Mental Redistribution

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Arthur Brooks famously showed that conservatives give much more to charity than liberals, especially charities meant to alleviate poverty. David Brooks diplomatically explains to his New York Times readers that this makes sense, because liberals believe in government provisions more and conservatives believe in private provisions more.

Then he cites recent research from James Lindgren of Northwestern University showing that people who believe in (forced) income redistribution have issues:

Compared to anti-redistributionists, strong redistributionists have about two or three times higher odds of reporting that in the prior seven days that they were angry, mad at someone, outraged, sad, lonely, and had trouble shaking the blues. Similarly, anti-redistributionists had about two to four times higher odds of reporting being happy or at ease.

Not only do redistributionists report more anger, but they report that their anger lasts longer. When asked about the last time they were angry, strong redistribuitonists were more than twice as likely as strong opponents of leveling to admit that they responded to their anger by plotting revenge.

Last, both redistributionists and anti-capitalists expressed lower overall happiness, less happy marriages and lower satisfaction with their financial situations and with their jobs or housework.

As if on cue, a number of angry New York Times readers share their snarky comments.

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