RUSH: Sonja Lyubomirsky. Let me see if it tells us who she is. Yeah, she’s a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, is the author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky. I hope I’m doing her name justice. ‘Why We’re Still Happy,’ is the title of the piece. Why we are still happy. This is a fascinating column, by the way. While we’re still happy in the midst of a depression, or recession, with no future other than Obama and hope? Why are we still happy? We should all be miserable, we’re losing our 401(k)s, we’re losing our jobs. We have — Oh, train of thought here, having trouble reining it in. I predicted to you there would be bailout proposals for Bernie Madoff’s ripped off people. The New York Times, somebody, has a story on all the great liberal Democrat charities who have gone bankrupt now because they — I tell you, before this is all said and done, we will find the money to bail out some of these institutions that got shafted in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
At any rate, Sonja Lyubomirsky. ‘These days, bad news about the economy is everywhere.
So why aren’t we panicking? Why aren’t we spending our days dejected about the markets? How is it that we manage to remain mostly preoccupied with the quotidian tasks and concerns of life? Traffic, dinner, homework, deadlines, sharp words, flirtatious glances.’ Those are tasks and concerns, flirtatious glances? I know a lot of people who would love to have one now and then. ‘Because the news these days affects everyone,’ that’s why we’re still happy. Do you realize the import of this? This woman is a professor of psychology. We’re all happy because the bad news affects everybody.
‘Research in psychology and economics suggests that when only your salary is cut, or when only you make a foolish investment, or when only you lose your job, you become considerably less satisfied with your life. But when everyone from autoworkers to Wall Street financiers becomes worse off, your life satisfaction remains pretty much the same. Indeed, humans are remarkably attuned to relative position and status. As the economists David Hemenway and Sara Solnick demonstrated in a study at Harvard, many people would prefer to receive –‘ now get this, ‘–an annual salary of $50,000 when others are making $25,000 than to earn $100,000 a year when others are making $200,000. Similarly, Daniel Zizzo and Andrew Oswald, economists in Britain, conducted a study that showed that people would give up money if doing so would cause someone else to give up a slightly larger sum. That is, we will make ourselves poorer in order to make someone else poorer, too.’
Now, the piece goes on. The reason I wanted to grab this out of the Stack today was the statement I was making all day long, that I finally conclude, the ‘Barack the ‘Magic Negro” controversy last week brought it home for me. Winning elections, right now, is not about winning the argument. Winning elections right now is not persuading people about anything. Winning elections is not about being right. Winning elections is giving people what they want right now. Now, this is going to change at some point, because things in our culture and country are cyclical, but right now winning elections is about giving people what they want. And when you read — if we can believe the data here — that people would love to make $50,000 if more people made $25, than would like to make $100 if more people made $200, that people are made happy if others lose more than they do, how does this relate to Democrat Party politics, liberal politics? Taxes, for one illustration. You tell the middle class or whoever that the rich are going to get soaked, and they’re happy, whether they get a tax cut or not. Whether they end up with more money in their back pockets or not, they’re happy.
This column’s premise, people are happy in America today, middle class, because the rich are having it handed to them, the rich are getting screwed, the rich are going bankrupt, the rich are this, and this is making people happy. This happens to be one of the fundamental premises of liberalism and Democrat Party politics, is creating this mind-set. And you would have to suggest that they’ve succeeded if this column is true, if the data here are correct. People want misery spread equally, which is what liberalism is. Equality is misery spread equally. People do not want somebody who makes $200 grand, if they make $100, they’re unhappy, rather than happy at the opportunity to also make $200 grand. It’s all about get even with them; it’s all about punish those who have more. I’ve heard for the last ten years that class envy politics doesn’t work, that it ran its course. But obviously things are cyclical and it’s back. Now, when you face data like this and circumstances like this, the lesson, the point that I’m making here is, we can be right on everything, as conservatives, but right now won’t matter.
If being right is heard by people as denying them what they want, such as health care, universal health care, or whatever, you know, home mortgages that they don’t have to pay for, when you say no, no, that’s not right, people have to be able to pay what they have borrowed. If one person comes along, no, no, no, affordable housing, we think you should stay in your house. No, it’s not right, you shouldn’t, this is not — we can’t function as a country this way, you will lose in America today, because people want certain things the Democrats and liberals are offering, whatever it is, and guess who’s getting on board, guess who tried their own version of it? John McCain and the Republicans. They just weren’t as authentic, ’cause I mean when you’re copycatting the masters and the experts, people will intrinsically, instinctively go with the experts on this. So this requires new stratagems for reaching people, straighten around the country and get it back on track because that won’t happen until people want that to happen. They think the country has been on the wrong track for all these many years, and it’s just now getting on the right side.