Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

Why do conservatives donate more money to charity than liberals?

Asked by nikipedia (27531points) May 3rd, 2010

A book published in 2006 by economist Arthur Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, detailed the evidence that conservatives are more generous than liberals. They are more likely to donate money, time, and even blood.

While most of the sources I can find discussing this have a decidedly conservative slant (George Will, John Stossel, Human Events), the data are the data, and it does not surprise me that liberals are not jumping at the chance to discuss this. In fact, I was surprised not to find a thorough liberal debunking, which gives this even more traction in my mind.

So unless you can provide a source showing that this is not factually accurate, let’s proceed on the assumption that it is. What I’d like to know is: why is this the case? I was under the impression that conservatives generally thought the free market will take care of everything and that if people are poor it’s because they’re lazy and they deserve it. So why are they so eager to help out the downtrodden?

Is this a wake-up call to liberals? Should we be more conscientious in our individual efforts to help the less fortunate?

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83 Answers

poofandmook's avatar

@nikipedia: Do you happen to know if there’s another study that compares the average incomes between the two? That was my first thought… but maybe that’s because Big Oil is pissing me off and we all know who runs that and how much money they make.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Because they have more money to give.

nikipedia's avatar

@poofandmook: That was controlled for in the data in Professor Brook’s book:

Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

gailcalled's avatar

In my personal experience, the Jewish community is very generous. It’s a tenet of the faith and called Tzedakah. Source.

Traditionally, in the first part of the 20th century, Jews (and not necessarily wealthy ones) left their back doors unlocked in order to welcome and assist the newly arrived immigrants. It was part of my first set of in-laws collective consciousness.

poofandmook's avatar

@nikipedia: well then, that shoots that idea. They’re not counting corporate donations in the stats?

gailcalled's avatar

I am hardly loaded, but I give a lot more than $1600/year to charities of my choice. Yesterday, I bought 6 beautiful summer tees in flower colors at the local thrift shop for $25 dollars. They look new, they act new, they smell new. At LLBeans, it would have been $100 plus tax and S & H.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have heard of this before and of the book, as well. I remember reading this criticism which gets to the nitty-gritty and speaks to comparisons between liberals to moderates (liberals give more) and conservatives to moderates (no significant difference). I agree with the criticism in that opposing these two groups by Brooks clearly points to his agenda of polarization.

nikipedia's avatar

@poofandmook: Nope, this is based on household finances.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: It looks to me like that article is saying the hierarchy of generousness is:

conservatives > liberals > moderates

So throwing in the moderates is sort of a red herring—it has no bearing on the fact that any way you slice it, conservatives are giving more than liberals.

(The 0.10 alpha level gives me pause, though. Not sure how he could justify that.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I am not saying it isn’t true, I am just pointing out a criticism. I think numbers can be manipulated and so can stats, you know this. However, if conservatives (however that’s defined) do donate more the liberals, I’d like to know to what, because I’d bet it’s for religious purposes more and so forth and that doesn’t make me feel any better about them (that’s my bias). Further, I think they might be more inclined to give to charity and think that’s enough to help out society whereas liberals are more about raising taxes and having it be spread evenly and less about giving to charity.

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: I appreciate your analysis but I tried to specifically say in my question that I was not interested in debunking this, or showing why it’s not true (unless you have a credible source that can back it up). We can sit here and “what if” the studies all day but if I was interested in talking about the limitations of these studies, I would have asked about that. What I am interested in discussing is the specific question I asked, which I guess we can now modify:

Assuming these data are correct and trustworthy, why do conservatives donate more money to charity than liberals?

wilma's avatar

@nikipedia you said, “I was under the impression that conservatives generally thought the free market will take care of everything and that if people are poor it’s because they’re lazy and they deserve it. So why are they so eager to help out the downtrodden?”
I guess that what you thought was wrong.
I think conservative people like to give their money and their time to the charities and people of their own choosing. They like to think that their money is going to actually help people and animals or whatever, and not in the hands of some bureaucrat to dispense as he or she pleases.
I am not at all surprised by these facts as presented.

marinelife's avatar

If you take giving to religious organizations out of the mix (which is counted as charitable giving in the studies cited), things even out a lot more.

robmandu's avatar

@nikipedia wrote, “I was under the impression that conservatives generally thought the free market will take care of everything and that if people are poor it’s because they’re lazy and they deserve it.”

That is precisely not what conservatives think. That’s what many liberals say that conservatives think.

Conservatives want to give their money, time, and blood to charitable causes. Not have it taken and redistibuted by the government. Many liberals argue that it’s the ends, not the means… and as long as the “means” is government, and not stupid people worshiping some fellow with a beard in the sky who want to act as individuals.

The desire to act (and give) as an individual is a defining trait of the conservative. The idea that I personally know how my money can best contribute to the welfare of my local community instead of some government official hundreds or thousands of miles away

If my characterization is correct, then it seems plausible to me to think that liberals believe government entitlement programs – funded by our taxes – already are charitable. And in that regard then, they’re already contributing their fair share to those less fortunate simply by paying their taxes. Hence, they need not contribute as much individually. It’s not necessarily that liberals care less, it’s just how the money is being counted.

nikipedia's avatar

@marinelife: For the third time, I would really appreciate this thread not being derailed by debunking theories, especially without a credible source.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I gave you an answer, just ignore the first sentence
@robmandu That’s definitely partly what I was trying to say.

wilma's avatar

I know that many religious organizations do a lot of wonderful charity work, without any religious stipulations at all. The food pantry that I volunteer for, is run by many combined churches working together. There is no religious criteria for our giving out food, only need.

robmandu's avatar

@marinelife, why do you think people contribute money to religious organizations, exactly?

It’s not to pay for an exalted lifestyle of the pastoral staff. It’s not to pay for land and building of the church/synagogue/mosque/temple.

The point of a religious organization is outreach. Since I’m most familiar with Christian churches, I’ll speak to that. The money that comes in is primarily intended to help those less fortunate in the community and abroad.

People donate their time to bring and have lunch with schoolkids in depressed areas who might not have something to eat or someone to share it with. They send their money overseas to dig wells in the Sudan. They volunteer time to help rescue underage girls from the sex industry. They donate entire Thanksgiving meals to families who can’t afford it. The list goes on into so many varied areas and geographies, it’s impossible to enumerate them all.

So… if you “take… religious organizations out of the mix” then you’re taking what is likely the vast majority of good work out as well.

Silhouette's avatar

I give to individuals not to organizations so my contributions don’t get recorded.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@robmandu That can’t be the whole picture. I’ve known Christians who will not give to Christian charities because they claim there is no transparency and that it does go elsewhere. Check this out. And this.

JLeslie's avatar

I would be curious to know if any of it has to do with education level? I do think religiousity must play into it also. The more religious maybe the more you give, and I don’t mean just to church organizations. It is psychological part of it, but also the religious are more indoctrined into thinking a certain percentage of their income is to be given away. I also think maybe the more educated worry more about their own future/retirement, paying for education for their children. I’m just throwing ideas out there.

I have a friend who talked about how tough it was for him to go to college and worked crazy jobs to pay for it. He did not finish college in the end. He had grown up fairly poor in TN. During this same conversation he bragged about how his mother gave money every year to St Jude’s hospital (a wonderful facility). Anyway, I said, “well maybe it would have been more prudent for your mom to help you pay for college and not give to St. Jude’s for a few years.”

So, I am going on the assumption that conservatives generally are more religious, which makes sense right now with the bible belt identifying primarily as conservative. Although, the African American population in the south tend to be very religious, they also tend to be Democrats, and from what I understand the poor are much more likely to give a larger percentage of their income to charity than the wealthy, but again I think that has something to do with religion, because I think the poor are probably more likely to be religious. Also, you use conservative and liberal, and the African American population identifies socially conservative, so I am not sure how they would be counted.

Also, right now the Republicans around me seem to be hell bent on pointing out that they give to charity, that they don’t need to pay taxes to help the poor, that they help the poor through private organizations.

Qingu's avatar

I imagine it’s because more conservatives donate “tithes” to their churches.

I don’t really think that should really count as “charity,” personally.

robmandu's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, plus there have been plenty of scandals… and that doesn’t help.

But that’s not my point. If I put money in the offering plate at my church, I know it’s going to go “somewhere”. Some might go to missions. Some to local outreach. Some to the building fund. Some to the pastor’s salary. Some to insurance. Some for the light bill.

Nor was I trying to say that people who practice religion put all of their money into the church. Personally, I donate to dozen or so different entities over the course of a year. Some religious, some secular, and in my individual opinion, all worthwhile.

The transparency of a particular charity’s money trail is something I evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

nikipedia's avatar

Guys, I implore you. I asked repeatedly not to derail this thread into debunking the study. Whether religious donations “count” or not (between @marinelife, @robmandu, @Simone_De_Beauvoir, and @wilma) is exactly the kind of conversation I wanted to avoid. This is the fourth time I am asking you—please answer the question I asked rather than talking about what are essentially problems of study design.

And @Qingu, same thing. Please. Please. Please. If you have nothing to contribute to the actual topic AND you are making an aimless guess with nothing to back up your theory, please just don’t comment.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia Okay, now I’m just confused as to what you’re asking, overall. We are discussing implications/reasons why just like you said assuming the information is true. Am I missing something?

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: I am asking why conservatives donate more money to charity than liberals. Believe it or not, the issues that have been raised so far (maybe they have more money; maybe their donations are all to the church rather than “real” charities) have been controlled for in the research I’m talking about.

What I want to know is what compels conservatives to give to charity and why do liberals not have the same compulsion at the same rate.

Qingu's avatar

@nikipedia, whether or not conservatives’ charity is concentrated on church donations would go a long way towards answering the question you posed. I don’t understand why you think it’s irrelevant.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia Right, and I thought @robmandu and I put forth a good hypothesis in saying that it’s because they’d rather give to charity and liberals would rather advocate for taxes and consider that to be the same.

poofandmook's avatar

@nikipedia: maybe it is still due to religion, even if the donations aren’t going to the church. The Christian religion itself calls on people to give to those less fortunate. The control was donations to the church, but you can’t track because of the church. That was my first guess after my other ones (income, corporate donations) were ruled out.

robmandu's avatar

A pessimistic conservative theory might be:

Liberals blame corporations and the rich for the majority of problems in today’s society. They don’t see it as their fault, so why should they give of themselves personally? Instead, government should intervene to set things right… to punish the fat cats by taking their money and giving it to the poor and disenfranchised who are only in that position because they were put there by the greed of others.

Factotum's avatar

In a general sense I think a lot of Conservatives, when they consider that some people are suffering will think, ‘someone should do something, why not me?’ while Liberals will think, ‘everyone should do something, why not through taxes?’.

poofandmook's avatar

maybe it’s also because the southern states are so chock-full of conservatives, and charity is “the Southern way”? That might be a stretch, but it made sense in my head.

Qingu's avatar

But if conservatives’ charity donations are greater largely because of tithing (many evangelical churches demand people give 10% of their income to the church), then a desire to help the downtrodden has nothing to do with it.

“Charity” in this case would simply be membership dues.

I’m sure there are lots of conservatives who want to donate their money to the downtrodden. I’m sure there are lots of liberals who do too. But until we get some grainier numbers, I don’t think it makes sense to draw any conclusions from this study other than religious people tend to give money to religious institutions.

JLeslie's avatar

It would be interesting to know more about the average incomes. Like if Conservatives are more heavily poor and rich, and the liberals are more middle class? Mean Averages can sometimes not allow the full explanation.

gemiwing's avatar

Most conservatives I know believe that giving should be a personal choice and not dictated by the government- possibly linked to the belief of religious doing of good deeds by choice.

Most liberals I know believe that government has the obligation of taking care of all citizens and we should all chip in (usually via taxes).

This disparity in belief could be the reason that his research might be correct. This is all I can say without questioning anything in the study itself.

Factotum's avatar

@Qingu Give it up, dude. Churches don’t monitor donations and they sure as hell don’t garnish your wages or jail you if you don’t cough up the money. Churches also pass out collection plates for additional money to go to specific causes. You might just as well say that anyone who gives charitably is only in it for the tax write-off.

That misses the point which is that Conservatives give more than Liberals and what is being explored (not “concluded”) is why that might be.

wilma's avatar

@nikipedia I thought that I did answer the question that you asked.
“I think conservative people like to give their money and their time to the charities and people of their own choosing. They like to think that their money is going to actually help people and animals or whatever, and not in the hands of some bureaucrat to dispense as he or she pleases.
I am not at all surprised by these facts as presented”.

