"If you want to change the world, the go home and love your family." - Mother Teresa
Our interconnected, changing world has seen more humans severely impacted by specific events, such as the 2008 global financial crisis and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people feel increasingly uncertain and displaced. Our research within Finding A Better Way indicates that when people feel lost, they are likely to take a risk with their voting. In other words, many 'moderate' voters are turning to right-wing parties; particularly those at the extreme end of the scale.
In a 2018, academic paper titled 'Is Nationalism on the rise? Assessing Global Trends', by Florian Bieber (a Luxembourgian political scientist, historian and professor), states, 'Nationalism is based on distinguishing between members of the own nation, the in-group, and others, the out-group.'
According to Bieber, one way to measure the strength of this distinction is trust. Specifically, whether members of one nation trust members of other nations. He states;
'Data drawn from the World Value Survey between 2004 and 2014 suggest that the levels of citizens who do not (very much or at all) trust people from other nationalities vary greatly, from relatively low levels of distrust in multinational immigrant societies [such] as the United States, Australia and Argentina to high levels in Thailand or Morocco.'
Who are the risky-taking voters? Research indicates many of them are my peer group – white, middle-aged men. What have been the consequences?
Although the UK voted to leave the EU, sixty per cent of Londoners wanted to stay. In 2020, one 'remain' voter from London referred to Brexit as 'the worst thing that will ever happen to this country.' Speaking to CNBC, he went on to say, 'I think we'll live to regret it in a few years' time…My mum voted to exit [the EU], as did a lot of the older generation, and it's caused a massive rift for all of us.'
Michael Kimmel (author of many books including 'Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era') argues that gender and racial equality not only benefit racial minorities and women, but also white people and men. The biggest benefactors, though, are children – all children.
Based on the UK voting to leave the EU, the younger population who wanted to remain, their future was impacted by those of another generation. These topics are complex; some are linked to a sense of well being.
In his PERMA model, Dr Martin Seligman, a forefather of positive psychology, established five essential elements that contribute to a person's well-being. If an element is missing, a person's well-being is affected, and at the moment, this could be the situation for many.
Positive emotions – being able to feel good, hopeful and inspired by what we do and where we live
Engagement – being in flow, immersed in passionate activities
Relationships – authentic relationships with interactions
Meaning – a sense of purpose, using that purpose to contribute
Achievement – developing our strengths and skills, achieving feasible goals
Macro issues have a micro source; PERMA is a model that may help people discover how to bring greater balance into their lives.