David Brooks sometimes makes me wish I was more conservative. And that doesn’t happen very often.
In a recent article, he wrote about happiness and how it is so hard to find alone in money and personal achievement, but rather comes in lasting and fulfilling relationships.
“It is true that poor nations become happier as they become middle-class nations. But once the basic necessities have been achieved, future income is lightly connected to well-being.”
So that explains why someone who wins the lottery isn’t any happier than someone who doesn’t. Money is especially meaningless to happiness if you don’t have to work for it.
“Most of us pay attention to the wrong things. Most people vastly overestimate the extent to which more money would improve our lives. Most schools and colleges spend too much time preparing students for careers and not enough preparing them to make social decisions. Most governments release a ton of data on economic trends but not enough on trust and other social conditions. In short, modern societies have developed vast institutions oriented around the things that are easy to count, not around the things that matter most. They have an affinity for material concerns and a primordial fear of moral and social ones.”
Brooks’ answer? Social capital. In his words, “More communitarian and less libertarian.” Now that is a brand of intelligent conservatism that I can live with.