Ted McLaughlin put together some data that seems worth looking at as the year comes to an end, What People Most Want In Their Lives. YouGov polled almost 20,000 people in 17 countries about what they wanted in their lives. And as should come as no surprise, people all over the world want the same things. But that’s partly my bias. I focus on the similarities. Others, I’m sure, would focus on the differences. But the fact is that nowhere on the list is “kill the infidel” or “restore the Constitution to its real meaning.” People mostly want to love and health.
But there were some interesting findings in the poll. The countries that are most ostentatiously religious were also the countries that wanted “spiritual progress.” These included: Indonesia, USA, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. They are the countries with 10% or more wanting that. A lot of it is religious fundamentalism. And as much as I go on about atheism, I am very worried about fundamentalism. The place I differ with many people is that I think religious fundamentalism in the United States is the most dangerous.
Strangely, there isn’t much correlation between “spiritual progress” and “moral virtue.” In fact, the USA is number one in the disconnect here. It tops out in terms of wanting spiritual progress at 13%, but it’s in the middle of the pack with wanting moral virtue of only 5%. That represents the largest gap of any nation. I assume it is because American religious people think they already have moral virtue. As I’ve written about many times, salvation comes very cheap to Americans. It’s like Santa Claus: they just have to believe and they get an all access pass to heaven.
There is one big difference between what people in the west want and what people in the east want. Love is the biggest thing that westerners want: 19% of them. For the east, the number if only 9%. I figure this has to do with money. Although there are some very rich countries representing the east, China and Indonesia dominate. And people just trying to get by don’t focus too much on things like love. And this is the area that is most stark. The lowest love score for the western countries is for the USA at 15%; and the highest love score for the eastern countries is 10%.
But I have to wonder about some of these questions. “Success in my career” has the USA scoring toward the bottom of the countries. Given that Indonesia is at the top, it would seem like it is an indication of how happy people are in their careers. But I suspect that is not happening here on the home front. I think people here have largely given up on the idea that work can get better. They figure that work is about as good as they could hope. If they even have a job, that’s a good thing.
A related statistic is that people in the USA are towards the bottom in wanting more free time. Americans work on average 1,789 hour per year, yet they are less inclined to want more free time than the Germans, who work on average 1,371 hours — almost a quarter fewer hours. We are also less interested in making more money. Americans are amazingly good at self-oppressing. No wonder we live in a plutocracy.
But at least most people agree that all we really need is love.
Because The Beatles didn’t believe the BS they shoveled, this is not The Beatles doing the song: