Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let's Do It!

We conservatives are greedy because we want to cut government spending to the poor while the compassionate liberals wish to increase taxes to help the poor. Yet it is very easy to be generous with other peoples' money which is the true nature of tax funded "compassion". The real test would be this question - - What do you do with your own money and time?

New York Times columnist Nicholas D Kristof, a confessed liberal, admits something. That when it comes to giving of their own means Conservatives are considerably more generous than liberals. Since liberals typically make more money than conservatives, if one takes actual income into account, conservatives actually give twice the percentage of their income to charitable causes as liberals do.

Now he makes a concession. A lot of conservative donations go to religious activities, that don't directly benefit the poor, but a lot of liberal donations go to museums, universities etc that mostly benefit the elites so these pretty much cancel each other out.

I am also willing to concede a point that he makes against us. Because my admiration for Ayn Rand is limited at best, I just can't bring myself to see selfishness as a virtue, I have no trouble believing that secular conservatives give less than most other groups. (Ayn Rand was a very smart, informed, and logical woman, but I think she missed a few important lessons of her Ethics class.) Still there are some very generous conservative atheists as well, but they are generous with their own money. Plus he notes, and I concede, that religious liberals tend to be very generous as well.

It's like the story of two brothers, one conservative and one liberal, come upon a family begging for food. The conservative brother takes out his own wallet and gives them enough money to eat for a few days and tells the husband about a few places that might be hiring. The liberal gives them the address of the welfare office and tells them that he is trying to increase (other peoples') taxes so that there will be money in the system for people like them (and of course he would like a well-paying job in the welfare bureaucracy himself.) Now I am not against welfare as an idea, but I am very much against no-strings-attached handouts to those who have no desire or intent to work. I am a big fan of "Workfare" as long as it's doing real work and not the government paying two men to dig a hole and the third to fill it back in.

I think of the old Disney flick Pollyanna where her grumpy, foul, hateful old aunt demonstrated her greed every Sunday by making sure that food baskets were distributed to the poor. Yes her servants did the actual work but she bought the materials and paid her servants to do it.

I am also aware of a well known limousine liberal who was lecturing a group of students and said that wealth needed to be redistributed better. A student suggested that he start with his own wealth and the limousine liberal told him "Don't be smart-ass." (I won't name him because I don't have a reference at this time.)

I believe everyone who can give should give as much as they can, and as my teachers used to say, "If it doesn't hurt you're not giving enough." Charity is an old English word for "spiritual love" and it should be based on love, not the law.

To quote the final line of Mr. Kristof's article, but I believe it applies to everyone, not just liberals.

So, even in tough times, there are ways to help. Come on liberals, redeem yourselves, and put your wallets where your hearts are. It is a challenge that conservatives too need to meet, and I need to do a better job of it myself.

I like this line too.

What I want for Christmas is a healthy competition between left and right to see who actually does more for the neediest.

Let's do it.


Blogger Gayle said...

Good point you make with this post, Shoprat, but who is going to keep track of the competition?

Seriously, I do believe conservatives would win it.


11:54 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:54 AM  
Blogger dons_mind said...

lotsa good points in that one shoprat...

12:18 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

"I am not against welfare as an idea, but I am very much against no-strings-attached handouts to those who have no desire or intent to work."

So, with that understanding, it makes great sense for the Bush Administration to be doling out billions and billions of OUR taxpayer dollars to Detroit and banking/investment institutions when ALREADY we see they are LINED UP BACK AT THE TROUGH wanting MORE FREE MONEY.

Where is the lesson to be learned in any of that? The "teaching one to fish" in any of that? The only lessons learned: "give me MORE free stuff" and "where's OUR bailout?" from everyone else.



1:01 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

BZ I have to agree with you but the bailouts fail to pass the test of "no strings attached."

1:37 PM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Very nice post for the holiday season, Shoprat.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

All that I can say is "Thank you, President Bush" for not letting our state completely melt down.
When real leadership was needed, you did not let us down.

BTW since when is a loan a bailout. It has to be paid back.

Shoprat, I do not give enough to charity. I have only paid for one cleft palate surgery ($250 100 Thanksgiving dinners ($199 Detroit rescue mission) 10 kids getting a Christmas ($25 each and $200 for the Salvation Army. I will also be paying for 100 Christmas dinners, and probably another cleft palete surgery before Dec. 31. This isn't counting the other stuff that I do like droping change into the kettle or what have you.
If you want to have a harvest, you must plant a seed. I encourage all of you, Liberal, Conservative, or Independent (like me) to give "till it hurts" like Shoprat said. Yes, I don't like to write those checks, but a day or so after they are in the mail I start to get a warm feeling.
Instead of scorn for the "liberals" in Michigan, I'd like to see other states give us a hand in getting back on our feet. We are all Americans, after all (except Dick Shelby, Bob Corker, and Mitch McConnell, who are only out for what their state or party can squeeze out of the pie at every body else's expense).

