The Cheapskate Liberal Trend…Continues
And for reasons I shall explain later, it will continue to be this way.
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.
Hmm, gee. I haven’t tried to cut health insurance for children lately, how ’bout you? Cut requirements to provide health insurance, maybe. Fight efforts to abuse and thwart the free market, perhaps. But no, if you come to me with news that somewhere, somehow, there’s a child who is horrendously covered with health insurance, I’m not going to go nuts and mobilize to try to get the child un-covered.
This is a common confusion — the one between the helping of people…and the eradication of choice in doing that.
Kristoff doesn’t understand this, I don’t think, but he’s done a great job of defining exactly what our modern liberalism is trying to do. It is a round-robin exercise. See, you may be a decent fellow, but your decency, as of now, is unproven…so you prove what a decent human being you are, by coming together to help pass legislation to force programs down the throats of others, your neighbors, and yourself. Which raises the minimal requirements up to the level of decency you’re performing. Which, in turn…leaves it unproven whether you’re a decent person or not.
What’s it all about? It’s about Thing I Know #32:
There are a lot of people walking around among us who like to re-define the baseline obligations carried by others, particularly toward them, simply because they find it painful to say “thank you”.
They find it painful.
They find it frightening. Beyond measure.
And anyone with any experience in human relations at all, has at one time or another met someone like this. The law requires you to give him a cup of sugar. You give him two. He mumbles not a single word of gratitude, just something about how you were s’poseda do that anyway, and instead lobbies for a new law requiring you to give him two cups.
People like me are genuinely grateful toward the men and women serving in our armed forces, and regularly say positive things about how much it means that they’re in Afghanistan and Iraq, doing the work that they do. But people like me, did not serve; and so you haven’t long to wait before a liberal goo-gooder anti-war loudmouth calls us “chickenhawks.” To which, if we deign to rejoin, we produce all manner of perfectly sensible arguments. My favorite is that if you can’t appreciate the work done by the armed forces unless you’ve served, then you can’t appreciate anything anybody does unless you’ve personally acquired a history of actually doing it. So I shouldn’t even be typing this unless I’ve spent a chunk of my life building keyboards. You shouldn’t be reading it unless it’s listed in your resume that you’ve built monitors, or printers.
Now, people like me, when the time comes for our liberals to clamor for higher taxes or more lavish (mandatory) health care plans…like to ask the snarky question…after you’ve settled your bill with the IRS, Mister Liberal, how much extra do you pay out to the Department of the Treasury? Since it is of such a vexing concern to you that the public debt is snowballing under FaPoBuAd (failed policies of the Bush administration)? What check number was that, and more importantly, how big was it?
To which, if liberal and non-liberal were symmetrical, one would expect we’d get a solid answer or two.
Or at least a coherent argument why we shouldn’t be asking.
A well-thought-out rhetorical question, perhaps?
No, in response to that, we don’t get jack squat.
That’s because being a liberal isn’t about raising revenues to meet expenses. Or covering children with healthcare plans, or raising them to some standard of living, or even a relative one, improved over their status quo by a notch or two. It isn’t about feeding people. It isn’t about retirement plans. It isn’t about a humble foreign policy, earning respect around the world, getting rid of all these guns lying around, womens’ choice, womens’ dignity, getting Christopher Reeve outta that wheelchair, nuanced thinking, making Europe like us moar better, finding cures to AIDS, curing the planet’s global warming fever, tolerating people of different skin colors or sexual preferences or religious creeds.
It’s about the eradication of choice.
It’s about that, because some people find it horrifying to be put in the position of having to thank someone. For something that other person did, that they weren’t being forced to do.
Mr. Kristoff, those studies will continue to turn out the way they always have. For as long as your fingers can type away at something, for as long as mine can, until these fingers have withered away to bone and then to dust. It is a timeless human flaw — some of us have the capacity to be genuinely grateful, while others, because of their upbringing or inner demons, are missing this.
They want baseline obligations to be adjusted, so they’re never put in the position of having to say thanks. And meaning it. It’s too frightening for them.
Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes