To boldly think what no one has thought before.
Here is an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times by Arthur C. Brooks regarding the relative happiness of conservatives versus liberals, and the conclusions are in line with similar articles I’ve seen previously from other sources. What Brooks describes fairly accurately depicts my own personal experiences in interacting with both self-identified conservatives and liberals. I’ve often wondered at the higher levels of general negativity I see in my liberal acquaintances, and it is not always political in origin.
Part of what I’ve noticed (dovetailing onto Brooks’ theme) is that while liberals seem to be more bothered by perceived inequities of life and lifestyle, conservatives more readily accept the premise that socio-economic mobility is possible to a wide extent. I don’t know how far that goes as an explanation, but it certainly is a contributing factor in the discussion. I do think that much of what drives happiness in people is a sense of self determination, and the conversation in liberal circles does tend to run more along the lines of belief that larger government agencies are required to “level the playing field,” while conservatives appear more willing to accept the scenario that improvements to an individual’s position in life must (and still can) come primarily from the individual and that person’s own support network (family, friends, etc.). I am not in a position to judge objectively the validity of this line of reasoning, though I do have my own opinions around this.
I would love to hear opinions from both conservative an liberal readers. Are you happy or not? Why do you think that is?