June 15, 2008

It's Settled, Then

Justin Katz

Peter Schweizer offers a very interesting read on studies finding that conservatives are happier, friendlier, more charitable, and more likely to hug their children, while liberals are... ahem... otherwise:

Much of the desire to distribute wealth and higher taxation is motivated by envy - the desire to take more from someone else - and bitterness.

The culprit here is not those on the Left who embrace progressive ideas but the ideas themselves.

As John Maynard Keynes reminds us: 'The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and wrong, are more powerful than commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.' Or, as the American theorist Richard Weaver once declared: 'Ideas have consequences.'

And it seems that today modern progressive ideas can often bring out the worst in people.

This finding resonates with especial strength for those who've sensed its counterintuitive truth:

Most surprising of all is reputable research showing those on the Left are more interested in money than Right-wingers.

Both the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey reveal Left-wingers are more likely to rate 'high income' as an important factor in choosing a job, more likely to say 'after good health, money is the most important thing', and agree with the statement 'there are no right or wrong ways to make money'.

Does anybody know the html for the "evil smile" tag?

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No one should really be terribly surprised by this.

Marx, above all, was a materialist,
who defined everything in terms of class.

Leftist ideology is driven by material goals.

Posted by: brassband at June 15, 2008 5:20 PM

"Left-wingers are more likely to ... agree with the statement 'there are no right or wrong ways to make money'."

Does this mean all drug-dealers are left-wingers...?

Posted by: Monique at June 15, 2008 6:29 PM

Coservatives are also better looking, harder working,more inteligent,better athelets,sexier,better lovers,more artistic,better investors,more law abiding,taller,stronger,more sexualy endowed,more religious,better parents,
and more patriotic,then Liberals

Posted by: Sammy at June 15, 2008 7:16 PM

Conservatives apparently are also more likely to believe quack social science.

Posted by: Pragmatist at June 15, 2008 8:09 PM

I think a lot of liberals don't really trust people to think for themselves or make independent decisions.I don't make this an across the board accusation,because there are Conservatives who are strangely similar.
Conservatives are less likely to fall for social engineering schemes or to initiate them in the first place.
the concept of a nanny state is definitely a liberal idea.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 15, 2008 8:19 PM

I don't know, Prag; there's some stiff competition for that measure. (Although perhaps it may be said, on evidence coincidingly provided, that conservatives are better able to recognize the fleeting bulge in smiling cheeks.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 15, 2008 8:19 PM


You mean like the Presidential IQ study 'hoax'? All you need to do is make Bush look bad as part of an assertion, no matter how ridiculous it is, and progressives will fall for it like lemmings fall over a cliff.

How many times have 'learned' studies been published asserting that liberals are smarter and better adjusted? This sort of thing is blatantly agenda driven from either side and its one reason why there is no such thing as either social 'science' or political 'science'.

Posted by: chuckR at June 15, 2008 8:25 PM

Joe Bernstein hit the nail on the head with "liberals don't really trust people to think for themselves or make independent decisions."

Is there a better description of the Public Employee Unions in RI?

Ah yes, a flock of spineless, simple-minded, frightened, whining little sheep, following blindly as their shepherd leads them to slaughter.

Posted by: George Elbow at June 15, 2008 9:20 PM

Hey Sammy,

Stop picking on Pat "I struggle with basic math" Crowley and his boss, Bob Walsh.

If you keep it up, you'll hurt their feelings and then they won't bless us with their participation.

Posted by: George Elbow at June 15, 2008 9:23 PM

I read this blog and then watched a PBS special on Pete Seeger and Woodie Guthrie, two communist, socialist, leftists; and their lives, and especially their music, put the lie to whatever it was that the Hoover institute was trying to infer from its statistics. They also led me to thinking that most of the great artists since the rise of the modern nation-state, Goya, Daumier, Picasso, et.al. were leftists.

It also called to mind another leftist, pinko artist, Victor Hugo, his character, Jean Valjean, thought about bread because he was hungry. He had to, his survival into the next day depended upon it. He was poor and not very happy. He was one of Les Miserables. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand never had to think about bread since she had all the cake she wanted whenever she wanted it. She was, until she met the guillotine, toujours gai.

