21 Dec 2008

Liberalism Is Really All About Selfishness

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Nicholas Kristof finds himself forced to admit that, despite their constant yammering about the less fortunate, liberals are typically not personally very charitable at all.

This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children.

“When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

Read the whole thing.

Really there is nothing surprising here.

Liberalism is a philosophy of limitless self-entitlement, which undertakes simply to dispense with Constitutional limits, federalism, and the wisdom of the ages in order to get what the liberal desires… right now. What liberals desire is power, affirmation of their self-importance, the ability to call the shots, and massive federal intervention to tidy up the world on their behalf.

Liberals live in a comfortable haute bourgeois mileu, and are susceptible to self doubt concerning their own worthiness. The existence of different, less eligible human circumstances both offends the liberal aesthetic sense, and makes the liberal conscience uneasy.

Naturally, the liberal feels that all of the world’s untidyness, unruliness, and unhappiness ought to be promptly and efficiently cleared away at the public expense. Tax dollars taken from wealthier people engaged in less obviously defensible occupations than the liberal’s own will be more than ample to pay for all that, the liberal just naturally supposes.

It is precisely this unmoderated selfishness, this unlimited sense of self-entitlement which makes the urban enclaves where liberals abound so unlivable. Government in those places is always impractically overreaching, administratively incompetent, and fiscally wildly out of control. Local politics is always a snakepit of activism, corruption, and interest groups squabbling over every issue, every decision, and every dollar like a pack of wolves.

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One Feedback on "Liberalism Is Really All About Selfishness"

Scott D

My personal favorite is Ned Lamont, who, while running for Senate in 2006, declared that The Wealthy were not doing enough to help people in need. According to his tax returns he made $2.8MM in 2005, made $5,385 in charitable contributions, and bought a $1MM piece of art for his home.
Liberals, I think, suffer from projecting their own behavior onto the rest of population reasoning that, if not compelled by government, there would be no charity.



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