Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2006 / 30 Shevat, 5766

Michael Medved

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Consumer Reports

The secret of the ‘happiness gap’ | A major study for Pew Research Center echoes results of 30 years of previous surveys, showing that conservatives as vastly more likely than liberals to describe themselves as "very happy".

Part of this "happiness gap" stems from personal and economic status — conservatives are more frequently prosperous, married, and regular churchgoers — but even when controlling for these factors, a conservative outlook still contributes to personal happiness.

For instance, poor conservatives are happier than poor liberals, and single Republicans are happier than single Democrats. I would argue this gap reflects the different way conservatives and liberals channel the fundamental instinct to alter reality.

All people feel the impulse to use their G-d-like power to change things, but conservatives emphasize changing themselves while liberals focus on changing the world.

Since it's far more possible to change your own world, than to change society at large, conservatives are more likely to feel a sense of happiness, satisfaction and optimism.

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Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life  

Michael Medved has taken an extraordinary journey from liberal activist to outspoken conservative. Along the way he has earned millions of admirers — and more than his share of enemies — by advancing controversial, often counterintuitive arguments. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor, author and film critic Michael Medved hosts a daily three-hour radio talk show broadcast in more than 120 cities throughout the United States. Comment by clicking here.

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