Our Dystopian Nightmare

Happy vs Sad Man Holding Pictures

I am going to admit that I spend as little time as possible with liberals, I did not know why until I did some soul searching about whether I should.  I have no problems with diversity of opinions and will often discuss the most mundane or obscure topics with about anyone.  So why is it that I know or care to know so few liberals?

Growing Up in the 1960’s

Growing up in the 1960’s I watched as many in my age group protested the Vietnam War, politics, school, racial issues, and a host of other topics.  For sure some of these brought about change that was helpful.  But the protests also created a permanent divide in our society between those who always see themselves as victims, and those who take control of their lives and refuse to view life through a victimization lens.  From my perspective the Greatest Generation never looked on themselves as victims, only as victors over evil on the world stage.  How so many of their children arrived at that divergence in view is still a mystery to me.

I am also convinced that much of the conflict we see today comes from this same group of malcontents, and in some cases the misery they shared with their children.  Having failed in the 1960’s to create a Utopian world, this is their last dying gasp at destroying the underpinnings of our nation.  With no Utopian world on the horizon, they have now settled on a Dystopian world.  Malcontents and anarchists do not go quietly, but eventually they do go drugged out singing Kumbaya and Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore.

Herding Instinct

With more thought and reflection, I have decided that I do not know many Democrats on purpose.  Most people have some form of herding instinct where they associate with or live with people with like interests and views.  Life is just easier when you spend time with people with similar interests and world views.

We see herding instinct played out daily in everything from the stock market, social clubs, churches, and schools.  Any situation where people can choose who to be with and what to do, they will often opt for association with those who have shared values and interests.

This is not uniquely conservative, racial, political, religious, or geographical.  Liberals also herd together to share their beliefs about misery and victimization.  Over time we slowly migrate to environments where we spend our time with likeminded people and less stress.  Shared values create harmony and just an easier lifestyle.  Spending time with friends avoids a lot of anguish, but it also can lead to a skewed view of the world.  Or does it?

A Dystopian View

A dystopian view of the world is defined by Webster and others as:

A futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control.

A person who imagines or foresees a state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.

Liberals have more of a dystopian perspective on most topics, much more so than conservatives.  They are often looking for the creature under the bed, the boogieman in the closet, the evil corporation, and reasons for their failures outside of themselves.  Liberals are continually looking for the reason they are being oppressed, a hangover from the 1960’s.  And despite all current and historical evidence to the contrary, they seem to believe that government has the collective wisdom to solve these issues.

Conservatives can be dystopian in their outlook when it comes to government and a shift to loss of personal liberty and totalitarianism.  We do worry about technology and the potential abuses from the NSA, Artificial Intelligence, and Government oversight.  But in a strange twist of fate, it is this little bit of paranoia that defines them as less dystopian than liberals.  Their concerns are aimed more at staying a free and open society, control over government, and less at victimization.  But is there any research about these differences?  Yes.

The Pew Research Center Study

In a Pew Research Center study titled Republicans: Still Happy Campers, author Paul Taylor summarizes their findings with these points.  (Their terminology uses Republicans and Democrats, but the conservative versus liberal observations still holds true).

Republicans tend to be happier for several reasons, all recognizable in today’s discussions and conflicts.  Republicans are happier because:

  • They have more money.
  • They have more friends.
  • They are more religious.
  • They are healthier.
  • They are more likely to be married.
  • They like their communities better.
  • They like their jobs more.
  • They are more satisfied with their family life.
  • They like the weather better.
  • They have fewer financial worries.
  • They’re more likely to see themselves doing better in life than their parents did.
  • They’re more likely to feel that individuals – rather than outside forces – control their own success or failure.

According to their research, when you examine what makes people happier ranked in order were health, church attendance, income, being older than sixty-four, marriage, and political party affiliation.  Of no importance in happiness were educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and gender, all key platform issues for Democrats.

Republicans are also more likely to believe they are better off than their parents, and slightly more inclined to believe there will be opportunity for their children.  In all income categories Republicans were more inclined to believe that success comes from within, not from outside forces.  At all income levels they believe that hard work and ambition are the keys to financial success.  According to the Pew study.  Democrats tend to believe success comes from connections rather than hard work.  The truth is that connections may help you get a foot in the door, but once you are there, hard work and personal accountability are the path to success for most.

Herding Becomes Clear

Now I know why I associate primarily with Republicans/Conservatives.  We believe in family, hard work, religion, and marriage.  We believe that when you wake up in the morning you are responsible for your success or failure on that day.  You can choose to be a victim of the world, or a person who changes the world.  We understand that we live in a Country where opportunity is still available for those who work for it.  Our world is more Utopian than Dystopian, and it is a better world than liberals can imagine.

Resources Used In This Article

About Pew Research Center, pewresearch.org, Last accessed August 8, 2023.

Republicans: Still Happy Campers, by Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center, pewresearch.org, 2008.