Big "L," small "l," it doesn't matter, liberals, whatever their stripe are an unhappy lot. Conservatives on the other hand, are generally happy, well adjusted people.
Liberals are by definition socialists. They want the government to provide everything, and yet perversely they detest that very government and resent it's "interference" in their lives. Lefties as a group eschew hard work and do as little of it as possible - and thus deny themselves the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. See, liberals are generally lazy and because they work as little as possible they have a lot of time on their soft hands, time to think about all their ills and everything that's wrong in their lives. They dwell on it. And because liberals are generally a godless bunch, and thus have no higher power from which to draw strength, they have no direction in their pitiful lives. As a result liberals seek out causes. Liberals always have a cause, they're always out saving the whales, or aborting babies, or screaming about climate change or chaining themselves to trees and nuclear power plants. Liberals just can't seem to live and let live. And as a result of these things they are unhappy and dissatisfied and miserable.
Conservatives are different. First and foremost conservatives are proactive. They're problem solvers. Conservatives know that work is the key to true happiness. They love to work, and the harder the work the better. Putting food on the table, providing for their families, paying the bills - those are the things that give true satisfaction and bring real happiness. Conservatives don't expect the government to provide; conservatives make their own way in the world and are happier for it. Conservatives don't resent government in their lives, because they know that strong government provides for security and stability. And ultimately conservatives have God on their side. Their faith is a source of strength and happiness and purpose. Conservatives know that things will work themselves out and they don't worry about it, secure in the fact that they are God's chosen ones and that the world's problems can be solved with a suitable application of military force.
How do I know these things are true?
Easy, CNN's Glenn Beck told me so.
Had you going there for a moment, didn't I?
Now, just for the record I don't make a habit of watching Rush Junior, eh, uh, sorry Glenn Beck. But I do watch CNN Headline News in the morning before I take my kid to school. I do this because I am a creature of habit - and I'm stuck with a habit leftover from when CNN was actually a news channel, from before they became the gum snapping, tractor pulling, fluffy puff pastry American Idol station. Yesterday, I left the tube on when I left to take the kid to school, and I when I got back I went directly to the shop and never went back into the house. I came in around 1400 to check my email and Glenn Beck was on. Now normally I'd just hit the mute button and move on, but Beck was "interviewing" some constipated looking twit on the subject of Arthur Brooks' new book Gross National Happiness - it might actually have been Brooks himself, I didn't catch the introduction.
I put "interviewing" in quotes in the previous sentence because Beck was doing what he usually does, i.e. rant and scowl and grin and bob and talk about himself and use the interviewer only as confirmation of his own squalid opinions. And he was basically spewing the nonsense that I said in the first two paragraphs of this post. The difference being that I had my tongue firmly in my cheek, Beck meant every word.
Now, Glenn Beck has never had an original thought in his entire life. He fastens lamprey-like onto whatever topic will generate the most hate mail and happily cashes the checks. He claimed that "lefties" are a miserable group of people. He stated, on the other hand, that as a conservative he is happy and satisfied and that most conservatives are the same. I thought this was a fairly funny statement, coming as it did from a guy who's conservative mother committed suicide, who's conservative brother committed suicide, who spent a significant part of his life addicted to drugs and Jack Daniels and who's wife left him because he was such a miserable asshole. Frankly, I watched this sorry blowhard for an hour yesterday and if he's an example of conservative happiness, I'll take a pass.
But it got me thinking. And a little looking about confirmed that Beck is just, as usual, parroting the right-wing viewpoint. There seems to be this widespread idea amongst conservatives, neatly summarized in Gross National Happiness and supported by a 'scientific' report in the Economist, that liberals in general are miserable, unhappy people - or at least more unhappy than conservatives anyway. Take a look in the comments section of any conservative blog and you'll see this "fact" stated over and over.
As usual in these cases, and being neither self-identified as liberal nor conservative, I have a somewhat different opinion. Most of the liberals I know are reasonably happy folks, so are most of the conservatives I know - and I know a lot of people.
It's the extremists on the far sides of both camps that seem to be miserable. Take the extreme left for example, two weeks of sitting chained to a tree branch in the pouring rain outside of Seattle in order to protect the Snowy Snail Darting Yellow Breasted Sap Sucking Spotted Owl Vulture tends to make your organic hemp underwear and birkenstocks chafe, man. That would make anybody crabby. Then there's the extreme right: a good God fearing republican ought to be able to cruise the airport restrooms for a little wide stance relief or shoot a few Planned Parenthood doctors without all the hoopla from the liberal press. All that yabbering about rights and the Constitution, that would piss anybody off.
Seriously, a lot of you folks are liberals, both big and small "L" and a number of you are conservatives - are you happy? And do you think your happiness is related to your politics?
Now, if you'll excuse me I'll be out in the shop, because sawdust, it makes me happy.
Jim, just so you know, I was getting ready to ask if you were running a high fever and suffering from brain damage at the start of the post.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty damned liberal, and aside from (or perhaps because of) my biological depression, I think I'm a rather happy person.
Yes, the current administration makes me *un*happy, but unlike some people (i.e. my mother), I don't let that color my view of the entire world.
