George Orwell once wrote that politics was closely related to social identity. 'One sometimes gets the impression,' he wrote in The Road To Wigan Pier, 'that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England'.
Orwell was making an observation. But today a whole body of academic research shows he was correct: your politics influence the manner in which you live your life. And the news is not so good for those on the political Left.
There is plenty of data that shows that Right-wingers are happier, more generous to charities, less likely to commit suicide - and even hug their children more than those on the Left.
In my experience, they are also more honest, friendly and well-adjusted.
Much of this springs from the destructive influence of modern liberal ideas.
In the Sixties, we saw the beginning of a narcissism and self-absorption that gripped the Left and has not let go.
The full-scale embrace of the importance of self-awareness, self-discovery and being 'true' to oneself, along with the idea that the State should care for the less fortunate, has created a swathe of Left-wing people who want to outsource their obligations to others.
The statistics I base this on come from the General Social Survey, America's premier social research database, but they are just as relevant to the UK, as I believe political belief systems drive one's attitudes, regardless of where you happen to live.
Those surveyed were asked: 'Is it your obligation to care for a seriously injured/ill spouse or parent, or should you give care only if you really want to?' Of those describing themselves as 'conservative', 71 per cent said it was. Only 46 per cent of those on the Left agreed.
To the question: 'Do you get happiness by putting someone else's happiness ahead of your own?', 55 per cent of those who said they were 'very conservative' said Yes, compared with 20 per cent of those who were 'very liberal'. ...
Many on the Left proudly proclaim themselves 'child-free'. While some do not want children on ecological grounds, much has to do with the fact that they simply don't want the responsibility of having a child.
When asked by the World Values Survey whether parents should sacrifice their own well-being for those of their children, those on the Left were nearly twice as likely to say No. ...
Most surprising of all is reputable research showing those on the Left are more interested in money than Right-wingers.
Both the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey reveal Left-wingers are more likely to rate 'high income' as an important factor in choosing a job, more likely to say 'after good health, money is the most important thing', and agree with the statement 'there are no right or wrong ways to make money' ...
As John Maynard Keynes reminds us: 'The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and wrong, are more powerful than commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.' Or, as the American theorist Richard Weaver once declared: 'Ideas have consequences.'
And it seems that today modern progressive ideas can often bring out the worst in people.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Conservatives Are Nicer