The Happiness Gap

Patrick Ruffini has a very interesting piece that explores the contention that the Democratic Party is the party of the cranky. He notes that comparing polls on personal happiness and political factors seem to show that Republicans are significantly more happy than Democrats.

Anecdotally, this does seem to true. Look at the campaign theme of the Gore campaign in its waning months – "the people versus the powerful." Gore wanted to capitalize on the fears of the voters that there is some kind of cabal of evil special interests out to destroy America for their own purposes. (One of the ironies of the 2000 election was the campaign theme of Ralph Nader when he said "vote your conscience, not your fears" and then tried to capitalize on every leftist boogeyman they could.) The DNC constantly tries to capitalize on fear – fear of "evil Republicans" taking away Medicare, fear of losing Social Security, and fears about the environment. Strong pro-abortion activists are often the worst of the bunch, constantly using strong-arm scare tactics to keep voters from even thinking about voting Republican.

Now, to be fair, Republicans use scare tactics as well, but not nearly to the extent that the left does. In general, Republicans do tend to be more optimistic about the future, and surprisingly more trusting of government despite wanting less government overall. The Republican agenda is at its core, one of trust in the individual and the belief that the individual should be able to do whatever they wish. The Democratic agenda is one that believes that the people need the strong hand of government to keep them from the harms of the world.

Personally, I’m an optimist but a pragmatist. In general, I think things will get better rather than worse. The last century has seen the eradication of disease, the exploration of space, and incredible technological advance. I believe that protecting the rights of individual is the best way to ensure the general happiness. However, I’m a pragmatist in my belief that these factors will only continue as long as the Western civilization that spawned them is willing to defend them.

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