Why Liberals Are More Likely to Be Unhappy People
Did you know that for all the projection you get from liberals about conservatives being angry, unhappy, bitter people, conservatives are actually happier than liberals? Don’t take it from me; take it from Arthur Brooks in the very liberal New York Times:
Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge. Many data sets show this. For example, the Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives. This pattern has persisted for decades. The question isn’t whether this is true, but why.
Now, there are a variety of theories that help explain why conservatives are happier. Could it be because percentage wise, more conservatives are married or religious? Arthur Brooks had something to say about that:
Whether religion and marriage should make people happy is a question you have to answer for yourself. But consider this: Fifty-two percent of married, religious, politically conservative people (with kids) are very happy — versus only 14 percent of single, secular, liberal people without kids.
He also added this, which many liberals may agree with:
An explanation for the happiness gap more congenial to liberals is that conservatives are simply inattentive to the misery of others. If they recognized the injustice in the world, they wouldn’t be so cheerful.
Is it that conservatives simply don’t see all the injustice in the world or could it be that conservatives do see it, but the attitude they have about that misery is different? Conservatives generally believe in making a better world, but they have very little faith that the government can make things better; they don’t believe you can make utopia here on earth and they have a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps philosophy. Charity? It’s a good thing and something that we should all strive to do, but it’s not owed to you. In other words, everybody has problems, but it’s your job to take care of YOUR problems. Are we all in this together? Sure, in a broad “We wish all fellow Americans well and will do what we can to create an atmosphere where they can succeed” sort of way, but if you fail or succeed at life, that’s on you as an individual, not society.
Liberals do not tend to look at things this way. In fact, they tend to politically approach life the way liberal comic book aficionado Seanbaby imagines that Superman must look at the world,
Superman has got to be jaded as hell. Besides the crap he has to put up with from Aquaman every day, he can hear the death screams of orphans for thousands of miles in every direction. That kind of thing would get to get to you. When I hear about dynamite ninjas blowing up the president, I don't feel guilty. There's nothing I could have done; I don't know how to defuse a ninja or even where the president lives. Not Superman. He can take every single obituary personally. He can go through the paper and say, "Let's see, this was the bus that fell off the bridge when I was in the bathroom... and here, I was playing ping pong when this family suffocated under tons of rubble... Oh! And I could barely get to sleep while this former skydiver was screaming for help! Ha ha ha!"
I'm surprised he even cares when the Trouble Alert goes off. I'd expect him to say, "Sorry your government building got shrink-rayed, Congressman, but I can hear a baby being circled by vampire hippos right now. Do you want me to let it get torn apart becau-- oh, there. It's dead. Good job, Congressman Selfish @sshole. How about you don't call again until there's a real emergency like poison ivy or a leg cramp?"
Liberals always seem to imagine that we’re a few steps away from Utopia and that only selfish conservatives are stopping us from getting there. Why, there’s always some poor doofus who desperately needs the help of a liberal to get ahead. If only we could make people realize they were keeping him down with their sexism, racism or ageism, that person could finally make it. If only we were all a little bit more obsessed with politics. If only we could get a few trillion dollars’ worth of new government programs in place and everybody were a little more sensitive, we’d be in Nirvana. Conservatives would argue that given the typical state of human civilization, THIS IS NIRVANA and that we’ll be lucky to even preserve our current level of success long term; that’s not an argument liberals seem to accept.
…….Which finally, nearly 800 words in, brings us to an article in Self magazine entitled “Yoga Should Address Social Justice, So I Want to Open My Own Studio.” Now, you may be thinking, “What does Yoga have to do with social justice?” Good question. That was what prompted me to read the article and find, what I think, is a great read-between-the-lines example of why so many liberals are not happy people. There are so many unintentionally revealing parts to it. For example:
I recognize that yoga in the Western world can be culturally appropriative, and I’ve had many an existential crisis about whether I, as a black southern American woman, should even be doing yoga, let alone thinking about teaching it.
She likes yoga, but she’s having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS about whether she should be doing it all. An EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. Over YOGA. I thought it would be fun to throw axes, so I bought some tomahawks and had a target built in my backyard. It never occurred to me as a conservative to wonder whether I should be having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS because I might be filching German – or is it Viking — culture? Who knows? I ate Chinese food on Friday. I don’t feel bad about that either, but I guess if I were liberal, that might have been the start of an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. The entire modern world is based on appropriating other cultures and given how interconnected we all are these days, other than perhaps some very isolated tribal cultures, appropriation is so common as to be almost universal. In fact, if you’re living in the Western world, it goes without saying that you are wholesale appropriating large amounts of Greek and Roman culture. So, why worry about it? Of course, there’s more…
But at first, finding a studio where I felt comfortable was no easy task. If you walk into a yoga class in the United States, you likely won’t see someone who looks like me. Over the years, I’ve dropped into many a yoga session to see a near unbroken sea of slender bodies, white skin, and expensive athletic wear.
