Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals

Why are conservatives happier than liberals? Researcher John Jost (seems like a happy guy) and Jaime Napier know the answer:

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.

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."

The secret to conservative's happiness, it turns out, is all in their conservativeness!

If your beliefs don't justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted both a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings.

"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."

Link - via The Evangelical Outpost

I would have expected more from Neatorama than a link to an out and out plainly politically biased (in this case, completely right-wing) blog. I thought we had at least somewhere to escape without having to deal with politics.

That being said, I suppose the survey results make sense. If you're capable of saying "I've got mine, the rest of you can go to hell," of course you'll be happier! Looks like ignorance really is bliss!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Wow, straight from Faux News- always an excellent source for this type of thing!

While these results might be popular amongst the Faux News fan club, I don't see them as being all that accurate. Most liberals (just as conservatives) are not miserable because the world ain't the way they would like it to be. Change takes time, I accept that and try to push things in the best direction.

I'm rather liberal. I lead a good life and I'm happy.
I have conservative and liberal friends and there seems to be no correlation. I can tell you that the most depressed friend I have right now is a conservative though.

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hey...this might stand a chance of being neato if it weren't for the fact that it's an ancient story that was all over places such as yahoo! news back in MAY.

Thereaderrabbit; good lord, not only are you trying to rationalize-away something which has insulting implications towards conservatives, but you are doing so with a grasp of logic which seems about level with the evangelicals who believe creationism belongs in science class. Actually, I may be selling the creationists short...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
So this study (bah!) is specific to US culture only, it's not global? Still, as others have already commented, the source is Fox, so it's very unreliable. Of course Fox would write biased crap like this. I'm sure the fans of psychology will swallow every line as blindly as ever though.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
never seen a happy retard? of course they're happy, they reduce the world into a tiny little thing that fits their tiny little minds. awareness breeds ambiguity, and ambiguity breeds anxiety. thanks, I'll pass on that saccharine trophy.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
i would really like to read an article stating how UNimportant it is to associate oneself with the left/right wing. people will continue to take "sides" as long as our political system is presented as such. where are the articles stating those who follow a middle-path (like the Buddha) are the happiest people in the world? and in order to really understand what this really means, we have to look at what "happiness" in our modern world really means. does it mean "the genuine feeling of goodness in one's life?" and what is it that makes a person's life good? is it lots of sex? drugs? money? lots of frivolous, cheap items from stores like wal-mart? new cars? clothes? HD-TVs? video games and electronics? because i don't know about you, but those who consider themselves MODERN conservatives (and not the true meaning of the word) usually have gaping pocketbooks (packed with credit cards with no actual currency) and find happiness in material objects. could THAT be why conservatives are happier? maybe... but likely not.

i agree with the majority here.. Faux News is not a credible source... and it probably just gave them an extra bonus to say a study supports their own biases.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don't see how this study paints conservatives in a positive light; if anything, it paints them as jerks. What's the problem? I'd rather be unhappy about inequality than ignorant and smug any day. She said, smugly.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Quite simply, a conservative is a psychopath by definition:

A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in amoral behavior without empathy or remorse

They lack empathy for their fellow human beings. Sounds like a strong word, but it is the truth.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
irrespective of origin of the study it really isn't a gigantic leap of logic to realise that those absolutely indifferent to their brothers and sisters suffering are always going to be happier than those who are.

Psychopaths tend to be the most contented of all.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I call BS! For example, Seems to me most liberals could care less about the plight of non-Muslims in Islamic-dominated countries and they rationalize that away quite effectively. (or they just completely ignore it) And when people do speak out against it liberals call you a racist! (figure that?)
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
wtf? non-Muslims in Islamic countries? Where the hell did that come from? And why would a liberal call you a racist for caring about the plight of anyone? Either you know the crappiest liberal on earth, or you're as confused as I am.

Oh, and clearly Stanhope is responsible for the political divide in this country.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Stephanie, attempt to spell and punctuate correctly if you want anyone to take you seriously. (It's "COULDN'T care less", by the way.)

Making sense is another key thing you should work on. Seriously. Read what you wrote aloud.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I have met "nice, happy" people on both sides of the fence and would argue that "Ignorance is bliss" would apply to ALL politics in one way or another.

