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Conservative Worldview

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George Will, in a column [2] discussing the survey finding that conservatives are happier than liberals, gives a powerful and eloquent description of what it means to be a conservative:

Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more
pessimistic. Conservatives think the Book of Job got it right ("Man is
born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward"), as did Adam Smith ("There
is a great deal of ruin in a nation"). Conservatives understand that
society in its complexity resembles a giant Calder mobile — touch it
here and things jiggle there, and there, and way over there. Hence
conservatives acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is:
The unintended consequences of bold government undertakings are apt to
be larger than, and contrary to, the intended ones.

Conservatives’
pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they
are rarely surprised — they are right more often than not about the
course of events. Second, when they are wrong, they are happy to be so.
Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes
— government — they accept that happiness is a function of fending
for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity — it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.

The
right to pursue happiness is the essential right that government exists
to protect. Liberals, taking their bearings, whether they know it or
not, from President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 State of the Union
address, think the attainment of happiness itself, understood in terms
of security and material well-being, is an entitlement that government
has created and can deliver.

By Will’s definition there are at most maybe one or two conservatives in Congress.

The rest of them, especially the ones who would describe themselves as conservative, use the rhetoric Will invokes to achieve other ends.

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