New Study: Conservatives are Happier Because They Hate Everyone

By Warner Todd Huston Posted in Comments (27) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

There is a news report starting to make the rounds amongst the MSM on a study that claims to have discovered why conservatives tend to be happier than liberals and it is just the sort of bilge that the MSM loves to promulgate. We may see more of it over the next several days because, while it is titled "Conservatives Happier Than Liberals," it is basically saying that the reason conservatives are happier is because they just don't care about other people. This purported research claims to pinpoint the reason conservatives are happier and it is because they have theirs and they don't care if everyone else is poor and downtrodden. In contrast they claim liberals are less happy because they care more about people and are all heartbroken that people suffer "inequalities."

Yes, they are telling us that if you're a happy conservative, it's because you are a hateful, meanie. Thank you New York University.

Read on . . .

The two "researchers," John Jost and Jaime Napier of New York University, claim an interest in understanding why religious extremism is connected to conservatives. Both have interests in "political conservatism and religious fundamentalism" wherein they seem to assume that conservatives are but fascists in deed if not name. On her webpage, for instance, Napier says that she is interested to "explore the relationship of political conservatism to 'system justifying' ideologies, such as opposition to equality, fair market ideology, economic system justification, and right-wing authoritarianism." Why are conservatives fascists? Jamie wants to know.

Obviously these two researchers have predetermined that conservatism is an evil, oppressive ideology and they have set out to prove their thesis. With this in mind we can turn to the results of their recent "research" that claims that conservatives are happy because they hate everyone else.

Even though Jeanna Bryner of puts a happy face on the story with her headline, the text following clearly casts conservatives in the worst possible light. Her very first line provides the context of the "research" upon which she reports.

Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.

In other words, conservatives are happy because they ignore the "economic inequalities" of their fellow citizens and don't worry themselves over other's troubles. They just don't care about other people. This is exactly what this "research" claims.

Let's look at the key word they use as the fulcrum of their study. Here's what "rationalize" means:

-to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable: as

a: to substitute a natural for a supernatural explanation of

b: to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives ; broadly : to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for

-to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct

In other words to "rationalize" is to lie to oneself and everyone around you, to explain away reality with a false but reasonable seeming explanation.

This is what Bryner, Jost and Napier are positing that conservatives do: lie. And that lie makes them happy. Not a very noble action is it?

However, the very notion that conservatism is all based on a lie proves that "open minded" is not a phrase that one could possibly associate with the work of these people. They start out at the beginning with the premise that conservatives are bad people. All subsequent results are geared to prove that thesis.

Bryner goes on...

Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

So, conservatives merely "explain away" the fact that some Americans are poor? They shrug their shoulders and just happily ride off into the sunset. Oh, mean, nasty old conservatives.

Even the questions of this study are skewed to get a predetermined result.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

Of course, this very question is divorced from any REASONS that "some have more of a chance than others," doesn't it? It seems that the researchers simply take at face value that "inequalities" is simply an obvious evil, quite despite why these inequalities might or might not exist. This study completely discounts any explanations as but mere "rationalization" which completely reveals their own rationalization and makes the lie to any pretense to scientific research and places this thing itself squarely in the camp of pure justification.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the most widely recognized liberals of his day and one of his most formative concepts is that there is a "natural aristocracy among men," by which he meant some people will simply be better at some things than others. Some may end up with more in life because of these natural abilities that others may lack. In fact, this reality undergirds our entire system of liberty by which we are all free to exploit our own abilities to succeed. But Jost and Napier obviously discount this philosophical idea as an evil from the outset.

More proof of their own bias is in the next paragraph of Bryner's piece.

To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

Notice the obvious assumption that people really don't "move up" in economic status when she writes, "in which people supposedly move up..." What's with the "supposedly"? If people really didn't move up the economic ladder due to their hard work, then we'd all be making the same amount we made when we first joined the work force as teenagers or young adults! Obviously people DO move up the economic ladder and it can only be because of their personal efforts.

Next we get the words of the researchers further revealing their bias.

"Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives," the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, "apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

Ah, we see. Those liberals are so loving and caring that they just can't stand to see someone in need and it just tears them up inside. They can't explain away those darn ol' "inequalities" and frame them in a "positive" light as the uncaring conservatives are able to do.

So many things wrong with just one little paragraph.

