Skip to comments.Why Unhappy People Become Liberals (. . . and why liberalism makes them even unhappier)
Posted on 11/24/2010 6:38:37 AM PST by WebFocus
According to polls Pew Research Center, the National Science Foundation and studies such as Arthur Brookss Gross National Happiness, conservative Americans are happier than liberal Americans.
Liberals respond this way: If were unhappier, its because we are more upset than conservatives over the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.
But common sense and data suggest other explanations.
For one thing, conservatives on the same socioeconomic level as liberals give more charity and volunteer more time than do liberals. And as regards the suffering of non-Americans, for at least half a century conservatives have been far more willing to sacrifice American treasure and American blood (often their own) for other nations liberty.
Both of these facts refute the liberals-are-more-concerned-about-others explanation for liberal unhappiness.
So, lets look at other explanations.
Perhaps we are posing the question backwards when we ask why liberals are less happy than conservatives. The question implies that liberalism causes unhappiness. And while this is true, it may be equally correct to say that unhappy people are more likely to adopt leftist positions.
Take black Americans, for example. It makes perfect sense that a black American who is essentially happy is going to be less attracted to the Left. Anyone who has interacted with black conservatives rarely encounters an angry, unhappy person.
Because the liberal view on race is that America is a racist society. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a black American must abandon liberalism in order to be a happy individual. It is very hard, if not impossible, to be a happy person while believing that society is out to hurt you. So, the unhappy black person will gravitate to liberalism and liberalism will in turn make him more unhappy by reinforcing his view that he is a victim.
The unhappy gravitate toward the Left for a second reason. Life is hard for liberals and life is hard for conservatives. But conservatives assume that life will always be hard. Liberals, on the other hand, have utopian dreams. At his brother Roberts funeral, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy recalled his brother saying: Some men see things as they are and say, Why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?
Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky as to be born or naturalized an American.
Third, imagine two Americans living in essentially identical socioeconomic conditions. They earn $45,000 a year, they have the same amount of debt on their homes, and both have the same number of dependents. One seeks governmental assistance wherever possible; the other eschews any governmental help. Which one is likely to be the liberal and which one is likely to be the happier individual?
This is not a question only an oracle can answer. The one who yearns for governmental help is the one who is likely to be both liberal and less happy. Conservatism, which demands self-reliance, makes one happier. The more a man or woman feels like captain of his or her ship (as poor as that ship may be), the happier he or she will be.
A fourth explanation for greater unhappiness among liberals is that the more people allow feelings to govern them, the less happy they will be. And the further left one goes, the more importance one attaches to feelings.
It is liberal educators and liberal parents who have clamored for protecting young people from the pain of losing games. The liberal world came up with the idea of giving trophies to kids who lose; they dont want their children feeling bad. Conservatives, on the other hand, teach their kids how to lose well. They are less worried about their children feeling bad.
A couple of years ago, I gave a speech on happiness to the students and faculty of a prestigious high school in the Los Angeles area. The subject was the need to act happy even when one isnt feeling happy because it is unfair to others to inflict our bad moods on them and because we will never be happy if we allow our feelings to dictate our happiness.
From what I experienced that day and learned later, liberal students and faculty generally loathed my speech; conservative students generally loved it (there were no conservative faculty to speak of). Why? Because conservatives are far more likely to be comfortable with the idea that feelings are not as important as behavior.
Those who know that feelings must not govern us, but that we must govern our feelings, are far more likely to be happy people.
The upshot of all this? There is an amazingly simple way to defeat the Left: Raise children who are grateful to be American, who dont complain, who can handle losing, and who are guided by values, not feelings. In other words, teach them how to be happy adults.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist
Conservatives believe in GOD.
Liberals believe in Santa Claus.
Great article. I think he’s right.
RE: Liberals believe in Santa Claus.
Also, Santa Claus = Government
One big difference — Santa Claus GIVES. Government TAKES.
Why Unhappy People Become Liberals.Some people just flat out love pity.
Great article, thanks for posting it.
Sometimes I can take the shorthand the liberalism is a mental disorder, but that groups a lot of people in who probably shouldn’t be. A lot of liberals haven’t thought very deeply about their positions, but is seems to be nearly a passive outlook of “Who would be against the government helping poor people? That sounds like a good thing to me...” or “I don’t know...why can’t healthcare be free? Shouldn’t everyone get free healthcare?”
It is the committed liberals, the ones who have labored hard and long to build their own “logical underpinnings” to their viewpoints. They never stop to check their intial premises, and build a huge castle on the foundation of a flawed premise.
Cognitive dissonance is a common malady amongst committed liberals, and I have always thought it is because many of them ARE indeed intelligent, and there is still a part of their primitive hindbrain that operates below their subconscious, constantly and continually sending subtle signals to their conscious brain that they are wrong. Their filters to their conscious brains are set up to ward those warning messages off, but I think it is like a continuous, erosive Chinese water torture that gives them ulcers, bilious personalities and a constant state of unhappiness.
I, too, think happiness is linked with belief in God and the afterlife.
One of the reasons the left has become so hateful and unhinged is because of the rise of the atheist movement.
