The book, "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism " by Arthur Brooks, has some interesting conclusions.
From Arthur Brooks' web page:
People who are religious give more across the board to all causes than their non-religious counterparts
There is a huge “charity gap” that follows religion: On average, religious people are far more generous than secularists with their time and money. This is not just because of giving to churches—religious people are more generous than secularists towards explicitly non-religious charities as well. They are also more generous in informal ways, such as giving money to family members, and behaving honestly.
Giving supports economic growth and actually creates prosperity
Many studies show that giving and volunteering improve physical health and happiness, and lead to better citizenship. In other words, we need to give for our own good. Cultural and political influences—and the many government policies—that discourage private charitable behavior have negative effects that are far more widespread than people usually realize.
The working poor in America give more to charity than the middle class
The American working poor are, relative to their income, some of the most generous people in America today. The nonworking poor, however—those on public assistance instead of earning low wages—give at lower levels than any other group. In other words, poverty does not discourage charity in America, but welfare does.
Upper level income people often give less than the working poor
Among Americans with above-average incomes who do not give charitably, a majority say that they ‘don’t have enough money.’ Meanwhile, the working poor in America give a larger percentage of their incomes to charity than any other income group, including the middle class and rich.
People who give money charitably are 43 percent more likely to say they are “very happy” than nongivers and 25 percent more likely than nongivers to say their health is excellent or very good.
A religious person is 57% more likely than a secularist to help a homeless person.
Conservative households in America donate 30% more money to charity each year than liberal households.
If liberals gave blood like conservatives do, the blood supply in the U.S. would jump by about 45%.
I've always thought that much of the support for "tax payer financed programs for the poor" were an attempt to avoid guilt for lack of personal generosity. True generosity is what you do with your money, not someone else's.
There is a theory in psychology that people feel uncomfortable in inequitable relationships. There are two ways to relieve the discomfort. Change what you do or change how you think about it. It is much easier to change how you think about it, so that is the option most people choose. Voting for more funding for the poor at the taxpayers expense alleviates feelings of guilt without requiring the individual actually do anything for the poor. This study bares that out.
I do think there is another category of people who support governmental income redistribution. Such individuals can be very generous, but arrogantly assume they know what is best for others. Thomas Sowell describes this phenomenon in his book, "Vision of the Anointed." Such people believe that by making life easier for non-producers at the expense of the producers, more people will prosper. The reverse is actually true.
I'm reminded of an example I read in a book. If you crack the shell of an egg to make it easier for the chick to hatch, the chick will usually die. The struggle to break the shell is what develops the circulatory system and makes the chick strong enough to survive. This is why much of welfare "help" actually harms the individual. The aided individual looses the capacity to do for oneself.
Like the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”
This relates to education. Our entire public education system is based on, "Give a man a fish, and tell him that only professionals with certificates are qualified to fish."
I can not tell how many times someone has said to me, "That's great that you homeschool, but I could never do that."
My response is, "Yes, you could."
Almost all functioning adults could care for and educate their children, if they choose to put in the effort to do so. It is a tragedy that capable adults now believe that it is impossible to care for children without the aid of the state. Increasingly, schools take on the role the parents once served. The more that parents are relieve of their responsibilities, the weaker they become. Eventually, potentially able parents find that even if they wanted to take an active role, they are afraid to try.
Regardless of how good schools become, children will go home to increasingly incompetent parents as the "education system" lulls parents into inefficacy, much as the current welfare system sabotages the poor.
Hat Tip: Spunky Homeschool.
Related Tags: Conservative, liberal, Arthur C. Brooks, Christianity, culture, welfare, Thomas Sowell, Vision of the Annointed