Why am I being scolded?

liminal's avatar

@nikipedia what did the book suggest?

wundayatta's avatar

I would be interested in looking at the tax plus charity burden. I think liberals believe it is the state’s job to help those who need help. Conservatives think it is their job. So conservatives like low taxes, which leaves them more to give in the fashion they see fit.

If the state does the charity, then a faceless, unaccountable bureaucrat is providing the service. Few people trust them. However, much of the time, the bureaucrats hire private companies to provide the services.

It’s a theory. It’s what you asked for.

Nullo's avatar

Because we conservatives are actually pretty nice people, and not the eeeevil bogeymen that we are portrayed to be? :D

This reminds me of a statistic that someone posted around here, oh, five months ago or so, that showed people of lower income being more likely to donate to charity than the wealthy, and that the number-one excuse made by the wealthy for not donating was “they can’t afford it.”

Also, you guys, it’s important to remember that Conservative =\= Republican. Adam Sandler is a Republican, but he is, AFAIK, in no way a conservative.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s pretty much stating the obvious here. Liberals want to redistribute money as long as it’s not theirs and Conservatives enjoy the thrill and “warm fuzzies” of being able to choose who and how much of their excess cash to donate.

DominicX's avatar

This is why I like my parents so much. They’re wealthy and Catholic—two things that should guarantee being a conservative Republican and yet they’re liberal Democrats and they donate all the time (and yes, some of that is church-affiliated).

For some reason, these statistics don’t surprise me and I’m not exactly sure why that is. But it seems that even though conservatives like to hold onto their money, most of them are pretty generous when it comes to charities. I think @gemiwing has it right, though. GA.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

I have a hard time believing that liberals make more money than conservatives. Most corporate leaders are conservative and they certainly make more money than social workers and teachers who are more predominately liberal. If you just look at the type of jobs people in these categories more typically have then it seems like this would be false data. I’m really stunned by this and am having a hard time believing it is true.

DominicX's avatar


How are they measuring “liberal” and “conservative”?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@DominicX You might be onto something. That is a good question.

gailcalled's avatar

Assuming these data are correct and trustworthy, why do conservatives donate more money to charity than liberals?

Why would you make that assumption without really good data to back it up? Discussing supposition makes no sense to me.

robmandu's avatar

[ Poor @nikipedia, if nothing else, take heart that people here question the meaning and interpretation of statistical polls which are so often taken out of their proper context. Critical thinking is a good thing, even should it derail our intended Fluther discussion. ]

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @DominicX we need to know how they are determining whether someone is conservative or liberal. Just out of self identification. Like I mentioned many democrats consider themselves conservative. I am fairly fiscally conservative and I am a Dem. But, I would identify myself as a liberal, because my liberal social stance is much more important to me than money in my pocket.

I found @Nullo answer interesting, because I think it goes along with what I said, conservatives feel good about being able to say they are not selfish by talking about their charitable contributions. It is their proof that they are good people. Don’t get me wrong, I think being charitable is a wonderful thing, but it seems there is more psychological pressure on the religious conservative to give. I think the pressure is from within their own communities. Or, maybe they feel pressure from liberals, but honestly, as a liberal I can tell them that I don’t know anyone who thinks conservatives or the religious are bad people.

Also, Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227). The difference between $1600 to $1227 is not that much money is it? The 30% makes it seem like a much higher number than the actual dollar amount. Let’s say the average income is $60K for Conservative and $63.6K for Liberals. I mean really are the statistics meaningful enough for Conservatives to be bragging? Do you know the actual average incomes? I think that is Conservatives giving 2.6% and Liberals giving 1.9%, with my numbers, if my math is right, and my numbers are totally made up, and are they using net income or gross, which would matter also. If conservatives have more children on average they have more tax deductions possibly, changing the income number. I think we have to question how the numbers are gathered @nikipedia

nikipedia's avatar

@robmandu: Critical thinking is great, but so are reading comprehension skills. I asked a very specific question that almost none of the respondents actually answered, which has been an increasingly large problem here.

I hate that any question that is based on something empirically-derived (i.e., a research study) is torn apart by armchair “scientists” who seem to think they’re going to find a confound in the study that the people who performed the study missed or ignored. If I had asked the same question as if it was just idle speculation without citing a source, maybe we could have gotten somewhere with this conversation.

