In his book, Who Really Cares: the surprising truth about compassionate Conservatives) (Basic Books 2006), Syracuse University Professor Arthur C. Brooks demonstrates that "conservatives" give considerably more money and time to charitable causes than do liberals, thus proving that "compassionate conservative" is not an oxy-moron.
Once again, Dr. Brooks mugs common cultural perceptions with massive data. In his new book, Gross National Happiness) (Basic Books, 2008), Dr. Brooks finds that "conservatives" are happier than "liberals." In fact, Dr. Brooks' research shows that conservatives have been happier than liberals for nearly four decades. Why?
Economically, liberals are statistically "better off" than conservatives. So much for money buying happiness.
Dr. Brooks' research reveals that conservatives are more likely to be married and go to religious services on a weekly basis (twice as likely in both cases).
Conservatives are also more likely to have children, and more of them, than liberals. Dr. Brooks found parents are significantly happier than non-parents.
When one combines being religious with being conservative, such religious conservatives are ten times more likely to say they are "very happy" compared to "not too happy" (50 percent to 5 percent).
Dr. Brooks also finds that "conservatives" are more optimistic about both the future, in general, and the future of their country.
Dr. Brooks seems to be making a habit of destroying cultural myths. Perhaps we should start calling Dr. Brooks, Arthur the Myth-Slayer.
This column originally published at Beliefnet.com's Casting Stones blog.
Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.