Wednesday Open Comments: Chicken or the Egg Liberalism?

Dennis Prager has an article  in the National Review Online about unhappy people and liberalism. From my perspective, I think he is right in making the observation that liberals tend to be angry, unhappy, or both. Being a victim tends to make one see the world through a bitter lens. Look at Al Sharpton, for example. Between him and Jesse Jackson, they keep racist victimhood alive, and their followers cannot see the great strides this country has made towards equality of the races. This sense of victimhood makes them feel better about themselves, because either (1) they care so much about others and empathize with their plight, or (2) they are victims and worthy of our pity and compassion. Either way, liberalism is a very self-centered ideology – but wait a minute, how can that be? Isn’t liberalism about how others feel??

But I believe Prager says it much better than I ever could:

Liberals respond this way: “If we’re unhappier, it’s because we are more upset than conservatives over the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

But common sense and data suggest other explanations.

What other explanations could there be?
For one thing, conservatives on the same socioeconomic level as liberals give more charity and volunteer more time than do liberals. And as regards the suffering of non-Americans, for at least half a century conservatives have been far more willing to sacrifice American treasure and American blood (often their own) for other nations’ liberty.

Both of these facts refute the liberals-are-more-concerned-about-others explanation for liberal unhappiness.

Ah, here comes the jist of it:

Perhaps we are posing the question backwards when we ask why liberals are less happy than conservatives. The question implies that liberalism causes unhappiness. And while this is true, it may be equally correct to say that unhappy people are more likely to adopt leftist positions.

Take black Americans, for example. It makes perfect sense that a black American who is essentially happy is going to be less attracted to the Left. Anyone who has interacted with black conservatives rarely encounters an angry, unhappy person.

Why?

Because the liberal view on race is that America is a racist society. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a black American must abandon liberalism in order to be a happy individual. It is very hard, if not impossible, to be a happy person while believing that society is out to hurt you. So, the unhappy black person will gravitate to liberalism and liberalism will in turn make him more unhappy by reinforcing his view that he is a victim.

But is that all there is to their unhappiness?

The unhappy gravitate toward the Left for a second reason. Life is hard for liberals and life is hard for conservatives. But conservatives assume that life will always be hard. Liberals, on the other hand, have utopian dreams. At his brother Robert’s funeral, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy recalled his brother saying: “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’”

Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky as to be born or naturalized an American.

There are more reasons, but you’ll just have to read the whole article. He ends with a marvelous suggestion:

There is an amazingly simple way to defeat the Left: Raise children who are grateful to be American, who don’t complain, who can handle losing, and who are guided by values, not feelings.

We have much to be thankful for, so have a fantabulous Thanksgiving to everyone – liberals and conservatives. But then, the conservatives will probably be happy and thankful anyway! :D

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48 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Comments: Chicken or the Egg Liberalism?

  1. Excellent article, instead of asking why lib’s are unhappy, why not ask why conservatives are happy? A simple answer of course is that conservatives, by not being perpetual victims, work to improve their lives, see successes. The resulting improvement creates their happiness.

  2. Coincidentally, the first op/ed I read in my morning rounds this morning was this lamentation from Richard Cohen. He’s wailing about Sarah Palin (what liberal doesn’t these days?) for mentioning Michele Obama’s infamous “For the first time in my life…” speech:

    It’s appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact – indeed so many facts of American history. They don’t offer the slightest hint that they can appreciate the history of the Obama family and that in Michelle’s case, her ancestors were slaves – Jim Robinson of South Carolina, her paternal great-great grandfather, being one. Even after they were freed they were consigned to peonage, second-class citizens, forbidden to vote in much of the South, dissuaded from doing so in some of the North, relegated to separate schools, restaurants, churches, hotels, waiting rooms of train stations, the back of the bus, the other side of the tracks, the mortuary, the cemetery and, if whites could manage it, heaven itself.

    It’s amazing how liberals can find new ways to be victims. Most of us don’t need a history lesson. I grew up in the deep South. I saw first hand the “Colored” water fountain at the Freezette (local burger joint with “curb service”). Michelle’s great-great grandfather was a slave? All the more reason why a black woman on the verge of becoming First Lady of the United States should have been proud of her country a long, long time ago. My grandfather (whom I actually knew) was a sharecropper. When I became the first person in my family to graduate from college I didn’t think, “I’m finally proud of my country”. I felt a sense of pride that a mere one generation removed from “working for the man” I was able to get a college education, with no government assistance, I might add.

