Animal’s Daily Relative Happiness News

Before we get into today’s topic, check out the latest in my current series over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  It seems conservatives (and I would assert, libertarians) are happier than liberals.  I’m not really surprised, as the reasons proposed are good reasons to be contented with life.  Excerpt:

Social psychologist Jaime Napier, Program Head of Psychology at NYU-Abu Dhabi has conducted research suggesting that views about inequality play a role.

“One of the biggest correlates with happiness in our surveys was the belief of a meritocracy, which is the belief that anybody who works hard can make it,” she told PBS. “That was the biggest predictor of happiness. That was also one of the biggest predictors of political ideology. So, the conservatives were much higher on these meritocratic beliefs than liberals were.”

To paraphrase, conservatives are less concerned with equality of outcomes and more with equality of opportunity. While American liberals are depressed by inequalities in society, conservatives are okay with them provided that everyone has roughly the same opportunities to succeed. The latter is a more rosy and empowering view than the deterministic former.

Two other studies explored a more surprising contributor: neuroticism, typically defined as “a tendency toward anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.” Surveyed conservatives consistently score lower in neuroticism than surveyed liberals.

In 2011, psychologists at the University of Florida and the University of Toronto conducted four studies, aiming to find whether conservatives are more “positively adjusted” than liberals.

They found that conservatives “expressed greater personal agency, more positive outlook, more transcendent moral beliefs, and a generalized belief in fairness” compared to liberals.

If I could sum that up, I’d do so by noting that the very character traits that make conservatives happier are those that go into an essentially individualist, as opposed to a collectivist, world view.  Think on that for a moment; if a big part of your expectations in life consist of waiting for other people (generally in the form of government) to do things for you, you’re liable to be disappointed.

But if you accept personal responsibility for your own station in life, and understand that your own efforts will in time pay off, and if you set goals and work to achieve them, you’re probably a lot more likely to be content with your life.

Oh, marriage (on the statistical level) plays a role as well.  We’re social animals and not really wired to go through life alone.  Most studies show belief in religion is another indicator, and while I don’t share that belief and still manage to be pretty happy with my life, I can see how this would be the case for a lot of folks.

It sure seems, though, that lately the divide is growing.  The Left in particular is not just unhappy – they are angry.  Witness the 2020 destruction of billions of dollars of private property in street riots largely ignored or even tacitly supported by leftists in all levels of government.  And very few on the left would dare to propose what seems obvious to conservatives and libertarians – that maybe, just maybe, if these people had achieved something in life, they wouldn’t be so pissed off.