At least according to a piece in today’s New York Times by Arthur C. Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute. Brooks argues that the stereotype of the angry, frustrated conservative–Adorno’s warped “authoritarian personality”–doesn’t match American reality.
In fact, Brooks’ review of survey data concludes that the happiest Americans of all are those who identify themselves as extreme conservatives. Why so? Brooks ventures a guess:
One possibility is that extremists have the whole world figured out, and sorted into good guys and bad guys. They have the security of knowing what’s wrong, and whom to fight. They are the happy warriors.
But conservatives in general tend to be happier than liberals, Brooks notes. There may be simple, obvious explanations. For instance, stable marriages and religious faith tend to add to general happiness, statistically speaking. And conservatives tend to be more married and more religious than their liberal counterparts.
So, all my fellow outsiders in Fundamentalist America, the next time you need to go to your happy place, try a trip to Fundamentalist America!