Conservatives: Happier than liberals?

Read this.

It’s obvious that there is a background assumption at work here: conservatives may be happier, but it’s only because they live in denial-induced ignorant bliss, selfishly ignoring the plight of those less fortunate.

When I was a young man, I was a liberal. Why? I thought that the liberals were the compassionate ones-those who were looking out for others and not simply living for themselves. I bought into this background assumption. But several things have led me to change my views over the years:

• Happiness is largely a choice-a choice to partner with God to address the things you can, and a choice to trust God in the things you can’t control. Can I be happy despite the fact that I teach all day in a classroom filled with wounded, hurting kids who are unaware of the pitfalls they are falling into? Absolutely, because I am trying to partner with God to address it, but at the same time trying not to take responsibility for things that are beyond my reach. But I know they are not beyond His reach. Happiness cannot be found in our circumstances, but I believe only in relationship with the Lord

• Governments are effective in using the coercive power, the power of the sword (Romans 13:3-4). Scripture does not suggest that governments act as agencies of compassion. Government bureaucrats do not love, they administer. The redistribution of wealth that we call compassion is hardly compassionate. It fails to recognize the causes of poverty, creates dependency, and punishes economic success. A loving response to poverty is to treat each individual as a unique case and to address their specific issues, e.g. addiction, job training, counseling, etc. Governments cannot make the loving distinctions necessary to practice true compassion (also an argument for why governments should probably not be in the business of education either). Churches, charities, families-these are the instruments of compassion. Recent research has shown that conservatives give far more money to charities, no doubt partly due to this perspective. And, of course, being involved in giving also makes us happier.

• In my opinion, liberals have become overly focused on economics, as was Marx. Marx’s father converted from Judaism to the Lutheran Church in order to benefit his law practice. What did young Karl Marx learn? It’s all about the money. Faith, moral values, character-these are red herrings, the opiates of the people so the upper class can control and manipulate them. Jesus understood things differently. He said that the poor will always be with us. What makes life meaningful is living in the Kingdom of God, not whether or not we are rich or poor.

• Government welfare programs treat poverty like we treat a cold—we can’t address the root causes, so we mask the symptoms. Research also shows that the best antipoverty measure ever invented is a loving father in the home. Fatherlessness through out of wedlock births and divorce are the main causes of poverty among Americans. A government check is not going to address that. Jesus, through a born again heart, can.

There is more to say about how free markets are the best anti-poverty measures governments can pursue, about how much of the reason we have large numbers below the poverty line is due to the very high level of immigration since 1965 (most immigrant families who are poor don’t remain so in the second generation, but their number in the ranks of the poor are replenished by new immigrants), and how the “poor” in our country are rich compared to the poor in others. Developing these argument may be for another post in the future, but I want to get back to my advice series, so probably not. =)

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1 Comment

  1. george bush

     /  June 15, 2010

    When will you grow up and realize that the entire liberal/conservative game is merely an illusion. The US government has lied and tortured its way to the top and plans to stay there. Regardless of who you vote for, you support the same team. You claim to be on the righteous path of God, yet it blinds you from the truth.You are weak and will never stand for truth by allowing the injustices of our government to continue.

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