11/20/2006

A Great Article

(ht: Shane)

This article is so good that I have reprinted the entire thing below. My husband says it all the time: liberals like to accuse conservatives of the negative things that they are guilty of themselves


Eva's got it wrong
David Frum, National Post

You'll never know who will turn up in Washington to talk politics. On Wednesday, the city was graced by actress Eva Longoria, the sultry star of ABC's Desperate Housewives. Addressing an audience of Latino business leaders, she explained the wide appeal of her show: "Everyone on Wisteria Lane has the money of a Republican, but the sex life of a Democrat."
It's a pretty good joke -- but very poor sociology.
Over the past 15 years, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who have emerged as the party of upper-income America. In 2000, Al Gore beat George Bush among the 4% of voters who described themselves to exit pollsters as "upper class." In 2004, John Kerry won nine of the 10 richest zip codes in the United States.
As for sex -- well, it turns out that it's Republican (and especially Republican women) who have it more often and better. The two strongest predictors of Republican affiliation in America are (1) marriage and (2) church attendance. These are also the strongest predictors of female sexual satisfaction. The authoritative 1995 University of Chicago survey Sex in America found that conservative Protestant married women were the group most likely to report that they "nearly always" orgasmed during sex. Married women of all religions were almost twice as likely as unmarried women to describe their sex lives as "extremely satisfying."
So if offered the choice, reader, you'd be wiser to choose Democratic money and Republican sex.
And yet, somehow the joke would not be very funny that way would it? Stereotypes overwhelm even the strongest facts.
Here's another stereotype, even deeper and more enduring than Longoria's: Liberals are more compassionate than conservatives. Certainly, this is a view deeply held by liberals themselves. Yet the truth is exactly the opposite.
Next week, Basic Books will publish an astonishing new volume by Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks: Who Really Cares. Prof. Brooks reviews the vast academic literature on charitable giving and arrives at a startling conclusion: By virtually every measure, political conservatives are demonstrably more generous, more honest and more public-spirited than political liberals.
Consider for example this one fundamental liberal/conservative dividing line, the question "Do you believe the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality?" In a major 1996 survey, 33% of Americans gave the liberal answer, "yes"; 43% gave the conservative answer, "no."
Those who gave the conservative answer were more likely to give to charity than those who gave the liberal answer. And when they gave, they gave much more: an average of four times as much as liberal givers.
Correct for income, age and other variables, and you find that people who want government to fight inequality are 10 points less likely to give anything at all -- and when they did give, they gave US$263 per year less than a right-winger of exactly the same age earning exactly the same money.
A second survey, this one conducted in 2002, found that people who believe that "people should take care of themselves" accounted for 25% of the population -- but gave 31% of America's blood.
"To put this in perspective," Brooks says, "if the whole population gave blood like opponents of social spending do, the blood supply would increase by more than a quarter. But if everyone in the population gave like government-aid advocates, the supply would drop by about 30%."
A third survey found that people who believe that the government "spends too much on welfare" were more likely to give directions to someone on the street, return extra change to a cashier, or to give food or money to a homeless person.
A fourth found that a poor family that worked for its income donated three times as much money as a family that received an exactly equal income from welfare.
It's almost a psychological rule: The more you espouse "compassion" in your politics, the more likely you are to be selfish in your personal behaviour.
How often do we hear the generosity of Europe contrasted to the "savage individualism" of the United States? Yet Americans give vastly more to charity: per person, more than twice as much as the Spanish, more than three times as much as the French, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians.
Despite working an average of 400 hours more per year than their European counterparts, Americans are 15 percentage points more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 points more likely to volunteer than the Swiss and 32 points more likely to volunteer than Germans. (Indeed, 80% of Germans never volunteer their time for any cause at all.)
If we must have stereotypes, let's at least have accurate ones. Not only are conservatives sexier than liberals -- they are kinder too.

1 comment:

Edie said...

Mr. Frum put some teeth to what we knew to be true all along! A very good column which I hope the liberals will "sink their teeth into."

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