Healthy Conservatives

June 11, 2008 | NeW Staff

I recently had the opportunity to attend a book event held by the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. Peter Schweizer, an author and research fellow at Hoover Institution, spoke on his latest book, 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. When I heard the title, I laughed, almost thinking the book would be satirical. But after listening to him discuss the scientific research he used to defend his bold claims, I was struck by the nature of such an argument. He found distinct differences in responses to questions between those who describe themselves as conservatives and those who describe themselves as liberals. See for yourself in the findings from his book…

“Do you get happiness by putting someone else’s happiness ahead of your own? Of those who described themselves as ‘very conservative,’ 55 percent said yes. Those who described themselves as ‘very liberal’? Only 20 percent agreed.

Would you endure all things for the one you love? More than half–55 percent of conservatives–said yes, compared with only 26 percent of liberals.

Are you willing to sacrifice your wishes to let the one you love succeed? Only 33 percent of liberals said yes, compared with 57 percent of conservatives.

Is it your obligation to care for a seriously injured/ill spouse or parent, or should you give care only if you really want to? Fully 71 percent of conservatives said it was. Less than half (46 percent) of liberals agreed.”

So what is the reason for this? This is how Schweizer sees it, as he mentioned in a interview on National Review Online…

“Sure there are lazy conservatives and hard working liberals, but there are a dozen studies in academic journals (not done by conservative think tanks) that show conservatives tend to have a better work ethic than liberals. Conservatives are less likely to call in sick, and more interested in assuming responsibilities on the job. The question is why. My theory is that modern liberal thinking basically says you can’t get ahead, the capitalist system is rigged. (The current liberal favorite is that the rich have “won the lottery of life,” meaning that somehow they didn’t earn any of their wealth.) When Pew asked Americans, can you get ahead in America by working hard? Four out of five Republicans said yes you can; amazingly, only 14% of Democrats agreed. Also, there is plenty of research on what conservatives want from a job and what liberals desire. It really is quite fascinating. In sum, conservatives tend to want a job that offers them the opportunity to advance. Liberals tend to desire in high pay and lots of vacation time. Again, I think this reflects the idea that hard work doesn’t pay off, so why bother.”

As a young conservative woman, Schweizer’s book encourages me in my passion for politics, as he supports the claim that ideology and belief systems do affect how we live our lives.

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