Here's a piece of news bound to please half the country, and anger the other half. According to a story by Kurt Kleiner in the Toronto Star, whiny children grow up to be rigid and politically conservative. Self-reliant, confident kids grow up to be liberals.
This isn't just wishful thinking from the left. It's based on a serious study conceived by a University of California at Berkeley professor, as published in the academic magazine, the Journal of Research into Personality.
Jack Block and his late wife, Jeanne Block, tracked almost one hundred children for two decades. From nursery school on, the kids were studied and interviewed--without any sense of political bias, as back in nursery school, few of the kids really cared about politics.
Block found that the whiniest, least confident kids were those who grew up to be uncomfortable with ambiguity, who toed a rigid line on social issues, and who were, for the most part, right wingers.
The kids who were loose, interesting, and willing to challenge authority ended up being liberals.
The study would seem to contradict another that came out a few months ago from the Pew Research Center, and was featured in the mainstream media across the country. This one claimed that, for the most part, conservatives tend to be happier than liberals.
But when you think about it, is there really a contradiction here?
Maybe someone who tells a pollster that he or she is happy isn't really someone whose life you'd want to emulate. And maybe someone who is leading a confident, interesting, and fulfilled life is.
After all, who do you think would say that he or she is happier, George Bush or John Kerry? Dick Cheney or Al Gore? Laura Bush or Hillary Clinton?
Clearly being happy isn't the goal.
As the song almost says, if being happy means being George Bush, I don't want to be happy.