    Why do politicians such as Palin and commentators such as Glenn Beck insist that African Americans go blank on their own history – as blank as apparently Palin and Beck are themselves?

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but probably 10 years ago now I was flipping through channels on a cold, rainy Saturday and came across a “Jeopardy”-style black history game show with black college kids on BET. Being “white” and having grown up in the Deep South where schools were segregated until I was in 7th grade I was amazed at what I knew. Had I been a contestant on the show I would have beat every single contestant. Palin and Beck don’t want anyone to go blank on their own history. But is it beneficial for black Americans to use that history to remain bitter victims, ignoring the enormous advances we’ve made?

  3. G’Morning all

    For those that didn’t see my quick IPhone post from the hospital yesterday, Dee came out fine. Thanks for all the knee mail.

    While she was still about halfway in lala land the surgeon got both of us together and said he wanted to go over the post-op directions so that she could heal properly. I asked him if could also throw in some directions for fetching.

    I told him that one of the things I was going to miss was rubbing her stomach. With a smile he replied that it would not preclude sex. I told him “No, no, I’m worried that when her lips are stretched tight over her teeth and she starts shaking her leg she might pull the stitches out.”

  4. I guess I don’t understand the mindset where something that happened to someone else long before I was born determines what happens to me here and now. My father’s family were dirt poor. My grandparents and the first 2 or 3 of my aunts & uncles lived in a dugout tent for several years. Later on, there were anywhere between 8 and 11 or 12 people living in a three “bedroom” house that was maybe 1,000 square feet with no indoor plumbing.

    All of them ended up doing well with their lives – some better than others, but miles above where they started.

  5. Hamous:
    This is never talked about.
    I come from many generations of slaves, my forefathers and mothers too, were considered property. They worked the land, toiled the fields and lived short miserable lives for generations. When the owners figured out there were more productive ways to make money from the land they were turned out. No place to go, their small crofts destroyed, no hope, no future. By the hundreds of thousands they were turned out by the owners.

    I have never heard a comment about reperations or even a sense of victimhood. It was the way things were then and they are different now. My forefathers got over it and created new lives. I’m sure many of you come from a similiar background. The Scottish and Irish peasants, serfs, or crofters were routinely kicked off the land so the lords could raise more sheep. The cities couldn’t absorb the thousands and the government eventually had to start shipping them overseas.

    African’s were enslaved for what? A couple of hundred years. My ancestors were slaves for centuries.

  6. Related topic: I despise affirmative action programs. My company is among those that have gone nutzoid to promote women into upper management. So of course any woman who gets promoted is immediately suspect. Are you here because you’re good, or because of the “Gender Balance” program?

  7. #2 Hamous

    When I became the first person in my family to graduate from college

    My mother was also the first in our family to graduate and became the teacher in the one room schoolhouse, which was not “integrated”, it was simply open to anyone (including adults) who wanted to learn. I posted some time ago that as I became older and started hearing about prejudice I had to find out what it meant. I discovered that I didn’t have any. We all grew up helping each other build houses, bring in crops and care for the sick. There was a local black man whose father was an original “freeman” and that was a grand honor to him. I don’t know if he was allowed to vote, but his opinions were listened to down at the feed store as much as anyone’s. Where did we (society) stray from that attitude?

  8. I’m done wasting time trying to figure out what motivates those idiots.

    Michael Savage nailed it, very shortly and simply:

    LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER.

  9. texanadian and Oletimer

    My family’s “compound” (four generations all lived next door to each other) was right next to this man’s massive ranch. I used to go fishing in the creek that ran through his ranch. Even in segregated Kissimmee he was well-respected among cattlemen.

    So how do we as a nation get to where one’s success or failure isn’t tied to what happened to their ancestors?

  10. Side note: I read or heard recently that the term ‘cracker’ was originally used to describe the cow hunters in Florida because of the whips noise. It has of course changed meaning since then.