First of all, conservatives don't explain away inequalities and go off on their merry way unconcerned over the plight of their neighbors. Conservatives do feel there is no way around a certain amount of inequalities, but no conservative is "happy" because of inequality and they also have no particular interest in fostering it among others. Further, they do not see inequality in any "positive" light. Inequality lacks any moral value in this instance. It just is. It is also, on an individual basis, not a permanent state. Inequalities can be changed by individual effort as far as conservatives are concerned. This is where some level of satisfaction comes in for conservatives. The notion that it is within the power of the individual to change inequality brings a hope for the future that cannot help but cause a sunny outlook. And this is also a good reason why liberals are unhappy. After all, liberals wallow in a victim mentality, they assume everyone is against them and nothing can be done to address inequalities in life. How can such a dark view of the world not make them unhappy?

But, to explain why their central assumption that liberals care more and that they get more upset about inequalities is wrong headed thinking, one only needs to look at the statistics of charitable giving. Conservatives give far, far more to help people out than liberals. It begs the question that if liberals are so torn up inside about people doing badly, why then don't they try to do anything about it by trying to help others like conservatives do? And if conservatives can so easily "explain away inequalities" why do they bother to give so much of their money and time to help others? If there are any lies being told, it seems that liberals are doing it more often than conservatives.

There are substantive reasons why conservatives believe as they do but this study relegates any reasons to automatic assumptions of evil and moves on from there. Unfortunately for any efforts at "science," this particular study is so bound up in preconceived notions that any results are useless to any greater understanding of why conservatives are happier than liberals in the U.S.

But, since it makes liars and uncaring louts of conservatives everywhere, the MSM should love this badly skewed "research." Thus far it has appeared on Fox News, Yahoonews and MSNBC as well as its original source,, so we just might be seeing more of this report.

Be sure and Visit my Home blog Publius' Forum. It's what's happening NOW!

I couldn't resist. The first thing that hit my evil, mean little mind when I read this article of theirs was the Max Blue Meanie.

Be sure and Visit my Home blog Publius' Forum. It's what's happening NOW!

And I don't feel bad about it

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

We need to close the happiness gap. I propose a govt program that.......

"Hey, I call 'em like I see 'em. I'm a whale biologist."

How can that even be labled a "study"? Every question she seeks to "answer" is loaded. But, no doubt, people will find it a very authoritative study. Whatever.

I've said it before: I tried to be a liberal; I found I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to somebody else's.


try this, cheat on your own taxes while decrying those who want lower taxes.

Go on a left wing blog and talk about throwing the entire Bush administration in prison, then rant about how they want to round up all dissenters.

Talk about change and Hope, and then tell everyone you see how the economy is doomed, the earth is doomed, and the nation is doomed.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

I'll take a crack at it. PJ O'Rourke once asked. "Who has ever had a wet dream about being tied up and sexually ravished by someone dressed up like a liberal?"

"I believe we must adjourn this meeting to some other place." - The last recorded words of Adam Smith.

    understanding why religious extremism is connected to conservatives

Because liberals don't believe that Reverend Jeremiah Wright means all that "God" stuff he talks about. They therefore do not see what he does as religious extremism. When you think that only conservatives are religious, only conservatives engage in religious extremism.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

it's even more basic than that.

Liberals define "religious extremism" as "letting your religious beliefs influence your actions."

because, we don't GIVE agree to the people health care and money and food, we want to create an atmosphere where they can earn what they need, and much more!

If you keep someone dry and warm (subsidised housing), a full belly (food stamps), free health care (medicade) and a check (welfare), they are happy and demand little else from you.

Don't create jobs, good lord, they might actually have more then they need and buy a house of something. THEN they become taxpayers and suddenly, they are checking up on where their tax money is going, and just what kind of job you are doing.

God forbid, the Democrats couldn't stand for that!

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

I mean. I thought it was CONTEMPT that was driving my happiness.

I didn't realize it was HATRED.

hatred and contempt are the same thing to a lib.


No, we don't try to explain away inequalities... we just don't spend our time kvetching about things we have no control over. Even following liberal logic, and just threw a bunch of money at the problem, we'd end up with a few genuinely transformed individuals and a lot of homeless people with gold jewelry.

What we do is understand that our desired system gives the greatest number of people the chance of living a fulfilling life, and with self-actualization, according to Maslow's Hierarchy, comes a satisfaction of our human needs. And when our needs are satisfied, why not be happy?

In contrast, those who seek a more progressive society as their goal in life see inequality as an obstacle, and facing an endless array of obstacles with nothing new to show for it can make one despondent...

"No matter how much lipstick you put on the taxation pig, it's still a pig... and it's currently snout-down in your wallet." - Michael Fisk

"I believe we must adjourn this meeting to some other place." - The last recorded words of Adam Smith.

...even crude animal emotion can have some logic emerge from it.

Intelligence? No.

Logic? Maybe.

Good logic? See the "intelligence" bit.

"No matter how much lipstick you put on the taxation pig, it's still a pig... and it's currently snout-down in your wallet." - Michael Fisk

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Seems like she is explaining why conservatives are happier and healthier.