I think that is a factor for many of them.
I also notice this -— YOUNG KIDS, those who are most susceptible to influence, tend to be liberal from high school to a few years after graduating from college ( I’d say a majority ).
I would attribute this to the overwhelmingly left-wing mindset of their high school teachers ( most of them union members ) and their college professors ( most of whom vote Democrat ).
The moment they start holding down a job, have a family and then take on the responsibility of having to raise their kids and pay taxes... they begin to realize the burdensome encroachment of the government....they also begin to realize that without the church, the traditional morality that they themselves repudiated when they were in college, they cannot discipline their kids.
Slowly, but surely, the sensible ones become more conservative.
This should be a very good thread.
With God’s grace, my children will never fall into that trap, even at a young age.
We’re teaching them from a biblical worldview and how to defend that worldview,
as well as starting at a young age to be a master of their emotions, not the other way around.
There was a book/seminar out some time ago called “Self-discipline and emotional control”. I have found the techniques and rational explanations in this material to be quite useful, especially when (re)taught through a biblical lens.
I try to be patient with many younger people. The old saw “If you a young person and aren’t a liberal, you have no heart...if you are an older person and you aren’t conservative, you have no brain” does have some validity.
My whole life I was as conservative as a kid could be. I remember the 1968 election and being completely on board for Richard Nixon (okay, I know he is no conservative, but...you get the idea)
But even still...I DO remember as a college student (and this was after I served four years in the navy) taking a sociology course, and thinking it was the most amazing thing, gushing over a book like “Walden II” (those of you who may have read it will know EXACTLY what I mean)
It was only a few years later, I came to realize it was all liberal, socialist, statist claptrap. But I was caught up in it, me who had traveled around the world by age 21, a conservative, etc.
What you said in your paragraph about holding a job is so true.
I notice a lot of people who have worked in industries that are noted for low-pay and rough working conditions (retail, local radio, etc.) tend to become Liberals. They develop a deep-seated hatred for “greedy” bosses, and an overwhelming consumption with seeing them “punished”.
Right. It is how tyrannies are fostered...they have people (unions) egging them on.
Nobody gives a rat’s patootie that when you get rid of the bosses, and you destroy the profit motive, who is going to run the company? “Oh! The PEOPLE will run the factory!”
Then it is “Hello Soviet Union”...
BINGO! We have a winner. It all does thread back to G*d. If you have the worldview and belief system that after a some painful illness you will become wormfood and cease to exist then our nature will cause us to react in a negative way and display traits not very Chris like(Hate, treachery, selfishness, murder, callousness, self love). I know alot of liberals are New Age and Eastern Mystic types, but those belief system ultimately consist of essentially the same thing, you will die and eventually lose your identity and soul and fall into some endless sleep. It's our nature to be rebellious and sinful and liberalism is the same old lie fed to Eve, that we can be G*ds, we can change the unchangeable, we can go at it our own way without our Heavenly Father. Liberals basically have no peace in their life, it's why when they win a battle they seem to get more angry and determined. Their empty hole can never be filled, with humanly pursuits such as spreading the wealth or other sloganeering. Sadly most of the world and ultimately most of the hardcore leftist are going to find out that endless soul sleep is not what awaits them, but the fires of hell. Not because they were angry, petulant, or bitter but because they forsaked the Lord Jesus Christ, they didn't need or want him or believe in him.
Maybe, at least if nobody finds out that on Dennis's show the other day, he said the TSA pat-downs and full-body scans are basically OK.
Moreover, I promise not to tell anybody that Dennis often seems sympathetic in other ways to the typical RINO outlook!
Liberals are lured into their cult by guilt or some claim to esoteric knowledge and then kept there by fear, and usually it involves the “Hitler card.” Doubt that go to any lefty site where there might be debate about internal cult politics, the “Hitler card” is never far from use.
Liberals seek to avoid their difficulties or mitigate their effects without facing them head-on, hence using pity as a tool for protection.
Love to a liberal is often means someone who can take away the pain and protect them like Daddy and Mommy.
Alas, this is why so many liberals don't want kids. They don't want to face the pain and be the protectors, the earners and producers for others.
Miserable people are only happy when they are surrounded by other miserable people.
RE: I notice a lot of people who have worked in industries that are noted for low-pay and rough working conditions (retail, local radio, etc.) tend to become Liberals.
I’ve known about this for some time. But this begs the following questions :
1) Do they have any other alternatives ? It’s not like someone is holding a gun to their head and forcing them to work there...
2) If the answer is NO, then it seems that they CHOSE to work there, not because someone forced them to.
3) If the answer is YES, then why not apply to another job? Why not tell their boss — “Take this job and shove it”
The mentality looks to me like this — because I hate my boss and his stinginess, and I have nowhere else to go, I’d like GOVERNMENT to make his life more miserable.
What he does not realize is the moment he gets his wishes, his boss just might say to himself — it isn’t worth doing this business with the government continually burdening me.
If he closes shop or moves, where is this guy going to find his job then ?
THAT is exactly what happened to a city like DETROIT (a very vibrant city just 50 years ago) on a very large scale.
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