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Makers and Takers

Publisher: Doubleday • 2008 • 272 pages

Conservatives are ignorant, selfish, and hypocritical. Liberals are enlightened, generous, and honest. Or so we’ve been told for. . . oh, the last three generations or so. But now comes compelling new evidence that these popular stereotypes are not only false, they’re the near opposites of the truth.

In “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,” Peter Schweizer draws on national polls, academic studies, and the shocking testimony of liberals themselves to show that liberals are, on a whole, less honest, less generous, lazier and more materialistic than their conservative counterparts. Schweizer also goes beyond the data to examine why this is so. From the myth that wealth is the result of luck or exploitation to the insistence that individuals are not accountable to God or social institutions, the principles of liberalism, Schweizer shows, have corrupted the personal virtues and community values Americans once honored.

“The research is clear,” writes Schweizer, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. “Looking at data gathered by the most authoritative and reliable academic research centers in the country as well as academic studies published in refereed journals, a pattern emerged that has until now been completely ignored. When compared to conservatives on a long list of personality and moral traits, modern liberals consistently come up short.”

Discover compelling evidence that liberals are, in the aggregate. . .

. . .less honest. Liberals are more likely to believe that it’s okay to be dishonest or deceptive, cheat on their taxes (and their spouse), keep money that doesn’t belong to them, and sell a used car with a faulty transmission to a family member.

. . .more selfish. Liberals are much more likely to think about themselves first and less willing to make sacrifices for others. They are less

interested and much more likely to think about themselves first and less willing to make sacrifices for others. They are less interested in caring for a physically ill or elderly family member, and more concerned with ensuring that their own needs are being met.

. . .more focused on money. Liberals are much more likely to report that money is important to them, that they don?t earn enough, and that money is what matters in a job. They are also more likely to be envious of others.

. . .less hardworking. When considering a new job, liberals are more interested in job security and vacation time than their conservative counterparts. They also tend to value hard work less and embrace leisure as more desirable. Conservatism on the other hand is directly associated with the so-called Protestant ethic.

. . .less emotionally satisfied. Liberals are much more likely to suffer from a nervous breakdown, attempt suicide, suffer from depression, and be chronically angry.

. . .less knowledgeable about civic affairs and economics. Despite claims that conservatives are ignorant, studies and surveys show that conservatives and Republicans tend to know more about public affairs, have a better understanding of economics, and do better on word association tests.

. . .while conservatives are, in contrast. . .

. . .happier and better adjusted. Conservatives are more satisfied with their lives, their professions, their health, even when compared to

liberals with the same demographics (age, income, etc.).

. . .generally more successful parents. Obviously there are many exceptions, but conservatives in general are more willing to make sacrifices for their children, and their children in turn are less likely to take drugs, smoke, or drink at a young age. Conservative families are also closer. They are more likely to stay in touch with each other on a regular basis and trust each other more.

. . .more generous. For all the talk of liberal compassion, the reality is that conservatives are much more likely to donate money and time to

charitable causes. Also, the reasons that liberals and conservatives get involved in charities tend to be different. Liberals support charities to “make a statement.” Conservatives want to improve the lives of the people they are trying to help.

. . .less angry. Conservatives are less likely to become angry at someone, less likely to seek revenge, and less likely to throw or break things in a temper.

This is no mere tit-for-tat response to liberal name-calling. For too long, explains Schweizer, liberals have fostered unjustified caricatures of

conservatives — and flattering portraits of themselves — to avoid honest debate. “Rather than discuss conservative ideas, the left dismisses them on the grounds that conservatives are so messed one shouldn?t waste the time.” To be taken seriously, we must fight back with the truth. Besides, argues Schweizer, while conservatives have long maintained that liberal policies promote social decay, Makers and Takers proves that liberalism can also lead to personal decay, while conservatism can lead to happiness and fulfillment. That’s a message we all need to hear for our own sake.

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