And usually the points that people are raising are addressed explicitly in the studies cited, which no one bothers to read before criticizing.

In general, in life, I absolutely think people should think for themselves and determine if they buy a given interpretation of a given data set. That’s great. But I asked repeatedly that for the purposes of this question, we take that as a given so that we could have a productive conversation about the specific topic I was curious about.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think that it’s pressure, at least not from where I’m at. I’m naturally a very generous person wrapped in a fairly cynical sweater: I scoff at donating to causes, but I’ll pay for your lunch without hesitation and help with your gas bill if I know you enough.

Qingu's avatar

@Factotum, I’m not really sure what your point is. I understand that donating money to church is not the same as paying a government taxes; however, the OP asked why conservatives tend to give more to charity, and the fact that many of them give huge amounts of their money to their churches in the form of what are essentially membership dues certainly goes a long way towards explaining that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I see. I am similar to you, Many of my “donations” are not recorded in any way, because it is helping a friend out, or a pay it forward spur of the moment event. But, I do find that my Republican friends, most of whom would identify conservative are quick to talk about charity, while my liberal friends talk about other things like their children’s accomplishments. I mean if there is going to be “bragging” going on. I use the term bragging loosely because I think there is nothing wrong speaking about either. I can think off the top of my head several of my Republican friends who made a point to tell me they wrote a big fat check to help Haiti when the earthquake hit, although it was in the context of people can help better than governments, which is obviously a big theme right now. And, I am speaking of the middle class, which is who I mostly interact with, could be different among different classes and groups.

nikipedia's avatar

@Qingu: How do you explain the blood donations and gifts of time?

I hate religion just as much as the next ivory tower academic liberal pinko commie socialist, but you are derailing my thread with your single-minded distaste for religion. For the… fifth time now? I ask you to please answer the question I asked rather than picking apart the study. Or go write your own question.

JLeslie's avatar

What about the idea that maybe the people who have been helped by private charity are more likely to donate? I wonder if that applies?

Qingu's avatar

Again: I don’t understand why you think I’m trying to pick apart this study. Or how my posts are not relevant answers. Perhaps it would be best if I just stopped participiating in this question.

I did not see anything in your original post about blood donations and gifts of time. I did read only one of the articles you linked to, though.

Supacase's avatar

I apologize, but I have not read every answer. My guess is the assumption that conservatives are unfeeling bastards is false. I believe they, as a whole, prefer to help out on a personal level when, where and how they want. They don’t want to be told by the government that they must do it or who they must do it for.

wilma's avatar

@Supacase I also believe that, and many others here have expressed that opinion as well. I’m not sure what else the questioner is looking for.

alive's avatar

i would be interested in knowing to what the conservatives are donating to…is it actually charities (like homless help, aides research etc) or is it more like they donate to a fellow conservative group (like an evangelical church and the like) and then use it as a tax write off?

just wondering…

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu The OP’s first paragraph in the original question speaks of donations such as blood and time.

augustlan's avatar

At the risk of upsetting you, @nikipedia, I think religion does play a role. In more ways than one.

A) Christianity does teach you to help your fellow man. It’s a basic tenet of the religion. For those raised in the church, it’s probably second nature.

B) Churches routinely collect donations, and it is personally embarrassing if you add nothing to the collection plate. Everyone can see what you’re giving (or not). Not all of these donations go to the church, either. If the church calls for donations to Haiti, you give. I don’t think those types of donations would be counted as religious donations, and therefore wouldn’t be adjusted for in the study.

C) Churches also sponsor many causes, asking for volunteers. Be it a blood drive or a Habitat for Humanity build, they organize the event and publicly call for volunteers. Aside from the personal embarrassment of not volunteering (again, in front of everyone), there’s also the ease of it. One needn’t go looking for volunteer opportunities, they come right to you! You’ll also be in the company of good friends while doing good. It’s not an individual endeavor, but a community one. Another fellowship experience. Oh, and don’t forget the pancake breakfasts, cake walks, and bake sales. Volunteers run them, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

Qingu's avatar

@JLeslie, so it does.

Well now I feel like a dumbass.

I’d still like to see more specific numbers though.

wilma's avatar

@augustlan so very well said. Lurve.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie It’s probably subcultural, or even personal, rather than class-based. If money is important to you, that’s what you talk about.

