Happiness Gap: Are conservatives happier than liberals?

george w bush photo: george bush George-W-Bush.jpg

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which groups of people tend to be happier than others? According to Chris Mooney, conservatives are happier. This is not the first person or the first article to postulate this, and I have yet to see an article that says the opposite. One thing pointed out in this article is that religious people and married people are happier, and conservatives are more likely to be religious and get married than liberals. But you can’t just look at one thing like that to conclude why.

Generalized personality traits of conservatives were compared with liberals, and republicans are said to be more extroverted, and more likely to have a fixed belief system than democrats.

I doubt that Fox News had anything to do with this study, but Bill O’Reilly and his crew might have had an ego boost if they heard about it.

When studies like this come out, its natural to think it must be political. And the person who writes such an article knows this, so they have to back their data up as best as they can. I tried Googling for a study which claimed liberals were happier than conservatives and I couldn’t find anything. Similar fascinating article: Is political philosophy biologically determined? It also talks about body language differences among libs and cons.

I noticed a liberal blogger’s response to what Chris Mooney said, and his response and it seemed deeply flawed when he gave a couple of “examples” of bumper stickers that conservatives have.  (“Don’t Re-Nig in 2012″,  and “I earned it – You can’t have it”). I’ve seen The Amazing Atheist also imply that a racist attitude like this is typical of conservatives. Sam Seder examined this bumper sticker’s purpose a little deeper.

I did a Google search for the happiness levels of blacks and whites, and a lot of articles were about studies which purported that blacks have become happier than whites over the past few decades. One study of interest said that black women were heavier, yet more satisfied with their bodies than white women. There are so many more happiness gaps to be studied and explained. Rich > Poor, Old > Young, etc etc.


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So, readers… I’ve got a question for you now. Does this kind of information have any impact on your happiness? No? Are you sure? :-) A study doesn’t necessarily prove anything. The general regional differences could also have something to do with it if its true (there is more sunshine in southern states than this is in northern US states.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406574196 Elma

    about any issue, and even more importantly, what he does not say. His reioatcn then speaks volumes: I did not say that. Harper has given Canadians fair warning that he chooses his words carefully.Bearing that in mind, let’s consider the most downplayed aspect of Harper’s election platform, and its impact on the choice of leader for the Liberals.It is essential that the Liberals choose a leader who is up to speed in modern political developments. If any aspirant leader has no knowledge of George Lakoff’s seminal work Don’t Think of an Elephant, then his or her name should immediately be taken off the list of possible leadership candidates. Why? Because such a leader would lose the next election to Harper by a wide margin.Why do I say that?Because Harper has already outsmarted the Liberal leaders, starting with Martin. Lakoff’s premise is that the framing of any political topic is the most important part of the political battle. If you can frame it your way, then the dialogue takes place on the battleground of your choosing, and your opponents are forced to address the issue in a way you chose. For example, if I tell you not to think of an elephant for the next 60 seconds, you will find it impossible to do so.Harper has already framed the debate as a discussion of a “fiscal imbalance.” What does this mean:He has:b7 Dictated that the debate will be about an “imbalance”;b7 Imbalance implies that there is an element of unfairness involved;b7 Those opposing his ideas can be typecast as opposing a virtue – that is, as supporting something which is wrong, being the “imbalance”;b7 He has framed the discussion as one which means that the issue to be resolved is to remedy the “imbalance” by taking away taxing power from the federal government and giving it to the provinces.What has happened? The Liberals and the press are talking on his terms, using his framing. This is a no-win situation for Liberals and for Canadians. Harper’s framing is deceptive and extraordinariy dangerous for Canadians.Liberals and NDPers will need to change the framing to ensure that the public understands that what Harper intends is to dramatically reduce the powers of the federal government by entering into agreements with the provinces which effectively diminish the role of the central government in Canada. He will do so by – to use the words of the right wing Republicans pursuing similar aims in the USA – making the central government so weak financially that it can be “drowned in the bathtub”.I prefer a different framing: the Bloc Power Grab.Why? Because the danger is that the only political party which will agree to Harper’s program to diminish the federal government’s role is the Bloc. The Liberals (assuming their interim or chosen leader has any political acumen – something not yet demonstrated on this issue) and NDP will not agree to Harper’s plan.But the Bloc will, because they share the same aim as Harper’s New Tories do – to weaken Canada’s federal government and create more powerful provinces at the expense of that government.Is there any basis in my argument? Consider Harper’s own words:“As soon as he comes to office, Mr. Harper would initiate discussions to solve the problem of the fiscal imbalance. “The fiscal imbalance is not just a budget problem; a lot of money is involved. The functioning and the very spirit of the Canadian federation are at stake,” he declared. The Conservative leader made a commitment to oversee federal spending power, which is the result of the fiscal imbalance, which “was so abused” by the federal Liberals. “This outrageous spending power has created dominating and paternalistic federalism, which is a serious threat to the future of our federation,” according to Harper.” (20 December 2005 Publication: Le Devoir). ““I recognize that the money is in Ottawa while the needs are in the provinces,” says Harper.” “The government will be bound to respecting provincial jurisdiction while instituting a permanent consultation mechanism with the provinces and collaboration with the Council of the Federation. Moreover, this charter will ensure that the fiscal imbalance is corrected and that federal spending power is overseen.”And also this report:“The fiscal imbalance problem has allowed federal mismanagement of taxpayers’ money totaling billions of dollars.” (Harper’s Letter from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to the Council of the Federation 15 January 2006) “We are committed to restoring balance to the fiscal relationship between the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments through a number of means, including such possibilities as increasing transfer payments to the provinces, reducing federal taxation in order to leave more tax room to the provinces, and transferring tax points to the provinces to ensure a fair distribution of new revenues.”Still think Harper’s New Tories are not a threat? Liberals should ask every candidate for leadership of the party this one simple question: Do you agree with Harper’s framing of the issue as being one of a fiscal imbalance?Any candidate who says Yes is not worth considering – Harper will run rings around that person.