New Study: Conservatives are Happier Because They Hate Everyone

By: Warner Todd Huston

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.

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.

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