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Study: Why conservatives are happier than those on the political left

Credit: Erik Astrom/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Erik Astrom/Flickr/Creative Commons

In his interesting article posted on the Daily Wire, author Jeremy Frankel cited a study in the Elsevier Journal of Research in Personality, that stated a person’s political leanings determines how happy they are.

The study entitled, “Conservatives are happier than Liberals, but why? Political ideology, personality and life satisfaction,” concluded that people who lean to the political right are happier than those on the left of the political spectrum.

The authors of the study, Barry Schlenker, John Chambers and Bonnie Le, said in their abstract:

“Political conservatives are happier than liberals. We proposed that this happiness gap is accounted for by specific attitude and personality differences associated with positive adjustment and mental health.”

They concluded that there are several reasons why Conservatives are happier.

First Conservatives take personal responsibility for what is happening to them. It is not somebody else’s job to make your life better.

They believe it is up to the individuals to take responsibility for what is happening to them, even if they were taken advantage by others.

In contrast, those on the left are in a perpetual state of victim hood, blaming others for their predicament in life. Their life is one of constant complaint about the unfairness in life — perpetual victim-hood translates into perpetual misery.

Simply, conservatives look at the world differently.

Frankel writes:

“The answer is that conservatives and Leftists view life in opposite ways.

“In the words of Dr. Jordan Peterson, life is all about suffering. Our goal is to make the most of our time on earth while dealing with our tough surroundings and circumstances. We choose what to make of our lives.

“Conservatism is based on freedom and liberty. We don’t pick our life circumstances, but we are responsible for what we make of them. The conservative knows that humans have inherent, natural rights from God, making him or her inherently worthy and the master of his or her own life.”

I know first hand how the victim mentality can make your life miserable, because that is exactly what happened to me. When we bought our house several years ago, it had a flaw in its design. The down spout from the eaves trough at the front of the house drained directly onto our driveway.

Where I live we have cold winters, but often through the winter we experience Chinooks when temperatures can warm 20 t0 30 degrees in a matter of a few hours. This results in roofs melting in the middle of winter and water pouring down our drive way. In a few hours, it would be cold and we were literally left with a skating rink on our front drive.

As I was forced to remove this dangerous bed of ice, I became angry at the person who not only designed this house, but the company that built it. Every time I had to clear the ice I was immediately blaming them for the problem. And when I said angry, more accurately I was enraged.

But then one day I realized that I was actually playing the victim card.

I could keep on blaming the architect or the construction company, but the reality was I was the only one that could fix it. I took responsibility for the problem, talked to an eaves trough company, and within a couple of weeks the down pipe was draining water onto the lawn.

But for years I had played the victim card, and embraced the misery that this eaves trough was causing me.

Why did it take so long to fix it?

I think because my victim mentality blinded me to the solution that in the end took only a couple hours to correct. I was stuck in a rut by my rotten thinking.

Another point that the authors of the report noted is that conservatives tended to have “more transcendent moral beliefs (e.g., greater religiosity, greater moral clarity, less tolerance of transgressions).”

In other words conservatives tend to believe in God.

Now I am not suggesting that they all have the same faith as I do, as some undoubtedly treat God as simply a “higher being,” but what comes with this is a sense that God is control and will help.

We have hope.

One my favorite Bible verses is found in the book of Jeremiah:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NASV)

But the backstory for this verse is the key to understanding what is happening here. Jeremiah gave this prophecy to the Jews living in captivity in Babylon who had been ripped from their homes and their livelihoods destroyed. They were starting all over again with nothing, living in a foreign land with a different language and strange customs.

Jeremiah was declaring that God was with them. They still had hope and this is what God brings us.

The report authors also added that Conservatives tend to have a much more positive outlook on life.

While the left believe they are perpetual victims of oppression and nothing can change until that oppression is removed, conservatives believe they are personally responsible for improving their lives.

The difference being that those on the left believe their life circumstance are totally beyond their control.

No wonder they are miserable and unhappy.

But conservatives believe we are responsible. We can make our life better. Life is hard. Everything doesn’t go our way, but with God’s help we can push through our difficulties.


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