20 April 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Be Republican

According to a survey performed by the Pew Research Center Republicans are happier than Democrats across all income levels. The survey reported that only 28% of Democrats considered themselves "very happy" while 47% of Republicans rated themselves that high. And apparently this is not a recent phenomena; Republicans have scored a higher "happiness quota" every year since the survey started in 1972.

Columnist George Will has an opinion as to why (go figure):

Begin with a paradox: Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more pessimistic. Conservatives think the Book of Job got it right ("Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward"), as did Adam Smith ("There is a great deal of ruin in a nation"). Conservatives understand that society in its complexity resembles a giant Calder mobile -- touch it here and things jiggle there, and there, and way over there. Hence conservatives acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is: The unintended consequences of bold government undertakings are apt to be larger than, and contrary to, the intended ones.

Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they are rarely surprised -- they are right more often than not about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong, they are happy to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes -- government -- they accept that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity -- it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.


Interesting, George. I agree with much of it . . . especially the part at the end that I quick triggered with bold italics. But I think the giddyup in the GOP extends beyond conservatives to moderates as well and can be more completely explained through a series of contrasts between the parties . . . and note that I am writing about the parties as a whole rather than certain individuals within since I would never accuse Ted Kennedy of being a downer:
  • Republicans believe in ideas that are defined by your actions; Democrats believe that actions are irrelevant so long as your intentions were liberal . . er, progressive.
  • Republicans believe that America provides hope to the world; Democrats believe global warming, current terrorist levels, the price of gas and AIDs are primarily our fault.
  • Republicans use an elephants as their symbol; Democrats use a jackass.
  • Republicans think that some morality is absolute; Democrats believe that morality is a cultural construct.
  • Republican President George W. Bush met with the Pope this week; Democratic President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas this week.
  • Republicans believe in individual rights; Democrats believe in group identity.
  • Republicans have had John Wayne, Bo Derek and Chuck Norris; Democrats have had Barbara Streisand, Jane Fonda and Sean Penn.
  • Republicans believe that government is the people's baby; Democrats believe that government is the people's mommy.
  • Republicans believe in self-determination; Democrats believe in the cult of victimhood.
  • Republicans wave flags, own guns and have jobs; Democrats wave protest signs, own designer cats and . . . well, if they have jobs must get a lot of time off to wave those protest signs.
  • Republicans believe that ideological diversity is important; Democrats believe that diversity should only be skin deep.
  • Republicans believe that Democrats are stupid; Democrats believe that Republicans are evil.
  • Republicans believe in class mobility; Democrats believe in class warfare.
  • Republicans believe in the wonderfully unique properties of humanity; Democrats believe that humans are just smart animals with opposable thumbs.
  • Republicans believe that Terrorism is a real threat that we can defeat if we stand firm; Democrats believe that it's not nearly so bad as, say, climate change and shouldn't be discussed in debates since it is obviously just a word the GOP uses to scare up some votes and there aren't really radicals who would kill us if they could, anyway.
  • Republicans believe in the American Dream; Democrats believe Americans have been reamed.

Little wonder Democrats are depressed. If I had such a negative view of my country, my evil opposition in government and my chance to succeed without help I'd, well, I'd have a little trouble turning my frown upside down as well.

If you happen to be a Democrat who doesn't believe in at least half of the things I've assigned to your party above, congratulations! You must be in the "very happy" 28% that broke from the party mold. In fact, you may even be a closet Republican.

3 comments :

  1. Nikki said...

    Awesome post!! this is my favorite one: "Republican President George W. Bush met with the Pope this week; Democratic President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas this week." Truly this sums it up nicely! :)N

  2. Freadom said...

    Love it. Republicans believe world will always be flawed; democrats believe perfection can be achieved.

  3. Khaki Elephant said...

    You're right! It makes me understand the the appeal of being a Democrat: you can dream of utopia rather than addressing the problems of a world that will always be flawed.