There’s much more to the Hoover Institutes's statistics than the simplistic conclusions that you draw.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 15, 2008 9:25 PM

This study is quite debateable. But all I know from personal experience is, nothing angers a conservative more than a smiling liberal.
The smile can disarm nukes. :)

Posted by: rhody at June 15, 2008 11:09 PM

What irks me is that money, even private money went to fund a study on whether ‘conservatives’ are happier than ‘liberals’. That has even less value than finding which ketchup runs out of the bottle faster. Maybe, possibly in a culture where everything was not so polarized and partisan could such a study be done. And in that environment, there would be neither need nor interest in it. It’s as relevant as whether Red Sox fans have higher blood pressure than Yankee fans. The only outcome of this study is to have yet another source for simplistic rhetoric and partisan demagoguery as shown by both Justin and OTL. No persuasive material can come from this subject. Stop the madness.

Posted by: msteven at June 16, 2008 4:09 PM

Why do you accuse me of "simplistic rhetoric and partisan demagoguery"?
I point out Guthrie and Seeger as two well adjusted individuals who are very far left, and judging from their music relatively happy. Where is the simplistic rhetoric or demagogary in that? I don't see it.

Victor Hugo was cited as one example of many "leftists" who wrote about the miserable lot of the poor. Hugo was a socialist and an artist. Most artists are indeed leftists. Do you deny that? Where is the simplistic rhetoric or demagogary in that? I don't see it.

Is it simplistic to question the bias of the Hoover Institutes's statistics? I'd say it's the opposite.

Finally, please, please do not put OTL and what's his name in the same sentence.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 16, 2008 11:20 PM


The Hoover Institute did a study and based on the statistics, they came to the conclusion that on average, conservatives are happier than liberals. You respond by giving examples of people who were not conservatives yet were happy, successful and well adjusted. And you don’t see any simplistic rhetoric in that? You really believe that the existence of happy, well-adjusted liberals proves the results as a lie?

Maybe if you were able to think of it this way – assume the Hoover Institute came to the conclusion that liberals were happier and better adjusted than conservatives. You’d agree with that, wouldn’t you? And then Justin responded with names of people known as conservatives who were well adjusted and successful. Would you consider that a fair response?

As I stated, the whole study is silly to me. I can’t imagine any correlation between ‘happiness’ and political ideology not to mention the measure of something as subjective as happiness. Some truly evil people may well consider themselves happy and well adjusted.

I do agree with you that OTL and Justin’s name should not be both in the same sentence, but not for the same reason.

Posted by: msteven at June 17, 2008 12:32 PM

Thanks for agreeing about you know who and OTL. By all means keep your resolve and keep us very separate.

I guess extrapolation is too difficult for you, so I'll try to help. My point re: Seeger, Guthrie, et.al. is that music of the people, i.e., folk music and those people making political comment through song and popular culture are in the overwhelming majority, Leftists. Leave aside questions of content (we can argue them later)and contrast Stephen Colbert and Keith Olbermann with Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and look at the levity level of their respective shows - no contest. NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" has nothing like it on the Right. Sour dispositions cannot produce sweet comedy. So, what I'm attempting to get across to you is simple, "Are you going to believe your own senses and experience or a very questionable Hoover Institute study?

One more question for you, "How about recommending some popular right wing comics, entertainers and musicians. The list will be scant and the talent mediocre. The Left is even taking over from that traditional right wing strong hold, Country and Western. The Dixie Chicks have made their statement while the great Merle Haggard has departed Muskogee and has taken a left turn.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 18, 2008 11:05 PM


I guess interpretation is too difficult for you so I’ll try to help you. The fact that a majority of recording artists, movie stars and comedians are left has absolutely nothing to do with the results of the Hoover Institute, which was that on the average conservatives were happier than liberals. Zero. Nada.

But go ahead and argue since Keith Olbermann is wittier than Bill O’Reilly and the Dixie Chicks are popular and talented, that the study results must be incorrect.

My point is still that the study should not be taken seriously based on purpose alone. But clearly you disagree with that by your desperate attempts to discredit it.

Posted by: msteven at June 19, 2008 10:46 AM
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