I also find it very lame and sad to criticise ones spelling and/or grammar as argument against what they said. SMAK off topic is lame too.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Stephanie is a perfect example of a conservative suffering cognitive dissonance - she's desperately trying to "rationalize" (like the article explains) but can't seem to form any logical explanation for her obvious personality disorder; she lacks empathy for others. Therefore she tries to change the subject entirely (muslims? racism? wtf?), she tries to point her fingers at others instead (attempting to shift the focus from herself) and utterly fails at making any sense whatsoever.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Of course, only you left-wing nuts are angry about this post.

How do you think conservatives feel when they read EVERY NEWS NETWORK OUT THERE - you're just used to all your news aligning with your political stances, that when one differs from yours, you cry BIAS!

Wake up.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It's so easy to see who's a liberal a who's a conservative, just from the comments alone! I guess we're all pretty transparent, regardless of our political leanings.

I would probably be a "liberal" and I'm not all that happy. But I think I'd be even unhappier if I tried to force myself into a conservative way of thinking. It would be like trying to "un-know" things or turn off your empathy. On the upside, I guess that means I'm not a psychopath. On the downside, it means that ignorance, intolerance, and people who walk around with their brains turned off will continue to piss me off.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This article misuses the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as synonyms for socialism and capitalism. For those of you who don't know the difference, here's a quick rundown:

CONSERVATISM: An ideology which seeks to preserve or return to the status quo. The actual goals of conservatives can differ greatly depending upon the country they represent and the current time period.

LIBERALISM: An ideology which seeks to optimize freedom. Classical liberals, who support capitalism, were responsible for the American Revolution. However, social liberals, who support socialism, have overshadowed classical liberals in the US since the Great Depression.

CAPITALISM: A system in which people have the freedom to work, start a business, invest money, give to charity, hoard their money, etc. Some welfare can be offered to people who are unable to work. Some restrictions can be placed on the economy in order to ensure increased freedom, such as anti-trust laws and fair use laws.

SOCIALISM: A system in which wealth is plundered via progressive taxation. The revenue goes mostly into the hands of the politicians, while some is diverted to the poor in order to ensure the reelection of those politicians. Meanwhile, progressive taxation keeps small businesses from getting bigger, thereby ensuring that only a handful of big businesses dominate the market. As a result, less jobs are available, which forces more people to get welfare, which requires more taxation. Meanwhile, greedy conglomerates aren't afraid of competition from new businesses, which allows them to raise their prices beyond reason. This raises the cost of living, which in turn forces even more people to get welfare, which requires even more taxation.

That said, I disagree with those conservatives and libertarians who absolutely oppose any welfare, anti-trust laws, fair use laws, etc. Economic freedom does require some activity on part of the government. However, I don't like the way this article confuses capitalism with an uncaring attitude towards the poor. I, for one, condemn rich people who refuse to give to charity.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Yes, conservatives are happy and contented people...that's why they're always having aneurisms about liberals, gays, the gummint, foerigners, non-Christians, young people, college perfessers, etc...happy as a friggin clam!

I suspect the reason this "research" was done was to counteract actual research that has shown time and time again that conservatives are the angry, insecure and easily offended ones among us.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

You're right about being able to spot the liberals/conservatives in this thread. The liberals are falling all over themselves to persecute conservatives, and the conservatives are falling back to their automatic persecution complex.

It's a political perpetual motion machine; the bottom line is that people love to feel outraged, and they'll do anything to feel that way.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
John Stuart Mill:

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides."
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
You can now buy any scientific research finding (outcome) you want these days. Gone are the days of the peer reviewed process and reliable research. Scientific research is now a privatised enterprise that is in the business of making money. If a research organisation doesn't supply the outcomes that people paying for, they will get no further work (money) for future research. There is plenty of scientists and research companies ready to sell out their integrity in an instant. Everyone needs to make a dollar to survive.

Governments and tax payers should fund all research to ensure it is independent from the market, peer reviewed and reliable.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Here we see super-ultra-double-salchow ABC News explaining that conservatives actually donate more of their paycheque to help out their fellow man.

What was that about conservatives not liking their fellow man again?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

Doesn't that basically say 'Conservatives are happy becasue they don't think about inequality' ?
I don't understand why liberals would disagree with that finding.

Although, now that I look at the wording, it doesn't kind of sound like it's trying to say liberals lack something that they shouldn't (which is, an ability to convince themselves to not care about inequality). I wonder, is it fair to say they *lack* the ability just because they don't *use* it?

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
As a conservative, I don't necessarily buy the argument that conservatives are happier than liberals, but if it is true, I can think of several reasons why it might be. The main thing is that liberals tend to have a wrong-headed idea of fairness that says everyone should live the same way with the same amount of money, sharing the limited resources fairly. The conservative sees correctly that some people have greater abilities and more ambition than others, and thus earning them more in the marketplace, and that that situation is inherently fair.

