Affluence + Secularism = Boredom = Leftism
Just as physicists look for equations to explain the natural world, I have always thought it useful to look for equations to explain human nature. For example, in my book on happiness, I offer this equation: U = I - R. Unhappiness = Image - Reality. The difference between the images we have for our life and the reality of our life is one way of measuring how much unhappiness we experience.
Here, I offer another theorem, this time to help explain leftism.
A + S = B = L
The search for an equation to help explain leftism (as distinguished from traditional liberalism) emanates from these facts:
Most leftists come from the upper and upper-middle class. This was true for the two founders of leftism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx was supported by his family and by Engels, who was a wealthy businessman and the son of a very wealthy businessman. All the Western spies for the Soviet Union were economically secure. And the great funder of radical causes today is a billionaire -- George Soros.
Nearly all leftists are irreligious people. And the breeding place of leftism, the university, is the most secular institution in modern society.
These two facts produce a problem: Many people lack meaning in their lives. And lack of meaning is another way of stating "boredom" -- a boredom of the soul.
People need meaning. After food, that is the greatest human need. As important as sex is, there are happy people who go without sex (loss of a partner, never having found a partner, vows of chastity), but there are no happy people who go without meaning (no matter how much sex they have).
This need for meaning has traditionally been met by four things: religion, family, providing for oneself and one's family, and patriotism. And all are fading.
Let's begin with religion. In America today, religion is in sharp decline. According to Pew Research, more than a third of all Americans born after 1980 identify with no religion. That is the highest percentage ever. In a recent Gallup Poll, only 47% of American adults said they were members of a church, mosque or synagogue. It was the first time since Gallup began asking Americans about religious membership in the 1930s that a majority of Americans said they were not members of a church, mosque or synagogue.