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Are Conservatives Happier than Liberals? « The Washington Independent

Thanks to the "pernicious influence of liberal ideas," progressives are less happy, less generous, less honest and less hard working than conservatives, argues the author of a new book released this week.

Intrigued, The Washington Independent stopped by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation today, to listen to the author Peter Schweizer talk about his book, which has the longest title we’ve ever seen: "Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic and Envious, Whine Less … and Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals."

Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative policy think tank Hoover Institution at Stanford University, pointed to a study he cites in his book which shows that conservatives are less likely than liberals to agree with statements like, "It is OK to cheat on your taxes" or "It is OK to cheat on your spouse." He explained conservatives are more willing to accept absolute, as opposed to relative, truth, but he did not explain how rejecting moral absolutes makes someone dishonest.

"Studies have shown that certain demographic groups that tend to be more Democrat-oriented in their politics tend to be more dishonest," Schweizer said.

Liberal contributions tend be less compassionate, donating to cultural causes like museums and symphonies rather than human-service organizations that conservatives prefer. A comparison of charitable giving by the radio talk host Rush Limbaugh and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proved the point, Schweizer argued. According to his analysis, Limbaugh gives to organizations that help Alzheimer’s patients, hospice residents, orphans and children with AIDS.

Overwhelmingly, Rush Limbaugh’s contributions to charity go to individuals who have absolute needs. If you look at Nancy Pelosi, it’s the opposite. There are contributions to the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, which is the largest of her contributions. There are contributions to the San Francisco Symphony. Contributions to a prep school…an elite prep school in San Francisco. But with the exception of an occasional contribution to say the boys and girls club of San Francisco of maybe $1,000 or so, very little actually goes to needy individuals.

Conservatives are more generous because modern liberals believe the government should take care of the less fortunate, Schwiezer argues. "Conservatives believe responsibility is a good thing, you can improve your lot in life," he said. "Modern liberals do not."

Schweizer did find one area where liberals were stronger than conservatives. Progressives are more interested in looking for new experiences. They’re more likely to travel abroad and look for diverse cultural opportunities. But will this make them happier?

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