The conservative also sees rightly that many resource limitations either do not exist or are artificially imposed. Wealth, for instance, is not a finite thing that must be divvied up equally to be fair; in a proper market-based system it's something that can be grown and shared with all. Some do end up with more, but most often it's those who work harder or risk more. When the government stays out of the way, they tend to put the money they earn back into the market by expanding businesses, creating jobs, growing markets, etc... They end up earning more and become wealthier still, but others profit right along with them. It's called "trickle-down economics" and was championed by a guy named Ronald Reagan. Too bad most of you here weren't born in time to know more of him.

A couple of my favorite quotes; can you guess who said them?
"Conservatism works every time it is tried and liberalism has failed in every case it is applied."
"The only reason the political left is called that is because it sounds better than the political wrong."
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

Where exactly are these massive media empires that are slavishly devoted to the left?

There aren’t any.

The media is almost completely right-centrist.

With the Fox network bringing up the loony right.

The media is mostly fair and with a slight bias in favour of the right.

What I think you ar4e complaining about is that the Right Wing Froot Loops who run the US are such a shabby shower of theives and stand over men that they keep gettign caught out.

Just coz your guys in the White house are backwards doesn’t make the media wrong.



Did you have to wipe the foam from your lip[s after typing that BIZARRE definition of Socialism?

The last time I read anything like that it was from Sen McCarthy.

really, get a grip.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

Disclaimer: I could definitely be called liberal. In fact more liberal than most.

What you seem to be talking about is an ideal free market society, not reality. The reality is that rich people get richer because they use their wealth to put up roadblocks for competitors, making it so the little guy never gets a chance. This is why we have things like monopoly law. Or they use lobbying efforts (money) to pass laws in their favor.

For example, take a corporation like Walmart. They started out like a nice, family run business that succeeded on their merits, but have now grown into a behemoth that basically runs on slave labor. There is no "trickle down effect" there. And yes, I'm old enough to remember Reagan, the one all conservatives bring out when they need a good example.

Not all liberals are socialists.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Dave F:

Not reality? Guess that's why you never see any small business sole proprietorships anywhere. You never get an ideal situation, but that doesn't mean the system can't work in spite of the big guys; it's called finding the niche, and people do it all the time.

True that not all liberals are socialists, but pretty close. ;o)


"The media is almost completely right-centrist."

If you believe that, it must mean that in the left/right continuum you're as far left as they get. From your vantage point, everybody is a right-winger.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This is apparently a touchy issue to evoke such a strong response from the "loony left".

The comments are reduced to calling conservatives stupid, greedy, and corrupt. Of course, there are many who are so, but any group has its share of bad eggs.

We can't have an adequate discussion in this short form, but I'll try to make one point.

To say that a conservative doesn't care about inequality is not the same as saying that one allows for a measure of inequality. The "rich" and everyone else should give money and time to help the needy, but it makes no sense that the government should coerce charity, because it is no longer charity at that point.

Start worrying more about how to solve the problems instead of blaming everyone else for them.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

I am talking about non-Muslims treatment in Islamic dominated countries. Something you obviously don't care about or even know about it seems, and all you can do in response is try to attack me personally. Lame.
Along with your fellow 'liberal' who criticises my spelling, instead of discussing the issue I brought up.
Lame as well.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
cool, that explains it all. Libs interalize things they can do nothing about, such that it eats their guts out, conservative realize that's just the way things are, and get on with their lives.

An accurate sense of reality does make for good mental health, wot?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I read this article in it's entirety, along with all the comments. Coming from a neutral standpoint, the conservatives didn't have to comment at all! The liberal commentators did an outstanding job of proving the article correct, with their name-calling and angry replies. Very few had any relavant arguements, straying off topic, accusing conservatives of not caring, which the article doesn't say at all! It claims conservatives accept the fact that there ARE differences between us! Some are content asking for money on the streets, some are not. Some are content earning 50k a year, some demand more! Conservatives see it as that is a choice we make, & liberals think that everyone wants to be equal, & if we're not, then someone is to blame, & life won't be right until we are all the same.

My POV is, If you're always blaming someone for everybody elses mistakes or choices, you're going to be miserable! It's when you start taking your own life into your own hands & start worrying about what you do instead of what everyone else is doing, is when you might start being happy.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 46 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More