Why are American youths so unhappy?

The 2024 World Happiness Report from Gallup and partners was released yesterday, March 20.  It focuses on the relationship between happiness and age.

Overall, the United States dropped from 15th to 23rd in the world rankings.  But our younger cohort are even unhappier:  “The report finds there’s a dramatic decrease in the self-reported well-being of people aged 30 and below,” says editor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve.

In most regions of the world, young people are happiest.  By contrast, in the U.S., people over aged sixty are relatively sanguine about things.

Life is complex, if not complicated.  There can be numerous reasons for youthful discontent, such as:

  • Gender studies grads contradicting conservative nature by employing liberal nurture — e.g., training their sons to be effete beta boys.
  • Trans confusion and gender dysphoria.
  • Social media pressures  and unreasonable expectations.  Gore Vidal comes to mind:  “It is not enough to succeed; others must fail.”
  • Pursuit of instant gratification rather than cultivating lasting, civic-oriented satisfaction.
  • Biden’s inflation and the deferral of the American Dream — just can’t get out of Mommy’s nest.
  • Job insecurity.
  • Dems whose identity politics sows discord as they spew hatred of America’s core principles.
  • Illegal aliens undermining our sovereignty and sense of community and disproportionately consuming our resources.

That’s far from an exhaustive list, but it elucidates some of the quandaries that can take a toll on the mental well-being of impressionable youths with a quivering moral compass.  

I omitted the most obvious entry because it deserves special attention: the confounding, anti-reason, anti-history youthful preference for socialism over capitalism. 

The correlations between age distributions for economic system preferences and the happiness indexes are uncanny.  Our happier older folks hold a strong preference for capitalism.  Conversely, our disaffected youth are more amenable to socialist tenets. 

For example, per a Business Insider report (in collaboration with YouGov), only 29% of Gen Z “somewhat/strongly” prefer capitalism over socialism.  For Millennials, it’s not much better at 34% preferring capitalism over socialism.

Contrast that to Baby-Boomers (again, per the World Happiness Report, they are happier than those in younger cohorts in the U.S.), of whom 60% prefer capitalism over socialism.  (That doesn’t mean that 40% prefer socialism, because there are categories for “no preference” and “not sure.”)

As for the Silent Generation (78–95 age range), 77% prefer capitalism.  

To summarize: Whether partially causal or mostly coincidental, older people in the U.S. prefer capitalism and are happier.  Younger people prefer socialism and are unhappier.

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Are America’s youth more unhappy because they are wrapped up (or should that be “warped” up?) in seemingly “cool” socialism?  Or do they trend socialist because they are unhappy?  Either proposition is awful, as the inescapable conclusion is that socialism stifles human creativity, stymies our motivation, squashes our spirit, and suffocates our souls.  No one should prefer that — if he is thinking clearly and freely.

Admittedly, Scandinavian countries appear to have happy citizens, per the Gallup report.  However, their reputation as socialist utopias is overblown; in fact, they have a more centrist outlook.  Interestingly, they tend to be more homogenous societies, with wide agreement on fundamental principles.  They are not as divided by DIE imperatives; they protect their borders; there is a sense of community with deep trust; and they emphasize opportunities to contribute to society.

Importantly, security and predictability are key underpinnings of happiness in countries that rank highly, and Scandinavian countries tend to have both.  As does Switzerland, which was ranked 9th happiest. 

During a panel discussion about the results, the Swiss ambassador to the U.S. came across a bit condescending.  He said, “Happiness is, first of all, feeling safe.”  Point taken.  In fact, who feels safe in Dem-ruined cities?  A reasonable conjecture is that if the happiness report focused on red states and rural areas in America, we’d rank a lot higher.  We’d happily eat their lunch — minus the Swiss cheese.  

Notwithstanding a couple of faux-socialist countries noted above — where abundant natural resources enable higher levels of social support, safety,  and predictability — history suggests that there’s a symbiotic relationship between socialism and unhappiness. 

Overall, it’s well documented that socialism leads to misery and destitution.

Overall, it’s well documented that free-market capitalism is linked to healthier, richer, happier societies.

Free-market capitalism, with occasional tweaks to curtail profit-seeking imprudence that may sacrifice public safety, is still the best path to prosperity

In Biden’s anti-America America, our youth are faced with daunting challenges.  If we can get rid of him and his allies, and if they can escape socialist indoctrination, an exciting life pursuing prosperity and happiness awaits them.  In the meantime, I bet we’re happier in red states like Florida, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Idaho than the boozy Norse are in the desolate Nordic tundra.

Image via Pxfuel.

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