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Happiness poll results are in
March 16, 2006 9:21 AM   Subscribe

The happiness poll results are in and to no one's surprise, rich people are happier than poor people. Also, Republicans are happier than Democrats.
posted by mr_crash_davis (65 comments total)

 
/me does happy dance
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2006


This just in: IGNORANCE IS BLISS.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2006


w-g p wins
posted by wakko at 9:27 AM on March 16, 2006


Interesting results... though I hope people dont interpret this as a justification for being republican. Ignorance is bliss is probably a more telling explanation.
posted by mert at 9:31 AM on March 16, 2006


This goes well with this link from yesterday.
posted by mystyk at 9:32 AM on March 16, 2006


Children with Down's Syndrome by and large have sunnier dispositions than non-afflicted children.
posted by psmealey at 9:33 AM on March 16, 2006


weapons-grade pandemonium : "This just in: IGNORANCE IS BLISS."

Ack! Why did you say that???
posted by daksya at 9:33 AM on March 16, 2006


Metafilter makes me happy.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:34 AM on March 16, 2006


:: deeply entranced by S_O_L's dance::

What about independents? Liberatarians? Socialists? Friends of Beer?
posted by drezdn at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2006


Liberatarians are always angry about something, usually that they still have to pay taxes despite not using roads.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on March 16, 2006


more often, stupid one-off statements like that.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:38 AM on March 16, 2006


If I were happy I would have to reload my mp3 player with new music. I am not prepared to do that.
posted by srboisvert at 9:52 AM on March 16, 2006


If only happiness were truly quantifiable.
posted by stevis at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2006


Republicans are happy because they are either rich or they are zombies for The Lord.

But I'm confused-- I listened to talk radio yesterday afternnon and the republicans sounded very angry.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2006


If I were happy I would have to reload my mp3 player with new music. I am not prepared to do that.

haha.
posted by delmoi at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2006


The phrase "money can't buy happiness" was invented by retired people who were very happy while they spent that money, but were sad when it was all gone and there was nothing else left.

Also: conservative ideology tells us that we're the best culture in the world, we're all getting richer, freedom is on the march, etc., and that our own happiness is down to our own personal actions. Liberal ideology tells us to trust government to look after our happiness (which it will do with the competence and efficiency you can expect from the government), that the world is getting a dirtier, deadlier place and we all need to stop doing fun things so that we can postpone the inevitable end of civilisation for another 15 years.

(Apologies for the crude generalizations here, but I don't think that's too far off the mark).
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:04 AM on March 16, 2006


So, this proves that, among people who choose to answer phone polls, those who identify as being republican or religious are more likely to claim they are happy. (Republicans are more likley to lie?)

I can just imagine what would happen if the phone poll takers had called me.

"Sir, would you consider yourself to be happy?"
"Well, I was until you called."
"How happy would you say you are?"
"Four."
posted by Durhey at 10:06 AM on March 16, 2006


You can be right, or you can be happy.
posted by gallois at 10:07 AM on March 16, 2006


The statistical methodology was a little annoying -- there are better ways of "controlling for income" than breaking the data down into income blocks. Also, since the release suggested religiosity might be one reason for the Republican happiness advantage, they should have tried controlling for religiosity in the party comparison, but they didn't.

(love the SCIENCE tag)
posted by grobstein at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2006


I'm reminded of the story of the old Jewish man in the Soviet Union who always read the official Communist Party newspapers. When asked why, he replied, "When I read the Yiddish papers, all I see are stories about shortages, corruption, oppression. But when I read the Party newspapers, I find out that we Jews control all the banks, command the arts, teach our ways to children everywhere... I feel much better!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:12 AM on March 16, 2006


Republicans are happy because they are either rich or they are zombies for The Lord.

OR... neither.
posted by Witty at 10:12 AM on March 16, 2006


If I may put forth, and specifically in reference to feeling comfortable with republicanism in this administration, that it may be more disingenuous than mere "ignorance is bliss."

