Friday, November 17, 2006

Conservatives More Generous Toward Needy

Via Drudge, an account of how political views are related to charitable giving.
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.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: “For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice.”

For the record, Brooks, 42, has been registered in the past as a Democrat, then a Republican, but now lists himself as independent, explaining, “I have no comfortable political home.”

Since 2003 he has been director of nonprofit studies for Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

The book’s basic findings are that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure.

Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone’s tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don’t provide them with enough money.

Still, he says it forcefully, pointing out that liberals give less than conservatives in every way imaginable, including volunteer hours and donated blood.
These findings put in proper perspective the liberals’ claim to have more compassion for the poor.

They also put into proper perspective the claim of liberals that religion should pay less attention to sexual matters, and show more concern for the poor.

Such rhetoric is the staple of liberal bloggers such as Logan of we live our lives among giants, who complains that “. . . the heirarchy of the Church cannot seem to get their heads out of our pants” and “certainly there are more pressing issues in society that more directly conflict with the teachings of Jesus, who the religion is derived from. It is very troubling to me that the poor and suffering have been largely ignored.”

We would be more impressed with this kind of rhetoric coming from liberals if it weren’t so convenient.

Religious conservatives can’t have sex outside marriage, and can’t have homosexual sex (if they are inclined that way). They can’t have an abortion, no matter how convenient it might be. At least, they can’t do any of this without feeling very guilty.

But liberals feel perfectly free to do any of these things.

What restrictions do they impose on their own behavior? They have to drink Fair Trade coffee, vote Democratic and rail against the evils of multinational corporations.

Both liberals and conservatives want to feel that they are righteous.

But for liberals that feeling just comes too damn cheaply.

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