Liberals and Democrats will never know the absolute crippling anxiety experienced by right-wingers and otherwise normal people in social gatherings whenever politics or even mildly debatable topics come up. Although the average person would rather skip an argument and keep the party going with more pleasant subjects, liberals and Democrats readily leap at the opportunity to tell you exactly how they feel, and, sorry, but if it’s a problem, get lost.
What they have to say ruins the mood? Oh well! If you don’t like it, you’re wrong and, worse, a bad person who should feel very, very uncomfortable having shown up in the first place. And that’s a best-case scenario. If you were to actually dispute what a liberal says, even in good nature, look forward to suffering while the bitter nag gives you disgusted glances the rest of the evening and holds the incident against you for the rest of your life.
By contrast, right-leaning Republicans and independents tend to keep their mouths on mute when in mixed company. It’s preciously naïve because it’s not enough. Leftists are miserable by nature, even if some of them are better at coping with it than their most insufferable peers.
This isn’t a joke or an insult. It’s proven. The way you have probably felt around these people, particularly within the last six years, is not in your head. It’s a concrete reality borne out by endless data.
Scholars at the University of Florida and University of Toronto published an extensive study in 2011 titled in part “Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals, But Why?” That paper was based on yet several other studies surveying the attitudes of American adults on life and how those lined up with their political ideologies.
The authors found that “conservatism was positively related to life satisfaction . . . and even after controlling for participants’ age, gender, and family income level . . . conservatives are indeed happier than liberals.” Surveyed students who were more likely to cite personal responsibility and conscientiousness as dominant factors in their lives tended to self-identify as politically conservative and also tended to exude “a more positive outlook and stronger feelings of self-worth, as indicated by greater optimism and self-esteem as well as lower depression and depressive symptomology.”
Rather than communicate like normal adults who can hear each other out and, at minimum, reach an understanding of differences, the immediate impulse of liberals is fight or flight. For liberals, political disagreements aren’t opportunities to learn or engage. To the contrary, they see those disputes as reasons to shrink their social circles, withdraw from family and silo themselves with others who will say only things that affirm their nasty predispositions and won’t disrupt their weird mentality.
A December 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute showed a quarter of Democrats attested to having blocked, unfriended or stopped “following” someone on social media after the year’s election because of something political that the person posted. Only 9% of Republicans said the same. The institute further noted that self-identified, ideological liberals were “far more likely” — by 20 points — to say they removed someone from their social-media circle based on something they said.
The intolerance, bitterness and spite of liberals manifest just as well offline. They’re also more likely to say they’ve socially iced out real-life friends over political disagreements, they would rather not associate with people who don’t think like them and romantic relationships with political opposites are a nonstarter.
The American Perspectives Survey, conducted in May 2021 by the Survey Center on American Life, found Democrats and liberals were more likely to say they have ended friendships because of political disagreement. Among Republicans, 10% said they had done so. It was double for Democrats. In terms of ideology, 28% of liberals said they had ended friendships over political disagreements. Only 10% of conservatives said the same.
As much as you have something to say, liberals just as assuredly don’t want to hear it. This wouldn’t be so annoying if they didn’t pretend to place so much value on tolerance and diversity. Liberals are nothing if not closed-minded, insolent grumps.
The numbers make clear that not all liberals are necessarily maladjusted wet blankets. But if someone is a liberal, he or she is much more likely to be. It’s their essence. It’s in their DNA. Bitter is their natural state of being. Miserable is their default position.
Eddie Scarry is the author of “Liberal Misery: How the Hateful Left Sucks Joy Out of Everything and Everyone,” from which this exclusive excerpt is taken.