I think to be comfortable as a republican today means to be somewhat disassociated with your real self. The preoccupation with character assassination really sort of requires you to say that you are happy.

I think what I mean to say is: If you're trying to prescribe a "way" you have to sell it. The proselytization inherent requires disingenousness.
posted by birdie birdington at 10:14 AM on March 16, 2006


I think to be comfortable as a republican today means to be somewhat disassociated with your real self.

All the traditional non-religious signifiers of conservative ideology have lost their signification among Republicans.

Things like free trade, responsible governance, sane spending, personal responsibilty, liberty, lower taxes, etc. are just words to throw around. They don't connect with what the Republican party's actions anymore.

I think a lot of the religious signifiers have lost their meaning too, but that's really a broader issue.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:21 AM on March 16, 2006


I'm surprised to see that pet owners are not happier then non-pet owners. Interaction with our pets is a big part of our life. My husband is always imitating them, making jokes about them, speculating on their thoughts. I walk the dog and cuddle with the cats. We could be happy without our pets but they add so much to our daily routine.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2006


In related news, slave owners poll at 85% for Really Really Happy.
posted by birdie birdington at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2006


I hear Pol Pot was a pretty cheerful fellow.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:37 AM on March 16, 2006


Wasn't there an FPP the other day about a Nazi woman who described her years as a concentration camp guard as the "happiest years" of her life?
posted by orthogonality at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2006


Or the converse.
Happiness is stupid.
Comfort murders passion and walks grinning in the funeral.
Off to splice the mainbrace!
posted by zoinks at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2006


>Republicans are happy because they are either rich or they are zombies for The Lord.

OR... neither.


You don't mean that, papist. You eat Jesus's body in cracker form. You know who else eats people? Zombies.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2006



posted by matteo at 10:52 AM on March 16, 2006


This is exactly what I'm talking about.

As for the $781 billion increase in the debt limit, Grassley said: "It is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the federal government."

So, they illegally allocate more money than their own self-imposed limits allow and "preserving the full faith and credit of the federal government" entails, not backing up and spending halfway responsibly, but changing the rules to make what they've already done legal.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:55 AM on March 16, 2006


Bah, HUMBUG!
posted by Drexen at 10:55 AM on March 16, 2006


You know who else ate people? That's right! Jolly old Idi Amin!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:57 AM on March 16, 2006


sonofsamiam has it right.

Radical Right-Wing Republicans have hijacked the party's agenda away from what was once the conservative base. Smaller government? No, a massive increase of Presidential powers. Fiscal responsibility? No, record-breaking deficits.

Dick Cheney: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."

Except that they do, Dick. To service the debt the U.S. is forced to borrow even more money, which increases foreign ownership of U.S. assets, leaving the economic wellbeing of the U.S. vulnerable to the whims of foreign leaders. Do we really want the economic future of the United States to be dictated by China?

Republicans need to ditch the agenda of the Radical Right, return to their conservative roots and get back in touch with the American Mainstream.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2006


Republicans is ignunt, and therefore, happier.
posted by bigtex at 11:04 AM on March 16, 2006


Do we really want the economic future of the United States to be dictated by China?

It's actually too late to ask that question. They've already won. I, for one, do not salute our new Chinese overlords.

Our manufacturing economy was exported, and we became a service economy. Now that service has more or less been exported, so what is left?

Information economy? Not with our failing educational system. The solution would be to fund education and new small businesses, if it weren't too late. But maybe it's not. Either way, education and small business development aren't going to get funded by the current administration. They'll strip money from education and give it to big, old businesses.

