A new Pew Research Center survey shows that Republicans as a group are happier than Democrats. And this is not, as some might assume, because Republican are wealthier than Democrats (one need only look to Hollywood to see that money does not always equate with Republican Party identity). Adjusting for income, Republicans, whether rich or poor, were happier than their economic counterparts in the other party.
I’m not surprised. Being a Republican means having a clear set of values devoid of the moral relativity that plagues the Democrats. When you fail to have a clear concept of good and bad or right and wrong, it can leave you ungrounded and unsure. You have no touchstone on which to rely, no way to assess the merit or worth of anything. If there is no clear better or worse, then how do you know if you’ve achieved a satisfying result? How can you ever be happy if there is nothing you value as superior to something else? If everything is relative, then nothing is special.
This is why having a leader who represents Democratic Party values is a mistake. If you believe that Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Il-Sung are merely friends we haven’t yet made, you don’t understand friendship. If Benjamin Netanyahu and Gordon Brown are not more important to you than the Castros, then you have no clear cut values. If everyone is treated the same, with no accounting for their character and behavior, then we have moral chaos. This is not the road to peace, it’s a path to our own destruction.
Republicans tend to believe in the inherent ability and value of each person and to trust that people can achieve if they are free to do so. Democrats view people as victims of some wrong or another who need to be taken care of and shown what to do. This is why the Democratic Party proposes the golden handcuffs that come with the welfare state. They don’t want to see individual achievement; they want to have their hand in whatever anyone accomplishes. They need to justify their existence and their continuing control over our daily lives.
The Democrats love the story of Robin Hood and have taken it upon themselves to take from the rich and give to the poor, in some twisted notion of nobility. In reality, they are trying to make the successful feel guilty about their success and the unfortunate believe that their situation is beyond their control and they own the government their very life. This is a dysfunctional relationship that any therapist would encourage you to run from – but it is the basic economic and social platform of the Democrats.
Republicans have no trouble prioritizing, Democrats cannot choose. Republicans put their country first and their family first. Democrats think this is arrogant, biased and uncaring – we should treat all nations, all people the same. It must be hard to figure out if you’re happy or not if you don’t consider one thing more important than another.
Despite the campaign rhetoric from last year, it is the Republicans who believe in hope, the Democrats who believe in doom and gloom. The Democrats ignore any evidence that the world is not coming to an end – scientific studies that dispute the global warming hysteria, for example. The more diseases we get a handle on, the more new threats the Democrats raise (high fructose corn syrup follows second-hand smoke as the scourge of the world). Carbon emissions! Saturated Fats! There’s a new calamity just around the corner for the Democrats.
Republicans aren’t putting their heads in the sand, but they are willing to be satisfied. Republicans can be content, without being complacent. We can appreciate the good, without ignoring the bad. But it takes discernment and a willingness to make value judgments to do that. So, if the Republican Party is on its way out as many in the media are saying, does that mean that happiness is also endangered?
If you see yourself as an optimistic person, with clear values and morals, and you’re not yet a Republican, maybe you should rethink that decision. You might find some happiness here.