Churches routinely collect donations, and it is personally embarrassing if you add nothing to the collection plate. Everyone can see what you’re giving (or not).

Never been the case at any of the churches that I’ve been to. A lot of people tithe by check.

nikipedia's avatar

@augustlan: Thanks for your answer. I don’t think you’re capable of upsetting me!

I think you raise some very good points about religion. At the risk of splitting hairs, what I was trying to avoid was the claim that the study didn’t “count” because conservatives are just donating to their churches. I think you raise some very good and helpful points about how religion itself can be a motivator… which is a very different argument.

Supacase's avatar

@alive i would be interested in knowing to what the conservatives are donating to…is it actually charities (like homless help, aides research etc) or is it more like they donate to a fellow conservative group (like an evangelical church and the like) and then use it as a tax write off?

Well, within the last year, I have personally donated money to the local food bank, the rescue mission, the Salvation Army and pretty much any store that asks if I want to give $1 to _______. I have given my time to the rescue mission (painted the kitchen), am planning to help at the zoo on a couple of weeks and am working with another couple of women to set up a trike-a-thon for St. Jude’s and I just finished weeks of work organizing a car seat safety check and child ID clinic. I have also been on the executive board of a non-profit for the last three years.

Not one dime has gone into a collection plate and the only tax write-off I had was my piddly receipts for donations to Goodwill. I doubt we are upper or even middle middle class and I am an agnostic.

Maybe I am atypical, but maybe I am not. Therein lies the danger in lumping people together. I consider myself a conservative, btw, if I must choose. I don’t fit neatly into any category, but very few people do.

alive's avatar

i don’t think i was lumping anyone. but i do think it is a little atypical to be an agnostic conservative (so good for you).

wilma's avatar

@Supacase You are very much NOT atypical. There are so many of us out there quietly giving and trying to help others just like you do.
That is why I believe the study that @nikipedia cited. There is nothing at all unusual about folks helping each other and being unselfish with their time, money and even blood. I’m working on giving my 5th gallon.
What I don’t understand is why she (@nikipedia) doesn’t seem to want to hear or believe our answers to her question. Just because someone told you that conservatives were selfish, doesn’t make it so.

Factotum's avatar

@Qingu ‘I don’t really think that should really count as “charity,” personally.’

Your answer seems to be that tithing isn’t giving and therefore conservatives don’t really give more money to charity.

You are welcome to say that church pressure explains why conservatives give more than liberals. You are not welcome to say that such giving is in some way invalid.

JLeslie's avatar

@Factotum I am guessing @Qingu, although I cannot speak for him I am really speaking for myself, is saying that money which goes to support the church, like paying salaries to clergy and maintaining church grounds, etc, is not the same as giving to charity as giving to the poor, cancer, etc. Money given to the church to maintain the church is more like a business.

@all I agree with @augustlan I believe there is peer pressure to give in churches. I have not been in many churches, but even I feel bad when I don’t give, and I am not even their faith, I am there to accompany a family member or friend. Honestly, I have never seen someone not put money in that basket when it is passed around, but I have not been in chruch very often.

6rant6's avatar

My credulity is strained by the notion that someone purports to KNOW whether conservatives or liberals give more blood. What, the Red Cross has a check box? []Conservative []Liberal.

Or maybe they ask people how generous they are, how much they donate, how often they give blood. Not a very unbiased approach, do you think? The Conservative arguement is basically, “I earned what I have. You have to earn yours, not be given it.” It seems to me that people who believe that could be overstating their “goodness”. It’s kind of the basis of the Puritan philosophy – “I have what I have because God gave it to me. If he likes me, I must be a superior person.” I think it reeks, personally, but I think that’s the idea.

Factotum's avatar

@6rant6 I do not know how the data was gathered, obviously the Red Cross doesn’t demand to know the political philosophy of those who give blood. Regardless, we should either assume the information is legitimate peer-reviewed data or find evidence that it isn’t.

I don’t know of any Christian teaching that suggests that God gives money to those he favors. Indeed, Jesus said, ”...I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Being thankful for good fortune of any variety is not the same as feeling entitled to it.