I often wondered why there were not more black femmes participating in or leading the yoga classes that I attended. Then I began to see the barriers that prevented people who look and live like me from engaging in yoga. Yoga classes can be expensive, y’all! And childcare usually isn’t provided, which can make it doubly hard for parents to attend
I’ve also found that many teachers often use white, Western references that are inaccessible and isolating to those who aren’t privy to those cultural cues.
Those sure do seem like First World problems. The white people weren’t mean to her; it’s just that there were too many of them and she would have felt comfortable if there were more black people in the class. Uh….okay. Apparently, ONLY black Americans struggle to pay for things or find child care because… who knows. Then there are all those awful “white, Western references” which I assume are worse than Indian spiritual references that often go along with Yoga because… uhm, something. This all plays into the relatively new liberal idea that only black Americans can teach, understand and relate to black Americans. The very fact that there are too many white people in a YOGA CLASS of all places is a problem. This would be similar to going to an inner city Chicago basketball court and being upset that there aren’t a lot of white people shooting hoops, but let’s just go on.
Finally, in my experience, yoga instructors rarely acknowledge social and political happenings in the outside world....In the past few years, I have found it almost impossible to concentrate on happiness, love, and joy when yet another black person is being shot by police, immigrants are being rounded up in their own neighborhoods and deported, and the president of the United States is tweeting bigotry against transgender service members. Not talking often enough about these realities in a safer space like yoga is a disservice to the consciousness of the nation.
Wow, there’s so much to unpack here. First of all:
(In 2016), according to the Washington Post’s tally, just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million, were killed by the police. The year before, the number was 36. These figures are likely close to the number of black men struck by lightning in a given year… And they include cases where the shooting was justified, even if the person killed was unarmed.
There are actually more unarmed white men being shot by the police every year than black men being shot by the police. In any case, whether you’re talking about white or black men, it’s a very rare occurrence and most of the time the people being shot deserve it. In the rare cases where they don’t, the cops involved face a trial. As to illegal aliens being deported, that has been the law as long as anybody reading this has been alive. When it comes to transsexuals in the military, Obama put that in place on the way out the door and a lot of people didn't agree with it. Personally, as a conservative I think the police have gotten a bum rap, I don’t think we’ve done enough to get rid of illegal aliens, and I don’t believe transsexuals should be in the military, but it hasn’t stolen my happiness, love and joy. Life’s not perfect and it’s never going to be perfect, but it does go on.
Also, to a non-liberal, discussing these issues at yoga seems… STRANGE? People... well... I should say most people don’t come to yoga to talk about political issues. Trying to shoehorn political discussions into a yoga class seems like trying to shove politics into a cooking class, into the NFL or into the Oscars….oh wait. Liberals LOVE to try to turn every public activity into a political war zone where no one can just have a good time. Instead, everything has to be a vehicle for their ideology. Do you think that could lead to a lot of unnecessary conflict and arguing? Does that sort of political obsessiveness seem mentally healthy to anyone who’s not liberal? Then, to conclude:
That’s why my dream is to create a yoga studio of my own… This kind of opportunity can be especially important for black women like me. In her book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, Melissa Harris-Perry recognizes that black women “need sheltered, private space not available to public view. Because of their history as chattel slaves, their labor market participation as domestic workers, and their role as dependents in a punitive modern welfare state, black women in America… lack opportunities for accurate, affirming recognition of the self.” When I first read these words, I felt like they were plucked from my own heart. I, too, have struggled to find a private space to inquire about my personal identity without fear of the white heteronormative gaze.
As the owner of one of those white heteronormative gazes, I think the good news is that people are inherently concerned with their own business and they’re not thinking of you at all (or for that matter me or anyone else). The extent to which heterosexual white people are thinking of you is, “Wow, that’s a weird, depressing article she wrote” or alternately, “I wish that lady would stop vacantly staring at the lettuce while she mumbles about yoga. I need to get by her and get some avocados.” Being upset that you can’t find public “private spaces” where you can do yoga without the imaginary “judgey” gaze of straight white people looking at you seems like a lot of unnecessary self-inflicted pressure. If you enjoy yoga, just stop inserting all these oddball political issues into it and enjoy the yoga class. If you want to teach yoga, just teach the yoga class. If you want to run your own liberal, no-white-heteronormative-gazes-allowed yoga classes, give it a shot. In a place like New York City, that might even work and then you can shout “Viva la capitalism,” put some cash in your pocket and enjoy your success. When you make something this simple into something so complicated and fraught with unnecessary existential crises, it seems unlikely that it would lead to anything but misery.