Please, no speeches about how we did it to ourselves, it's all the Uaw's fault, etc. Let's get Michigan and all of the other states back on track so that people who want to work will be able to find a job.

2:35 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

That is a lot. And it speaks well of you.

If you consider yourself liberal, take a look at what was said about religious liberals, but I thought you were independent>

4:19 PM  
Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Went to an out-of-town church this morning.

Just prior to the offering, the minister said this is the Sunday every year when 100% of the offering goes to elderly, retired ministers from this denomination who are in poor health and in need of financial assistance. I wrote a check for $100. I still feel great about several hours later, and will for a long time to come.

I also give to my own church every week, an average of $50 every Sunday, which goes toward a number of community programs they do to help people in need.

The government doesn't need to be in the social services business -- it's the people of this great nation who should be taking care of their own.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Remember also, it's not just money but time. Volunteer at the school, etc. Sometimes actions do more than money

7:42 PM  
Blogger Naumadd said...

Does anyone else find it a bit odd this focus on charity as competition rather than charity for the sake of one's own personal goals or wishes? Do you value primarily what those who receive your benefit think of you or instead primarily what those who merely observe your charity think? Both? Why? What is your genuine primary focus and why do the thoughts of mere observers matter?

If you truly value charity to others, isn't it inauthentic to focus at all on what others are doing with regard to their own personal charity and how much? What genuine concern is it of yours? Ought you not be focused on who you wish to benefit, why you wish to benefit them and how you will accomplish your personal charitable goals without unduly harming your own comfort and prosperity?

Charity isn't a competition nor is it about winning admiration from mere observers. You either can and are willing to be charitable or your are not. What others feel or think about your charity, other than those receiving it, ought to be largely irrelevant. Do you give because you genuinely value giving or because you feel pressured to do so or some other compulsion having nothing to do with those receiving benefit? How legitimate is that pressure? Is it really?

Charity to others is and can only legitimately be a personal goal whether one does it alone or through the combined efforts of many individuals. It is wrong of others or of one's culture to pressure you into behaving charitably. They have no claim to your life. You are the sole owner of you. There are, of course, plenty of arguable reasons to be charitable if one is able, however, there are no arguable reasons for pressure from others to do so against one's own wishes. Your focus ought to be on whether you genuinely have the means to benefit others, why you wish to benefit others and which others you wish to benefit. The charity or non-charity of another ought not enter into it at all, nor ought their feelings or judgment regarding your own charity or non-charity be a factor in your giving ... unless competition is your true primary motive.

Don't get me wrong, it is indeed proper you receive value in exchange for the value you contribute, however, such value in return ought to come primarily from those you benefit, NOT primarily from those outside the giver/receiver relationship.

To make charity a sport is to spit on legitimate charity, on those who produced sufficient extra value to afford giving and on those who may have need of it.

11:39 PM  
Blogger The Practicalist said...

Nice post, Shoprat.

Naumadd, I appreciate what you are saying... charity comes from the heart out of genuine concern for those who need it. I think it is proper to encourage it, although certainly not under pressure. However, I suppose that using competition to encourage donations is a different thing, since all too often, reliance solely upon people's genuine concern for the well being of their fellow man has a tendency to leave the coffers empty.

Merry CHRIST-mas, Shoprat!

12:31 AM  
Blogger Z said...

There's a shelter for people down on their luck nearby. They say "We give hand UPS, not hand OUTS"...

We can help in so many ways other than financial; donations, new clothes to make the people feel special, job suggestions, introductions to employers,..SO many things.

I say we leave competition aside and just get together and help those who need us, in any way we can. Forget political parties and just HELP somehow. Because, if we don't, everyone will be going to the government for assistance. We can't have that in doesn't work here and we have America to protect.

1:04 AM  
Blogger dmarks said...

@naumadd: "Does anyone else find it a bit odd this focus on charity as competition"

If it actually increases charity, I am sure those who receive it won't complain, and won't know the difference between nutritious meals/etc that come from competition chariity and that which comes from "deep in the heart" charity.

7:08 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

It's not unusual.

There was a competition between two radio stations in the area of Lansing Michigan a number of years ago. One played Country and the other was a Rock station. They had food bank collection boxes side by side in a number of places and the station whose boxes had the most food for the hungry got to play their style of music on the other station for an hour. Since I listened to mostly Gospel at the time I couldn't tell you which station won but it wasn't done again even though they did collect a lot of food.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

Compared to the world's neediest, most Americans are "Limousine."