6rant6's avatar

@Factotum “we should either assume the information is legitimate peer-reviewed data or find evidence that it isn’t ”

That’s a laughable idea. Really. Have you abandoned common sense entirely?

“I don’t know of any Christian teaching that suggests that God gives money to those he favors.”

Study up. Here’s some help:


And in case that’s too much for you to read, here’s a snippet: In the absence of such assurances from religious authority, Weber argued that Protestants began to look for other “signs” that they were saved. Calvin and his followers taught a doctrine of double predestination, in which from the beginning God chose some people for salvation and others for damnation. The inability to influence one’s own salvation presented a very difficult problem for Calvin’s followers. It became an absolute duty to believe that one was chosen for salvation, and to dispel any doubt about that: lack of self-confidence was evidence of insufficient faith and a sign of damnation. So, self-confidence took the place of priestly assurance of God’s grace.

Worldly success became one measure of that self-confidence. Luther made an early endorsement of Europe’s emerging labor divisions. Weber identifies the applicability of Luther’s conclusions, noting that a “vocation” from God was no longer limited to the clergy or church, but applied to any occupation or trade.”

I’d be much more sympathetic to the “Religious” fiscal conservatives if they decided to put these at the top of their list of things to do:

Feed the hungry
Clothe the naked
House the homeless

Instead they’re going on rentboy to find colleagues to help them relax after their grueling testimony before the state legislature. Or designing legislation to make being poor a crime.

alive's avatar

gay men are restricted from donating blood. gay men are most often liberals. studies always just focus on what they feel like. a more general question is why do conservatives and liberals have to be in competition about everything!?

DominicX's avatar


Moreover, why do we always have to divide everyone into “conservative” and “liberal”?

Nullo's avatar

@alive Because conservatives and liberals are engaged in The Great Culture War, each trying to define who we are as a nation. There is fighting on every front, largely because the Culture War has little in the way of leadership on either side, and limited strategy.

@DominicX Because conservatives and liberals are engaged in The Great Culture War, each trying to define who we are as a nation. It is important to be able to recognize your enemies and your allies.

alive's avatar

@Nullo more like people are just ass holes and no one is willing to compromise…

Nullo's avatar

@alive I think that the stakes are too high for compromise to be affordable.

alive's avatar

@Nullo i think the stakes are too high to NOT compromise! a stale mate isn’t going to help anyone

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I have to agree with @alive on this. The topic that bothers me most is the morality and family issues crap that sucks in the far right, and offends liberals. It is one thing to disagree on economics, energy, debt; but to imply liberals don’t care about family is obnoxious.

Factotum's avatar

@6rant6 Yeah, I read it all the way down to the debunking. Regardless, Calvinists are thin on the ground.

If you can demonstrate that Conservatives don’t give more than Liberals then by all means do. Otherwise answer the question (it’s at the top of the page).

gailcalled's avatar

@alive: Has enough time passed to mention that I prefer a fresh mate to a stale one?

6rant6's avatar

@Factotum Yeah, see the problem is that conservatives ASSUME they are better than other people – hence they don’t see the need to share.

The question is silly, really. Generous people give more than stingy ones. Rich people usually give more than poor. But this division by liberal and conservative is on its face unproven. “Assume I’m right until you provide proof otherwise.” Yeah, very smart.

Famous arguments that were followed by that statement: “The Jews are at fault.” “The people of Afghanistan want the US there.” “Global warning is really just a climatic cycle.”

It’s the political discussion equivalent of “So’s your old man.” Or “I know you are, but what am I”.

CaliBuddz's avatar


Global warming really is a climatic cycle. You’ve been drinking the Al’ Gore Kool-Aid. Do you believe in man-bear-pig

6rant6's avatar

@CaliBuddz Yeah, and day and night is a cycle too. However, human beings react to it. We don’t go, “Oh well it’s getting dark, it’s done that before, I guess I’ll go to sleep.” Global warming is a change we should deal with. Who gives a rat’s ass whether is cyclical or not. That’s an old argument confusing science with BLAME. I don’t care where it came from, it’s happening, and we have the power to do something. Those of us who care about people who will be living after we are gone have a responsibility to do something.

And don’t be so pigheaded that you deny a relationship between emissions and atmospheric contents and hence with the potential for global climatic change.

You don’t want to do anything about our communal problems? Fine. Just get the hell out of the way so other people can do something.

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