It's not that they're incapable of seeing what's going on, it's that they don't care. By the time it's all said and done, they'll still be rich enough that it won't matter (to them) who runs the world.
posted by bigtex at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2006


I think a lot of Republicans would agree that in general, they have a narrative about their lives and their country that is simpler than that of Democrats'--work hard, and you will succeed, because you live in a country that gives you the freedom to do so. There's nothing inherently wrong with this notion, but IMHO it does tend to lead to willful ignorance on a number of levels. So no, Republicans ain't ignorant. They manage to get a lot done while casting a blind eye to certain things, and there's a bit of a virtue in that. But a little understanding of structuralism certainly couldn't hurt, would it? Just don't swallow too much of it and paralyze yourself in the face of life's utter complexity, like many Dems have done.
posted by bardic at 11:16 AM on March 16, 2006


Recent observations show that Republicans tend to lie continually and without much provocation. In this case it may be similar to my 82 year old mother-in-law who is dying but if you ask her, "everything is fine".
posted by pointilist at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2006


I would wonder what the liberals on metafilter would say if the survey had indicated the opposite and said that democrats were happier.

Thirty posts stating that ignorance equals happiness?

Somehow I think not.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 11:28 AM on March 16, 2006


I would wonder what the liberals on metafilter would say if the survey had indicated the opposite and said that democrats were happier.

Uh, I dunno. That you were WRONG??
posted by psmealey at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2006


Because then it would not be true.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2006


America will continue to pre-emptively attack its enemies and Iran is now the greatest danger facing the United States, George Bush announced today in a new version of his "National Security Strategy".

Whatever makes him happy, I guess.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2006


So glad I am past draft age.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:37 AM on March 16, 2006


So glad I am past draft age

Don't be too sure about that.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2006


I would wonder what the liberals on metafilter would say if the survey had indicated the opposite and said that democrats were happier.

I like to think they'd be saying If only happiness were truly quantifiable and that trying to quantify it on the macro level, or societally, is philosophically bankrupt, maybe in the form of metaphor like: I hear Pol Pot was a pretty cheerful fellow or Wasn't there an FPP the other day about a Nazi woman who described her years as a concentration camp guard as the "happiest years" of her life?
posted by birdie birdington at 11:51 AM on March 16, 2006


Or you could take the Pol Pot line as a joke, as it was intended. I also mentioned that Idi Amin ate people, which I don't think this administration has been accused of yet. Although I'm pretty sure Alferd Packer was a Republican.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:57 AM on March 16, 2006


So was Ted Bundy. Though, I'm not sure he actually ate anyone.
posted by psmealey at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2006


Has anybody actually done a study of the political views of psychopathic serial killers in America? I'm quite curious.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2006


They're only truly happy when the rest of us are sad.
posted by maryh at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2006


Related, from Slate's resident feminist:

Desperate Feminist Wives: Why wanting equality makes women unhappy.
posted by dgaicun at 12:27 PM on March 16, 2006


"Republicans are happy because they are either rich..."

Woo Hoo!

Actually, it’s probably because they masterbate more.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:27 PM on March 16, 2006


“or they are zombies for The Lord.”

“For in much wisdom is much vexation; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” 
- Ecclesiastes 1:18

Couldn’t resist that.

I don’t actually think democrats are wise or wiser. Oppression might lend itself to a clearer perspective, but it doesn’t endow the oppressed with any particular nobility or wisdom.

Simply: there is no need to bribe a man who isn’t in power.

And, it seems, they ignored the independants. Typical.

hoverboards don't work on water - since you qualified it I won’t argue your points, but your terms I disagree with slightly.
I’d use ‘Republican party line’ where you use ‘conservative ideology’ and ‘Democratic party line’ for ‘liberal ideology’.
I think actual conservative ideology lends itself more to a sense of order, stability, tradition and a sense of purpose.
I believe liberal ideology while more open to change lacks that sense of continuity and purpose and as a result fosters a sense of uncertainty.

But those are subjective arguments. Matters of taste based on general perceptions. I prefer conservativism for a variety of other principled reasons, but those are the touchy feely points of it for me.

But in general (given the above terms) I’d agree with you.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:39 PM on March 16, 2006


Also: conservative ideology tells us that we're the best culture in the world, we're all getting richer, freedom is on the march, etc., and that our own happiness is down to our own personal actions. Liberal ideology tells us to trust government to look after our happiness (which it will do with the competence and efficiency you can expect from the government), that the world is getting a dirtier, deadlier place and we all need to stop doing fun things so that we can postpone the inevitable end of civilisation for another 15 years.