We all could give more, even in this economy. I could give more if I went out to eat less. Others could give more if they canceled their cable TV.

But I personally no know one -- liberal or conservative -- who voluntarily gives so much that they find themselves seriously pinching around the sacrifice.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Have you ever seen Warren's Christmas story? If not, read it. It's a lesson in the spirit of giving and written by a true conservative whom I count as a dear friend.

Merry Christmas, Shoprat.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Shoprat, I am the guy who gives him a $20 and tells him of some places that may be hiring. I have no interest in working for the government. They already had me for four years and although I would "re-up" if they really needed me, I have no desire whatsoever to earn my daily bread from other people's taxes.
Naumadd is an admirer of
Miss Rand (whom I really think is the most selfish person who ever lived:she'd like that, I suppose).
I did not try to say "look how wonderful I am! I give all this money.
I merely threw out some really good charities that I support in the hope that maybe others who visit here might go check them out and maybe donate, too. As you can see, I am predisposed to charities that give hope to children. I give to the Detroit Rescue mission CHRISTmas and Thanksgiving because I have never had to beg for food and feel that every Christian who is fortunate enough to eat should remember that this is HIS way. I forget the exact verse, but I remember reading "If you give water to he who thirsts, the Lord sees it and approves". So please, I am NOT bragging. I even said that I am ashamed that I do not give even more.
I AM an independent. I do not give to PETA, NARAL, Greenpeace or any other far left loonies. Heck, I fight with my wife over the MI humane soc. (because they are against hunting) but she wins 'cause "if momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy". Niether do I give to the NRA or some extreme evangelical charities that denounce evolution etc.

As for W, I am just giving credit where credit is due. Yes, I think he is still one of the worst presidents in my life time, but I will be the absolute first person to praise him when he does the right thing. And thank you Dick Cheney for going on TV this weekend and publicly stating that the Congress let the big 3 and Michigan down by failing to act.

BTW- AIG did NOT have to get rid of their corp. jets, or even tell anybody what exactly they are doing with their bailout money.

5:13 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

The 'administrative' costs by private charities is a lot lower than the 'administrative' % taken by our 'servants' via the government....
Let's get government OUT of the charity business...

By the WAY..
Didn't our 'servants' in congress just get a RAISE!?

How many of you citizens got a raise this year?!

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to you you and your readers, and all the rest of my buddies A very Merry Christmas and a very Happy and a healthy New Year to come for 2009.

8:59 AM  
Blogger I.H.S. said...

Shoprat, once again I enjoyed your post.


1:48 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Thank you -shoprat- for all of your insight-filled posts and comments..

6:07 PM  
Blogger NEO, SOC said...

Merry Christmas!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Average American said...

I get as much pleasure from giving as the receiver does. How can I lose? Don't give because you think you have to, give because you want to! Merrry Christmas!

2:43 AM  
Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

His birth is a miracle. His love is our gift. His day is a time to rejoice!

Let us rejoice in all He has given us and love one another as He loves us.

Merry Christmas.

3:34 AM  
Blogger I.H.S. said...

Merry Christmas, shoprat.


8:02 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Merry Christmas, Shoprat!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Merry CHRISTmas and a happy New Year!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Merry Christmas!

1:49 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I think the virtues of selfishness by those who extol its virtue, are of the mind that in order to help others, you first have to help yourself; and that if everyone took care of their own corner of the universe, it'd be a better world. Pursuing selfish self-interest, such as wealth, puts one in a position to help others.

Just the nature of wanting to help others and being selfless, is a selfish desire, depending on perspective. Helping others makes one feel good...I'd say that's a selfish desire.

Anyway, enough of that....

Merry Christmas!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown ... I mean Shoprat!

Have a great Christmas.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

How about, FIRST, we have parties that are actually markedly OPPOSITE each other and CHALLENGE each other rather than there being, currently, less than a dime's worth of difference between them.

And, of course, MERRRRRRRRY CHRISTMAS, Sir Shoprat!!


5:13 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Tim, sorry it took so long to answer your question: a loan is a bailout when you and I both know that NONE of this cash will EVER be seen again, and will not EVER be repaid by ANY of its recipients. Don't, please, hold YOUR breath waiting for any sort of repayment, sir.


5:23 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Merry Christmas Shoprat!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Merry Christmas Shoprat!!

12:22 AM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Hope you're having a good one, Shoprat! We had a fabulous Christmas ... ate a lot, hung out and watched movies, did some shopping, and had dinner tonight out at the mall.

Be well...

12:15 AM  

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