As if to round off my last posting, this article in the New York Times suggests that conservatives are happier than liberals.
Arthur Brooks, of the American Enterprise Institute, cites a 2006 Pew Research study as definitive proof for the claim. According to Pew, "conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were 'very happy' about their lives." Apparently, that's been true for decades.
So, as far as Brooks is concerned, "The question isn’t whether this is true, but why."
One theory is that a conservative lifestyle -- characterized by marriage and faith -- accounts for the difference. Indeed, surveys show that married people are happier than the unmarried. And conservatives are more likely to be married than liberals (53% versus 33%).
Furthermore, conservatives are four times as likely to be religiously observant, and believers are twice as likely to be happy.
But to me, the most interesting finding Brooks unearthed is the following: "The happiest Americans are those who say they are either 'extremely conservative' (48 percent very happy) or 'extremely liberal' (35 percent). Everyone else is less happy, with the nadir at dead-center 'moderate' (26 percent)."
Apparently, knowing that you've got things figured out and everyone else is out of step is one of the keys to happiness.