  11. #9 Hamous
    I didn’t realize you were from Kissimmee. Dee’s family ranched in Cotulla, TX for generations until the drought in the late 40’s-early 50’s bellied them up. They went to Mexico fo several years on the hoof and mouth disease eradication program. He then became ranch manager on a 42 section ranch at Yeehaw Junction, right down the road from you. He was there from the 50’s on. til he retired and bought a small place in Alabama. Bet y’all were at auctions together or even rodeo-ed with some of the kids. Small world…………

  12. My grandfather’s family came from Sicily in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. I found my grandpa’s record on a passenger index, which indicated he arrived with a scar on one cheek and $20 in his pocket. My paternal family settled on Leeland Street and became a family of tailors and barbers. I know of one uncle that went to college. In my large family, there was no money for college, but since I had great grades, had been active in various school and church organizations and activities, had no police record, school disciplinary record, or pregnancies to my name, I received a full-ride scholarship. Yes, I’ve been told how “lucky” I am by various members of my family.

    If I hadn’t gotten my scholarship, I would have applied for student loans and grants and paid back what I owed.

    If I had been a liberal, I probably would have never made it to or through college. I had enough strikes against me – the greatest being from a rather poor family – that I could have easily been angry and bitter and not seen nor taken the opportunities available to me. Had I been the type to constantly blame others for my misfortunes, I don’t think my teacher would have selected me to apply for the private scholarship that put me through college.

    BTW, my teacher was Glenda Dawson. She taught me shorthand and business skills. She later became a state representative. I only found out that she had made that life change when I read her obituary in the paper. I’m sure that when she was growing up she never thought she’d have schools named after her. She was a great teacher and as close to a friend as a teacher can get.

  13. Difference between a liberal and a conservative….

    A Liberal judges a person by the color of their skin.

    A Coservative judges a person by the content of their actions.

  14. I am leaving soon to have a quick lunch with Lovely Daughter and Aggie Beau before they head out to his family’s place in north Texas. LD says the burgers at “Burger Guys” are AWESOME and I should come hungry. She also told me that you don’t mess with the recipes there or the cook will tell you off. Unless you are allergic, you eat what he makes or else. It kind of reminds of Tel-Wink Grill, where we eat breakfast sometimes. If the waiting line gets too long, the owner will blow a whistle and/or yell “Okay, newspaper readers – you gotta go!”

    I like places with ‘tude.

  15. I spent a lot of time in this old house when I was a kid. It was occupied by my two great aunts, and was the only place they had ever lived.

    I lived with my grandparents, uncle, mother, and brother in a smaller, house a couple hundred yards away. Legend has it that the old place was haunted by some of the folks who died there, but it was OK because they were all family.

    A handful of plantation homes still exist along Bayou Rapides. Many didn’t survive the Union occupation of the area, but these were farther away and west of town, so they didn’t bother with burning them when they left because they were were headed southeast.

  16. OletimerLin – Yup, from my mother’s side of the family I’m 7th generation Cracker. They were all from the Kissimmee-Kenansville-Holopaw triangle. Who owned the ranch Dee’s family managed? I haven’t been in decades but the Silver Spurs Rodeo was a big part of my childhood.

    Texanadian – Florida Crackers wear it as a badge of honor despite others attempting to make it a derogatory word.

  17. #18 Hamous

    The owner was Bob Harris out of Ft. Pierce, you probably wouldn’t know him. Dee’s father was Bandy Stewart. Her brother Bill was a pretty good roper and his wife Kay was a champion barrel racer. Our nephew, Bandy Murphy, too young for you to have known then, is presently a pro bull rider and 2 time world champion. He makes the Houston rodeo every year. Dee’s family had “split kids”, there is about 15 years difference between Dee, Bill, Mary Helen and the other 3 sisters, Reesa (not my Reesa-there’s 2 in the family), Amy Dell and Leslie. Amy Dell was also a super barrel racer.

  18. Florida and the Tel-Wink Grill

    Back around 1975, my friend Al Matthias was the A&R man for RCA in Texas. He invited me out to Gilley’s one Saturday night to hear and meet Gary Stewart who was at the peak of his popularity with “Out of Hand” and “I’ve Got This Drinkin’ Thing” released by RCA.

    After the show to a wild packed house, Al, Gary and I went over to the Tel-Wink Grill for breakfast. We sat there and ate and talked for 2 hours. Stewart, besides being a very warm and genuine guy, was one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life. He kept Al and I spewing our coffee with tears running down our faces. I’ve never forgotten that experience.

