese? The thing is, looking at well-being from the point of view of preference satisfaction gives very different results from looking at reported happiness.

It's pretty well documented that what people choose to do doesn't make them happy. (Having children, for instance, is demonstrated to make people less happy. I think parents mostly still value parenthood.) For some reason, I tend to take people's choices more seriously than their subjective states -- if you decided to do X, it must be because X is what you want, and that seems more important than whether you say you feel happy after you did X. But you could just as easily see the disparity as a sign that people are misguided about what really makes them happy.

Some liberals/people on the left are unhappy almost by definition; to be intensely concerned with righting injustices is to be unhappy with the state of the world. (Yes, some conservatives think this way too.) I'm sure that the "unhappy" activist wouldn't for the world want to lose her frustration, because it's a driving force in her work.


You are a douchebag.



lol, did you read the article? it was talking about republican vs. democrat. The way you are trying to define liberal and conservative doesn't work because times change the meaning of the word. You also seem pretty conflicted on some of your beliefs, but all of that lines up pretty well with what is today the republican party (including more socialist policy). So tell me, are you happy?


Are you making the statement that Liberals are not happy because they do not have personal responsibility or don't believe in a benevolent creator? Methinks you need to go back to the drawing board on that one.

Perhaps old liberals are less happy because they are more active in helping others, and feel like time is running out with so much left to do, whereas conservatives are just happy that they're about to die with their bank accounts full. (See, I can do it too)


I like this post. Interesting viewpoint.


Statistically untrue. However, I was just trying to start an argument.


I think you are equating Republican -Conservative I think that assertion is incorrect


Exactly what I was getting at. I personally donâ??t take â??studiesâ?? like this very seriously.

Maybe being happy life leads people to not want their life interfered with thus leaning them towards a more conservative party. So maybe happy causes someone to be a republican instead of the other way around.


Don't worry ,Be happy:)


Part of this study probably has to do with older people hording much of the wealth of past generations in our society. Thus he who is wealthier is of course happier, as he can avoid the stresses of the poor.


lol. well played.


Depends on the source of satisfaction I suppose. I'd have no problems switching with a happy Senegalese--true happiness in my view is independent of material possessions. Materially based happiness is only present so long as nothing better is advertised on tv. If you're happy, you can have nothing and be ok. I view that also as being separate from social concern or activism. You can be both happy with your life and concerned about the state of others.

I think this is probably one of the fundamental difficulties with studies like these. If you don't really nail down your definition of happiness it gets messy.