I have friends who are liberal and conservative, and I have to say that I have never equated politics with happiness (although I must admit I do think some conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and that creep on FOX are miserable bastards. [But I'm pretty sure that's something totally different.])
And FYI, I remember reading something recently that happiness can be tied to volunteerism--that helping others makes you happy. And as much as I want to be snarky, I don't think that trait is tied to politics either.
I'm fucking miserable. But due to my A.D.D., I expect it to pass momentarily.ReplyDelete
Michele, while I consider myself neither liberal or conservative (in fact detest labels of any kind), I suspect that most liberals are like you - and most conservatives for that matter. Reasonably happy folks, who wish things were a bit better - and work to make it so. I think the genetic (or environmental) bent that makes people extremists is also what makes them unhappy. Extremists, Liberal or conservative, seem to me to be extremists because they have a pathological need to be part of something, some fight, some conflict, anything.ReplyDelete
Nathan, good. I'm miserable at the moment too - but it has nothing to do with my politics, it has everything to due with spring allergies. I took a pill, maybe it'll pass.
My grandmother took tow pills yesterday.ReplyDelete
For her colonoscopy.
Everything passed. ;)
I'm visualizing something that looks like a big tow, complete with nail. Shudder.
God, I kill me.
God, I kill me.ReplyDelete
That's because you're too far away for use to help you.
Actually, today I am a miserable bitch, as evidenced by Irritation Day.ReplyDelete
However, it had nothing to do with being a LIBERAL, and everything to do with stoopid people.
I tend to agree that the fanatics aren't happy unless they're unhappy. I like being happily boring.
I've always considered myself a moderate, but I've lived in some very conservative places where it was very easy to get labeled "Liberal". I also consider myself a rather happy person, but then I work at being content with my life whatever happens.ReplyDelete
I have known very conservative folks as well as very liberal folks. Some of them were happy with life, and well, some of them weren't. I don't think their politics had anything to do with it. They were going to be unhappy with whatever happened. You can never underestimate a person's capacity to create their own hell.
I'm pretty moderate too. I enjoyed the first part of the post when I kept looking back up at the header... yes, this really IS Jim's blog. ;)ReplyDelete
I agree, the extremists and obsessives seem more unhappy in general than the average, less overzealous citizen.
Jim, I'm a libertarian who detests Ayn Rand, so you know I'm an unhappy bastard.ReplyDelete
John, as you're a Pitt graduate, that goes without saying. ;)ReplyDelete
This being morning, the first part of the post really woke me up! I'm okay now.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty happy, although I (like I suspect most people) have bad days. There are situations I'm unhappy about, but those usually have to do with stupid people.
Of the truly unhappy people I know personally, most are fanatics about something. Not all, and I know a few fanatical people that are pretty happy.
Like Jim, I'm not real fond of labels, but I'm hard to label, so that makes me happy :-). On some issues I would be considered moderate, on some quite liberal, and on some quite conservative.
Jim, I'm a libertarian who detests Ayn Rand, so you know I'm an unhappy bastard.
John, I find that funny on so many levels!
I am an extremely conservative moderate liberal radical. I'm right, and you're wrong, and if you don't believe me, I'll switch sides and prove you wrong. :) :) :)ReplyDelete
Am I happy? Pretty much, except when I'm not. Political? No thanks, I'm full. Opinionated? Fuckin' A!
I'm less incensed by people I disagree with than I used to be. I also pay less attention to controversy than I did. Life works out better that way.
Is there a word for mildly depressed, but happy in spite of it all? That's me.
As a liberal, I'm a miserable SOB. But that's only because I hate continuously mopping up the stupid these past 7 years.ReplyDelete
But that's only because I hate continuously mopping up the stupid these past 7 years.ReplyDelete
Well, yeah, that's making me miserable too. Come on January!
Well of course we liberals are unhappy people. We're always complaining, aren't we? About civil liberties, the environment, fair pay, gender equality, gay rights, racial equality and all the rest of that shit. Leave it to a liberal to complain that a corporation is making record profits while dumping carcinogens (what an ugly and unhappy word) into the local river--what kind of asshole complains about profits? Or how about liberals complaining that schools in wealthy neighborhoods are better funded and staffed than schools in poor neighborhoods--how miserable do you have to be to complain about better schools? I'm a liberal and I have to admit it doesn't make any sense, I mean, who doesn't want better schools?ReplyDelete
We're a bunch of anti-development, anti-life, bastards who are so opposed to tough criminal sentences that we obviously want to be robbed, raped and murdered. Probably by people who don't even have the decency to rob, rape and murder us in English, the way we tend to be about immigration and "English First." Clearly, we hate ourselves. So of course we're miserable and unhappy and depressed. Duh. Matter of fact, I should probably go shoot myself--oh wait, I don't own a gun. See how bad it is?
Eric, I see you watched Glenn Beck too. - that's pretty close to what he and his interviewer said. Liberals bitch about civil liberties, the environment, and etc. If they just wouldn't worry about that shit - they'd be happy. Duh.ReplyDelete
The guy, he's an idiot.
I don't have cable... so if I channeled the guy while I was trying to be funny... wow.... He really is a moron....ReplyDelete