Unhappy Campers

by Cato  9/16/14

The understanding that renders this Gallup poll a useless exercise, of course, is that every one of the 76% who are dissatisfied is unhappy for a different reason.

Some because we’re not far enough Left. Some because we’re not far enough Right. Some because we’re too far in the wrong direction. Some just because we are old and cranky and certain the whole bloody planet has stripped its gears … although on that point I may just be speaking personally.

If there was a consensus among the three-quarters of us why we are not pleased, there would be a massive political push in that direction. Do you feel any strong political currents?

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12 Responses to Unhappy Campers

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    That’s a good and careful analysis of the “unhappy,” Cato. The only aspect I would add is that a general sense of being dissatisfied is becoming our lingua franca. Only here at StubbornThings do we self-consciously stop and remind ourselves that there is much to be thankful for and that bitching can too easily become a habit. And if it is not only here that we consider such things, it is relatively rare “out there.”

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Still, there is a certain amount of significance. Those who want a rightward push are likely to vote for candidates who will move that way, whereas those who want a leftward push or are merely dissatisfied in general aren’t very likely to vote for either side. One should also distinguish between being personally dissatisfied and being dissatisfied with the direction of the country, but I’m not sure the poll can do that.

    And that ignores the question of how many people aren’t represented by such polls anymore (because they have answering machines, for example, and thus never respond to pollsters), and whether they would respond the same as those who do end up being polled.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    “Lies, damned lies and statistics.”

  4. Cato says:

    There’s a case to be made that the more fragmented we become along a rapidly increasing number of social, religious, cultural, economic and ultimately political fault lines … in short the more narrowly partisan we become … the unhappier we become as well. So which is the cause and which the effect, that is, are we less happy because we’ve more partisan, or more partisan because we’re less happy? Very good question …

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, I’m strongly partisan, but reasonably happy with my life, whatever my views of the country. This tends to be the case with conservatives, even with the Enemy Within running things. I think this reflects the fact that liberals politicize everything, so that being politically unhappy in any way makes them personally unhappy as well (particularly given their entitlement mentality, which precludes accepting anything less than the whole loaf). Conservatives don’t, so we can be personally happy even when outraged over the failures of our government.

      • Misanthropette says:

        Call me contrarian, but I believe it is a hopeful sign that so many Americans declare their dissatisfaction with things. It signals change in the offing as long as they are intellectually willing to connect that dissatisfaction to the generators of all things dissatisfying: policies of the federal government, the Federal Reserve, and our corrupt civic institutions.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One can hope that this will happen (and there are many auspicious indicators this year, at least). But remember that dissatisfied liberals will never admit that Barry’s Behemoth contributes in any way to their unhappiness.

          • Misanthropette says:

            Can I take that last line one further? Dissatisfied progressives will never publicly admit that Barry’s Behemoth contributes in any way to their unhappiness. That makes them intellectually disingenuous as well as big weenies.

  5. Misanthropette says:

    I’ve just had a very disappointing bottle of Washington State Merlot, which is certainly a sign of End Times. Can I add that to the mounting list of disappointing things in the U.S.?

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