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Monday, February 09, 2009

Politics, Society and Happiness

So, here are the conclusions of three studies. Conservatives are more happy than liberals because conservatives can rationalize inequality better. Conservatives are more charitable than liberals. Children today are less happy because they are more selfish. From the last one:
Asked what had caused this selfish culture to develop in Britain, Lord Layard, the Labour peer who wrote the final report, replied: "You have a decline in religious belief and a decline in what you may call socialism, that kind of social solidarity which was quite strong in the first half of the 20th century."
So, here is what I think. It is really unfortunate that the church is failing to reach left-leaning people. Faith aids in developing one's spiritual character such that one can be charitable and empathetic without losing oneself in despair. I think it is unfortunate that some many conservative Christians have chosen to ignore Christ's message of justice. Even suggesting that Christians should not work to end poverty. I think greed based politics is not good for any segment of society, including our kids.

I guess I'm saying everyone would be happier if they were religious people who practiced personal charity and supported economic justice. You know, if they were progressive Christians who had not lost their prophetic voice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I agree that a greed-based lifestyle is not good for any segment of our society, I disagree that charitable giving has to be government-based to produce the kind of happiness we want for our children. The study comparing liberals and conservatives giving habits suggests that the most generous people in this country are those who believe that charitable giving is a moral obligation that should not be forced on individuals. Doesn't giving lose its charitable quality when it becomes government-imposed wealth redistribution?

JimII said...

I think your comment "I disagree that charitable giving has to be government-based to produce the kind of happiness we want for our children," unfairly sets up a strawman. I never said that all charitable giving has to be government-based to produce happiness. I said Christians should stand up for economic justice.

I used to believe that a welfare system that was solely based on voluntary gifts would be superior to a government sponsored system. However, that doesn't address some core questions like why should a person who works 40 hours a week need to have government assistance? If a person works for 40 hours should they as a matter of right be able to live?

So for example, Christians should support a living wage, and medical care provided to all people because it is right. Not that it is charitable, but that it is immoral to let people work and not have access to health care or enough money to afford food and shelter.