Liberal ideology tells us to have concern for the poor and hungry. Conservative ideology tells us that it's their fault that they're poor and hungry, so fuck 'em. It's not ignorance is bliss, it's more like selfishness is bliss.
posted by obvious at 1:18 PM on March 16, 2006


“Conservative ideology tells us that it's their fault that they're poor and hungry, so fuck 'em”

Yeah,’cause that’s what Edmund Burke meant when he said the standard for anyone in governance should be “a disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve.”

I thought I framed the difference between the dispute in usage (in the term conservative et.al.) and the philosophical ideology rather nicely. Guess not.

Personally I just don’t like knee jerk ideologues trying to kick society into the shape they want it, because there are always unintended consequences (sorta like the story where you get a cat to rid you of mice, you get a dog to get rid of the cat, you get a lion to rid you of the dogs, you get elephants to get rid of the lions, you get mice to rid you of the elephants, etc.) so I like change to happen from the grassroots up.

Don’t know how that translates into saying “fuck ‘em.” But if you’re referring to certain elements in the Republican party who are smug rich assholes, then yeah. Duh. There are limosine liberals as well.
So what’s your point?

/would this be that rabid MeFi Liberal Brigade™ I keep hearing about?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on March 16, 2006


More like the League of Liberal Anklebiters. If that's the best description of the liberal/conservative traditions someone can muster, they're not worth responding to.

All these members who keep whining about LeftFi seem to take that kind of thing personally, though. Maybe those kinds of critiques hit them a little closer to home.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:48 PM on March 16, 2006


“Maybe those kinds of critiques hit them a little closer to home.”

...you’re saying just because I have sex with dogs?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:14 PM on March 16, 2006


I didn't mean you, Smedley. I never hear you whining about the liberal bias endemic and rampant and so forth.

Probably because we're communicating in a purely textual medium.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:17 PM on March 16, 2006


At which point will the "fuck 'em they deserve it" of current right wing thinking become accepted as supersceding the "small government", "personal responsibility" of previous right wing thinking?

See also, New Labour in the UK.

Or in other words, when does the GOP become the party of smug rich arseholes (see also New Labour in the UK).
posted by fullerine at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2006


So the dog thing is ok then? Cool.
/I’m a Rin Tin Republican.


//for the FBI: it’s just jokes, baby.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2006


I would assume one is a liberal because they think that things are not right. One is a conservative because they believe that things are fine. The religious part of the results confirms the suggestive powers of religion and self-reporting happiness, and relate to the conservative stats. My experience among the churched, in Utah, is that Mormons would answer with near perfect happiness, and credit their religious conservatism too, while not being able to deny that their state ingests twice the national average in anti-depressants.
posted by Brian B. at 3:21 PM on March 16, 2006


How come Republicans complain the most then? :) I think metafilter is a place of happiness....and I doubt you can call it Republican.
posted by narebuc at 3:51 PM on March 16, 2006


How come Republicans complain the most then? :) I think metafilter is a place of happiness....and I doubt you can call it Republican.

Seriously, you must be reading a different metafilter. Metafilter is one giant complaint, full of 'the world is ending' rhetoric, and it is not conservative. I'll let others give the whys and hows.
posted by justgary at 4:01 PM on March 16, 2006


Kevin Phillips isn't happy.
posted by homunculus at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2006


So smedleyman is a Santorum Republican we see! :-) You man on doggerel bad boy!

And if Edmund Burke said that he must have been an Amurika hatin', Saddam lovin', hippie, commie, stinkin' liberal. Or at least any Defender of Dubya would tell you so.
posted by nofundy at 5:35 AM on March 17, 2006


from the article: "Pet owners are no happier than those without pets.

Which comes as no surprise to this dog owner who curses a youthful love of dogs every morning at 6:30 am.
posted by illovich at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2006


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