Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who Really Cares?

A new book out compares liberals to conservatives in the area of charitable giving. His conclusions, surpising to some apparently (including the author himself) is that conservatives far out give in time, money and even blood than liberals. Personally, I find his conclusion as startling as "sex leads to pregnancy," "smart people have higher IQs than idiots" and "having a baby leads to sleepless nights," but some people (those who like spending YOUR money instead of their own on other people) will apparently be surprised.

One news story on the book begins as follows:

Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous. The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income. In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals. The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24…….

Thomas Sowell discusses the book in his recent column.

Professor Brooks admits that the facts he uncovered were the opposite of what he expected to find -- so much so that he went back and checked these facts again, to make sure there was no mistake.

What is the reason why some people are liberals and others are conservatives, if it is not that liberals are more compassionate? Fundamental differences in ideology go back to fundamental assumptions about human nature. Based on one set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a liberal. Based on a different set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a conservative.

The two visions are not completely symmetrical, however. For at least two centuries, the vision of the left has included a belief that those with that vision are morally superior, more caring and more compassionate. While both sides argue that their opponents are mistaken, those on the left have declared their opponents to be not merely in error but morally flawed as well. So the idea that liberals are more caring and compassionate goes with the territory, whether or not it fits the facts.

Those on the left proclaimed their moral superiority in the 18th century and they continue to proclaim it in the 21st century. What is remarkable is how long it took for anyone to put that belief to the test -- and how completely it failed that test.

In reading the amazon discription, he also correlates religious belief. This seems obvious to me. Liberals on average (Yes, I'm generalizing here - I know not all liberals ...) are more secularist and less religious. Conservatives, more religious and less secularist. Serious Christians, be they protestant, Catholic or LDS, are called upon to be charitable by their faith. If they sincerely believe in that calling, it should not be surprising if they were more charitable. If such Christians are more conservative on average, which I think would be the case, then that would support the conclusions of the book.

You can buy the book here.


At 4:05 AM, Blogger camojack said...

Who Really Cares?

Ignorance or apathy? I neither know nor care.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to CNN cost of living calculator:

Salary in New York (Manhattan) NY: $100,000
Comparable salary in Marshall County AL: $43,046.48

If you move from New York (Manhattan) NY to Marshall County AL…

Groceries will cost: 28.77% less
Housing will cost: 78.669% less
Utilities will cost: 41.379% less
Transportation will cost: 20.983% less
Healthcare will cost: 39.198% less

Nearly 50% of all liberals live in (more expensive) urban areas, while nearly 50% of all conservatives live in the (less expensive) south. So what I want to know is, did the writer compare apples to apples? Are his income groups set up to account for cost of living? When calculating percentage of income given to charity does he use income after taxes and cost of living? If he does, then he needs to compare New York liberals who make $100,000 with Alabama conservatives who make closer to $40,000. I think we’ll see a much different picture. Otherwise, he is just lying with statistics.

Also, when a a guy who works at the American Enterprise Institute says he is shocked that conservatives come out looking better in his study than liberals, I’m skeptical.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Yo, Birkenstock, think of what that $3.50 a day you spend on a mocha-choco-latte-ya-ya could mean to a young family struggling to come to grips with a severely challenged infant, or to aging parents desperately trying to plan for the future of their adult autistic child.

If you can't dig even that deep, Charlie, then you can't be serious about anything.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger KJ said...

You obviously didn't read the book. He compared apples to apples everywhere the data allowed. The greatest factor in giving was in relgious belief, and religious people are more conservative than non-religious people.

But remember, Birkenstock, the findings weren't just with money. Conservatives also gave more time and even more blood than liberals. Unless New York time is different than Alabama time, your questions have proved nothing.

Plus, what the guy found was that the working poor (as opposed to the unworking poor -- seriously) give more as a percentage than the middle class, and the rich give more than the middle class. Whatever that proves. But it proves that being poor (if you work) doesn't stop people from giving.

Stossel last night did a 20/20 special on all this. He put a pot in front of a San Fran Macy's -- the biggest in town. And one in front of a Wal-mart in South Dakota where the biggest employer was a meat packing plant and most people made 30-40,000 tops. The Wal-mart pot had twice as much money in it at the end of the two day experiment.

60% of the people in that S.D. town went to church regularly. 13% in San Fran. Enough said.

At 5:15 AM, Blogger camojack said...

"Birkenstock", eh?

Too funny...

At 4:16 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Actually, I wrote that post before Anon had posted his/her comment, but I got distracted by a telephone call (asking me for a donation, of all things!). My snark was not in any way directed to Anon, who I am sure is contributing in his/her own way to alleviate the suffering of those souls suffering the local hardships of New York City.

But I stand firmly behind my admonition that if you can't find a way to give $3.50 a day to somebody other than you, then your are eiother truly poor, and poor in spirit.

Thanks for giving.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger camojack said...

spd rdr:
As it happens, I give 10% of my (pre-tax) income to the church...and then some to various charitable organizations. I'm pretty sure that's at least $3.50/day. I know you weren't referring to my "evil conservative" self, though.

And why did you up and disappear, b[o]y?!

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

It's so hard to keep 'em down on the farm
Once they've seen gay Paree, camo...

At 4:13 AM, Blogger camojack said...

You may be right; "Paree" was my first foreign destination, and I've had the wanderlust e'er since.

As you know, I just "scratched that itch" en Mexico...

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Well now I am more jealous than ever. I've been staring at a travel package to St. Martin for months now. I can just feel the sun on my skin, but I don't know if we'll have time to go.


At 4:10 AM, Blogger camojack said...

Well, in a couple of months I'm going to Hawaii. I think my brother is going to St. Thomas...


At 3:49 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Fine. Rub it in.

I can top that. Tonite I'm going to put a log in the fireplace and.. and...have a glass of beaujolais. Never let it be said I don't know how to live high on the hog.

I guess it beats spending the entire weekend in a coma though.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger camojack said...

Now I'm going to have to build a fire in my fireplace; maybe during the football game.

BTW, my brother is going to St. Martin...in January.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

I hate him :)

Well, I may get to go. The spouse is making noises about taking me away and if we don't go now we won't get to go for a very long time.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger camojack said...

If you two come to the Big Island in February...I'll show you around.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Feb. will be too late camo, and I will be travelling again in Jan. I will have to see what we can figure out. Maybe Hawaii would be nice though. Somewhere tropical, that is for sure.

At 1:35 AM, Blogger camojack said...

If you can manage it, I'll be there Feb. 2 - Mar. 3.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger KJ said...

You people need an IM account or something:)

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

I don't IM. Anyway I already have one - Patterico set one up for me but I never use it.

I think it's kind of weird. I've only ever really talked to him once or twice and my sons.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Also, when a a guy who works at the American Enterprise Institute

Surely you do not refer to Arthur C. Brooks do you? Searching for his name at the AEI website only turns up references to his work.


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