Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mental health and politics

Since Chris Evans garnered a ridiculous amount of attention for his risible hoax entitled "IQ and Politics", why not try to garner some partisan acclaim by pointing out that red states are mentally more stable than blue states? Percent of population by state that does not suffer from poor mental health:

1) Louisiana 75.5
2) North Carolina 74.2
3) Tennessee 73
4) South Dakota 72.9
4) Kentucky 72.9
6) Kansas 71.4

7) Michigan 71.3
8) Iowa 70.8
9) Nebraska 69.9
10) Florida 69.2
11) Alaska 68.3
12) Arizona 67.8
13) Missouri 67.8
14) North Dakota 67.4
14) Georgia 67.4
16) Montana 67.2
17) Wyoming 66.8
17) Virginia 66.8
19) DC 66.7
19) Conneticut 66.7

21) Oklahoma 66.6
21) New Hampshire 66.6
23) New Jersey 66.4
23) Illinois 66.4

25) Colorado 66.3
26) Maine 66.2
27) Mississippi 66.1
28) West Virginia 66
28) Pennsylvania 66
28) Massachusetts 66

31) Arkansas 65.9
32) Texas 65.7
33) South Carolina 65.5
34) Indiana 65.4

34) Rhode Island 65.4
36) Ohio 65.1
37) Idaho 64.9

38) Maryland 64.8
39) Vermont 64.6
39) Alabama 64.6
41) New Mexico 64.5
42) Minnesota 64.4
43) Wisconsin 64
44) Delaware 63.6
45) Oregon 63.4
46) Washington 63.2
47) New York 63
48) California 62.8
49) Nevada 58.9
50) Utah 58.6

Sane Republicans, daft Democrats (and Mormons). One of the strongest arguments against polygyny is that such relationships inevitably breed feelings of envy, helplessness, and inferiority, especially among the less desirable wives. With almost half the state of Utah reporting poor mental health, the argument appears cogent.

Values surveys consistently find Republican voters to be more satisfied with their existence than their Democratic counterparts (Pew found that 45% of Republicans considered themselves "very happy" compared to only 30% of Democrats).

It's hardly surprising that Republican states are psychologically healthier than Democratic ones when happiness is delved into a bit. Married people are twice as likely to report being very happy than lone wolves are. The more people attend religious services, the happier they are (a critic might contend that ignorance is blissful; an attendee might respond that winning Pascal's Wager makes him quite happy). Apparently in contrary to the conventional wisdom that money cannot buy happiness, income and happiness are unequivocally positively related, with people making over $100,000 annually twice as likely as those making under $30,000 to report being very happy. And whites are more likely to be happy than Hispanics, who are in turn more likely to be happy than blacks. Well, each of the "more likely to be happy" groups are Republican stalwarts, whereas the unhappy groups comprise crucial pieces of the Democratic base.

Politically, the Democratic party seems to have internalized this unhappiness. Whining about the Bush administration's Wilsonian liberalism hasn't worked largely because many on the left principally agree with the neocon position that exporting democracy and liberating peoples from tyranny even at the expense of American blood and treasure is a desirable foreign policy orientation. So they're left to moan about a lack of funding, tactical missteps, ineffective global PR, etc rather than marshalling potent arguments like Islam's incompatibility with liberal democracy, the problem of localism and inbreeding, Middle Eastern IQs in the eighties, and so on. They complain about tax cuts, global warming, increasing Presidential power, without providing palpable ways to remedy them. This whining is interpreted as unhelpful by Buchanan conservatives and treasonous by many independents and Republicans. As the minority party, Democrats have defined themselves in opposition to the majority, thereby staking the political future on the performance of the Republicans while taking pot shots from a safe distance.

Of course, by being the self-proclaimed party of the underdog, Democrats have a vested interest in making people less satisfied with their personal existence. When I was six my dad explained to me the basic philosophies of the two political parties. In a rare moment of precocity, I responded, "So when things are good the Republicans win and when things are bad the Democrats win. I'll be a Republican." Unfortunately, the RNC seems intent on doing everything it can to make life less joyful for its natural base by encouraging anti-merit immigration that raises the cost of living for natives, depresses wages, increases crime and pollution, increases cultural tensions, creates a Democratic dream (newly arrived Hispanics are relatively poor, uneducated, ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas--the quintessential Democrat) voting bloc, ad infinitum.

Come on Bush, we just want to be happy. Make us so and we'll return the favor.

(Politics and Religion)

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