    Stewart was an amazingly talented songwriter and performer and favorite son of Florida, his home. Dickie Betts, Emmylou Harris, Duane and Greg Allman were all friends and fans. Once, when Tom Petty and Bob Dylan were touring in Florida, Dylan insisted they take a long drive over just to meet Gary Stewart. Dylan recorded a cover of Stewart’s “Ten Years of This”.

    RIP Gary

  19. Well North Korea is getting what it wants from the fools at the UN… They threaten war, and nuclear ambitions and they get this from the Secretary General

    Even as the world struggles to find workable ways to constrain North Korea’s expanding nuclear weapons program and unpredictable belligerence, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planning how to channel new streams of aid and development money to the dangerous regime

    All of this despite them thumbing their noses at the world

    While the world body claims that it operates on a “No Access-No Aid” principle when it comes to North Korea—meaning aid is not handed over unless the U.N. can directly verify it goes to the suffering people who are supposed to receive it—the document reveals that North Korea frequently does the opposite, “using the ‘No Aid-No Access’ principle.”

  20. #23 Whiskerfish: That was outstanding!! We will be having my inlaws over for Thanksgiving and we will all listen to that recording BEFORE we eat. It will serve to give us pause for reflection and should also deliver some spine to agitate for change.

  21. Read carefully this report of yesterday’s Ethics Committee hearing regarding the scandal surrounding Joe Straus, and see if you see the same problem I see:

    Hughes said under oath that Phillips told him that he didn’t need to worry about being drawn out of his district as long as he was on the list of Straus supporters. He said Phillips told him that he was working on maps and that plans were under way to target members who don’t support Straus.

    snip

    Phillips, who was not under oath, said he was not speaking during the call on behalf of Straus (who has called Hughes’ allegations “outrageous”).

    “Rep. Hughes’ statement is unequivocally false,” Phillips said. He added that he did not tell Hughes “that there was a plan to use redistricting to punish those who were not on Speaker Straus’ support list.”

    Kinda nice when the guy running the investigation is in your hip pocket, isn’t it?

  22. I’m flattered to have received an invite to one of my daughter’s long time friend’s 21st birthday shindig next week. It’s at a pool hall that serves alcohol, so it should be interesting to observe even though I’ll probably be the only older person there besides her parents.

    She’s one of the crew that used to frequently hang out at the 42 compound after school and clean out my pantry. I could tell some stories about some of the stuff they did in those days.

    I don’t see them as often these days since they’re all mobile, but some still drop by here often enough for me to appreciate observing them grow from teens seeking their boundaries, to young adults seeking their fortune in the world.

    This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to have been a small part of their lives, and someone they trusted to listen to them speak of things they might not have been comfortable discussing with their parents at any depth, like the time this young lady found her daddy’s stash. ;)

    Their journey is still only beginning, but I’m proud of their travels so far and increasingly confident that they’ll do fine.

  23. I am thankful that
    HE CAUSED HIS WORD TO BE WRITTEN DOWN so that I could learn how to behave properly, in HIS eyes, in my relationship towards him and towards my fellow man.
    HE REVEALED HIMSELF AS THE MESSIAH YESHUA
    HE CHOSE TO DIE TO BRING ME BACK INTO PROPER RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM

  24. #32. I’ve got a socialist sister-in-law from Argentina and my wife’s brother(both 3M supporters) that are coming to my home, sitting at my table and eating my food and they will hear it because I want my kids to hear it.

    I’ve already printed a copy to read from and called my wife and told her to expect it.

  25. Well, I’ve been real busy today but now I’m getting ready to fold up the tent. I just looked out in front or our building and 5 of my girls, (Does) are grazing in the front yard. :wink:

  26. I had lunch with LD and Aggie Beau. It was quick, but it was nice to spend a little time with the both of them before he whisked her away.

    Then I stopped by the grocery store. After I stepped inside, I remembered why I usually avoid the stores on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. The number of oblivious people blocking aisles was truly epic in its scope.

    I have picked up pecans. I had to stop when the weight of the bag was straining my neck and back. I gave a bag away Monday night, and now the laundry basket is full again. And there’s still a very large number of nuts still hangin’ in the tree. I’m hoping the front coming through this week will knock them down.

  27. Tom DeLay guilty on 2 counts. Wow. Deguerin better give him a refund, I thought for sure he’d walk.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  28. WHOA – a Shakira sighting!

    …………………calling the Earthquake Detection Center in the People’s Republic of Boulder…………………

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