Compassionate Liberals?

A new book Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks looks into the idea that liberals are more compassionate than conservatives and finds some startling facts.

Wilfred M. McClay writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:

By consulting a wide range of metrics, ranging from rates of charitable giving to hours of volunteer work donated, Mr. Brooks concludes that four distinct forces appear to have primary responsibility for making people behave charitably: religion, skepticism about the government’s role in economic life, strong families and personal entrepreneurship. Those Americans who have all four, or at least three, are much more likely to behave charitably than those who do not.

The correlations are strong and unmistakable. For example, people who attend houses of worship regularly are 25% more likely to give and 23% more likely to volunteer, and the religious give away four times the amounts of money that the secular do. Working families without welfare support give three times as much to charity as do welfare families with the same total income. Conservative households give 30% more to charity than liberal households. Redistributionist liberals give about a fourth of what redistributionist skeptics give. And perhaps most interesting of all, in states in which George W. Bush got more than 60% of the 2004 vote, charitable giving averaged 3.5% of income, as compared with states in which Mr. Bush got less than 40% of the vote, in which the giving averaged a mere 1.9% of income.

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