Monday, December 22, 2008

What is Generosity?

An interesting piece written by self-professed liberal Nicholas Kristof in the Saturday New York Times makes the remarkable accusation that liberals are 'tightwads'. At least when it comes to spending their own money. Several studies cited show that conservatives tend to give significantly more of their personal income to charitable organizations than liberals do.

Seems that the political Left is very generous when it comes to spending someone else's money (mine), and it frequently gives the appearance of compassion because of its insistence on taxpayer funded programs for the poor.

To be fair, one place I break from Republicans and political conservatives is in my belief that as a society we have a responsibility to the needy among us.

But what I'm getting at here is the hypocrisy of the Left in casting their ideological opponents as uncaring and greedy scrooges when in fact it is they who are cheapskates in their personal lives.

I think Christmas is a good time for all of us to reassess where our money goes.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To be fair, one place I break from Republicans and political conservatives is in my belief that as a society we have a responsibility to the needy among us."

I don't think that political conservatives and or Republicans believe differntly than you do.

You cited the statistics yourself. Conservatives and Republicans give...more!

Believeing we have a responsibility and forcing others to do it, are two different things.

December 22, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm actually with you, I think.

I am both a conservative and a Republican, just with an asterisk, I guess.

I agree that most conservatives and Republicans actually DO care, as evidenced by their personal giving, despite how we are portrayed in the media.

What I meant by that statement ("as a society") is that I support some form of social safety net. I believe there is a corporate responsibility of a citizenry - even a secular one - to care for those among it who cannot care for themselves.

Walter Williams did a good piece on comparing using our taxes to support those in need to the government forcing me to mow my elderly neighbor's lawn, and I generally agree with his point. The government shouldn't be the arbiter of those things.

But where that breaks down is when there are many people in need and many people who have means to help and actually want to, how is that organized?

So I guess my philosophy is not a neat systematic political ideology. I am generally conservative - I believe in small government - but I see our corporate need to care for the needy among us, which currently is handled by the government. I know... that's a bit of a contradiction.

Thing is, the Church talks about helping the poor, and in many ways is doing a great job, but still is failing to address the whole scope of the problem.

What do we do?

Part of me says focus on the gospel, work locally for things like justice and serving the needy, support Christian relief organizations that have a global focus, and let our tax dollars do their job, but I know that has its problems too.

Definitely a vexing issue.

Nonetheless, I agree totally with your last sentence.

December 22, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous steve martin said...


Good points.

Churches and other private means are best (to help those in need).

Evidence of govt. ineptness is all around us and is seen in every large city.

Good post, Steve. Something we should all think about and do our best to pitch in where we can.

Take care and God bless!

December 22, 2008 at 2:05 PM  
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