There is only one solution - Happiness re-distribution.

It's a great one!

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

because they are the most religious; not only religious, but Christian. It is no coincidence that one of the poorest states in America has the highest giving to income ratio. Mississippi sits in the middle of the Bible belt.

The premise of these marxist nuts is totally gutted by recent studies showing religious conservatives give the most. Ironically, recent studies have also shown this same group to be the most happy. Why?

The Bible commands followers of Christ to give, and give generously. People who take the Bible seriously incorporate giving into their lives. America's phenomenal giving comes from its religious heritage. Europe used to give more per capita, but as they have left Christianity their giving has dropped.

The point needs to be made that religious conservatives do not believe governments should be in the charity business. We pay taxes to governments for them to govern. We give charity to help those less fortunate. The two do not mix. Religious liberals, on the other hand, seem better at forcing governments to redistribute wealth, than giving personally.

Conservatives are happy because they choose to be. Libs spend so much time crying about their horrible life they don't have time to be happy.

When I saw the title, I thought, well of course we are, we don't see ourselves as victims and as responsible for ourselves. Then I read the story; it didn't feel quite right. After reading, my first thought was "I think I should be offended" Thanks, Warner, for proving my instincts correct.

every night in bed, sleepless because of inequality, crying for want of more government programs. The dozens we have, some around for decades, being insufficient. They could give away most or all of their own money but that would take commitment and self sacrifice.
It's possible that conservatives are happier due to not holding grudges against a society that doesn't measure up to someone's artificial standards, or maybe they just have their own lives and are normally content with them, maybe they're not overcharged with hostility & and feel a need to revolutionize a society. Maybe we can do our own poll.

"a man's admiration for absolute government is proportinate to the contempt he feels for those around him". Tocqueville

throughout my life who may be considered more liberal-leaning than others, and the more I learned of them, the more I realized after a time that they were just unhappy people to begin with, and why I came to believe their personal misery led them to become more socialist in ideology; to try an right the perceived ills of the world - rather than focusing on righting the ills within themselves. It's a basic manifestation of denial to some extent, and feeling akin to those they believe are also miserable in life seems to offer them some validity and justification for feeling as miserable as they do. Blaming others who are not miserable seems to come natural to them. But, finding some evil fault with others' happiness is just plain envy. And just plain wrong.

I'm certainly not a psychiatrist, but I've seen this phenomenon more and more as I matured in life; people who blame external causes for their internal problem issues seem to believe if the world would change, all will be better for them personally. Or, failing that, at least everyone would be left as unhappy as they felt.

These liberals "friends" I have known for along time, oddly, all have something in common with each other. In truth, they all have had early lives that were much less than ideal, which is most unfortunate.

But, their personal unhappiness was not due a dysfunctional society that they feel so passionate about changing; their misery, I believe, is primarily due to the fact that they grew up in psychologically damaging situations in their home environments.

This happens more than I realized when I was a kid, and I realized too, that I was very fortunate to grow up in the way I did with a close loving family and lots of caring relatives in my life. Was my life perfect? No, of course not. But it was very good in all the fundamental ways. I learned early on that right behaviors were expected - in that being honest, compassionate, and generous were right behaviors.

My siblings and I were not given the slightest thought to believe we were better than others, but we learned to know we were blessed to be able to help others no matter who they were or where they came from, and that too, was an expectation.

We have taught out children the same things.

I did not grow up unhappy, but my happiness was never predicated on the misery of others. I am also Christian, and by virtue of that fact alone, my life is joyful even when my personal circumstances are not always so.

I also don't expect many of todays' liberals to understand any of this.

He toucheth the mountain - and it smokes

nearly every left winger I ever knew was a miserable person. But that is not all, they almost all were also haters. Bit time rage filled haters, and cynics.

Now I am also a bit of a cynic, and not always a very happy person. But I am not a hater. I also hold out a fairly positive view of the long term future ( although I think the near future looks bleak).

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

According to Obama it depends.

How many guns they have, how many gays in the neighborhood and their personal relationship with God.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

NOOOOOOO! NOOOOOO! It can't be! Conservatives are bitter, not "happy"! Don't you you know that we're just clinging to our guns and Jesus because Uncle Sam's so darn mean?! But don't you worry, the Obamessiah will change things by giving us hope in a better tomorrow, because, by god, yes we can!

-Curls up in fetal position and sings to self-

Okay, now that I got that Obasm out of my system, I notice that, according to the article, "marital status, income or church attendance" are measured, and not age or ethnicity, two areas where Republicans' constituency drastically differs from that of the Dems.

Your typical Spartan warrior clinging to spears and gods:

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