"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Generous conservatives

Just yesterday I asked some of my online friends why liberals were often seen as more caring than conservatives, and this morning I found a review about this man's book in a magazine my BIL loaned us! Neat timing! :-) Arthur Brooks "a (now former) Democrat raised by leftist academic parents, describes himself as a 'behavioral economist.' He researched ten years of data and scientific surveys to get the true picture of giving in America and in 2006 he published Who Really Cares? America's Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn't and Why It Matters. The results of his research shocked him into fear: 'The New York Times Book Review, they're going to flatten me. I'm just dead,' he fretted to The [Syracuse, NY] Post-Standard. He also admitted to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: 'In my preconceptions, I was in the usual box about charitability and compassion . . . I figured conservatives were hardheaded, pragmatic, tough-minded but didn't care a much about others and wouldn't donate as much ... I figured liberals were softhearted and cared more.' Wrong."

Here is a bit about the author from his website. The reviews are from Amazon.com from people who read it. I only read a few of the reviews, but I thought these were interesting enough to share.

Arthur C. Brooks is Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Whitman School of Management. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The author of Who Really Cares, he writes and speaks widely on the connections among culture, politics, and economic life, and his work appears frequently in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Previously, he spent twelve years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles. A native of Seattle, Washington, he currently lives with his family in Syracuse, New York.

December 23, 2006
This book took me by complete surprise. The liberal left's mantra is all about helping the poor and downtrodden and shaming the conservatives for not doing more. Well, I have to say, you're not compassionate when you're spending other people's money. If that's the one point you take away from " Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism" it's a good thing. Most American's old enough to vote should know by now relying on the government to cure the country's ills doesn't work and never has. It takes the individual with the heart and desire to make life better for others to make a difference. If you go through life walking past poverty feeling good because you paid your taxes, think again. Both sides pay their taxes (hopefully) yet this research shows conservatives dig a little deeper into their own wallets and schedule and give more. Arthur C. Brooks makes you think twice about public opinion and why they feel the liberals are more compassionate. I think this is a book that sheds light on the central core issue...who is making an actual difference in the lives of others and who does a good job talking about it!!

Honest. Illuminating. Myth-bustiing. Refreshing.,
January 3, 2007
By Jeffrey E Ellis (Naperville, IL USA) - See all my reviews
For years, the common wisdom in our culture has been that conservatives are selfish, self-centered, and greedy. After all, wasn't the "me generation" of the 80's about those conservative republicans? On the other hand, liberals really cared about people, cared about the poor and the hungry in America and around the world...In fact, America was a selfish nation, using up most of the world's resources in pursuit of its selfish motives...

Well, the popular culture was wrong. The media was wrong. And the liberal politicians were wrong.

As it turns out, to the surprise of Arthur Brooks, the opposite is true. Liberals care but mainly with other people's money. Their rhetoric isn't backed up by their personal generosity with either their time or their money.

On the other hand, the most generous group in America are conservatives. Religion seems to be the major factor and, for whatever reason, conservatives are made up by the faithful. They give and give a lot - more than any other factor, age, geography, income level, education, gender or any other control measure, being a person of faith is the major factor in a person's charity.

Until their arms grow longer and their hearts measure up to their rhetoric, liberals need to tone down the political propaganda. America is the most generous nation on earth and conservatives the most caring, giving people.

The truth is out--secularists are coldhearted Scrooges
January 27, 2007
Brooks started out buying the usual stereotypes of conservative selfishness and liberal generosity. That the political left is compassionate and charitable to the less fortunate is the sturdiest plank of the liberal belief system.

Masses of research later, Brooks was forced to admit he had swallowed a lie. In fact, there was plenty of proof, unanswerable piles of proof, that it was the Christian conservatives who had hearts of gold when it came to giving to others; liberal secularists had hearts made from lumps of coal.

Here is one telling fact: "Families in San Francisco give almost exactly the same amount to charity each year as families in South Dakota" (p 31) although the families in San Francisco had a 78% more personal income. So maybe the secularists in San Francisco give a lot to friends instead of charities. Well, no. "People belonging to religious congregations were 8% more likely to give money to family and friends...Furthermore, the value...was, on average, 46% higher" (p 39).

By all measures, a Christian is simply more charitable. More likely to give to the homeless, to feed the homeless, to donate blood, or even to return the correct change. Religion matters. Beliefs matter. And, apparently, lack of belief matters, too. Secularists were not only less charitable, they were always more likely to grumble that charities 'waste donations'.

Nor is this a pattern found only in the US. In Europe, where religion seems to no longer exist, private charities have simply vanished. Europeans prefer to believe that their tax system is their charity, but it is not. Simply put: Americans give more to charity--much, much more, no matter how things are calculated. They also volunteer more, or, at least, the Christians among us do. American secularists tend to stay home, like their European counterparts.

I am currently reading "Shutting Out the Sun" a book about Japan, where the author mentions that the homeless Japanese are being cared for by...Christian Koreans.

comprehensive and easy to read,
December 3, 2006

Keep this quote from John Adams in mind as you read this book: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

The author is a professor at Syracuse. He was raised a liberal, was liberal most his life, but in grad school he studied public policy and then became an independent.

The author did not conduct these surveys. He used data from reputable sources (government agencies, non-partisan research groups, etc.). Here are some key findings of his research:

Nearly the same percentage of liberals and conservatives do volunteer work (1% difference), but conservatives donate much more time

The same percentage of liberals and conservatives donate money, but conservatives donate 30% more and earn 6% less

Conservatives give more money than liberals in every income class

Poor people who don't accept welfare give much more than poor people who do accept welfare

religious people give more than non-religious people

religious people give more to secular causes than non-religious people

The average family in San Francisco and South Dakota both give $1300 away each year, even though families in San Francisco make 78% more!

The percent of people that give to charity is higher among poor people who don't believe in income redistribution than rich people who favor income redistribution (welfare, closing the income gap, etc.) !!! [It is easy to want to give other people's money away and pat yourself on the back for advocating it, all the time calling people uncompassionate for not agreeing with you.]

People whose parents were charitable are more likely to be charitable

If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the U.S. would increase 45%

Of the twenty-five states in 2004 that donated a portion of household income above the national average, twenty-four gave a majority of their popular votes to George W. Bush for president

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