Monday, October 13, 2008

Is there a difference between liberals and conservatives besides politics?

What are the differences between conservatives and liberals, besides the supposedly differing political philosophies, and the fact that liberals want total government control -- from birth to death (and beyond) -- and conservatives want the opposite.

Here's some, and maybe it will help you decide where you sit.
According to a book by Peter Schweizer, some 71 percent of conservatives say they have an obligation to care for a seriously injured spouse or parent, compared with 46 percent for liberals. Asked if they would endure all things for the one they love, 55 percent of conservatives say yes, compared with 26 percent of liberals.

Equally revealing, liberals are far more likely to say they are depressed and to view the world bleakly. Schweizer attributes that to an attitude that they and those around them are victims and helpless unless the government intervenes.

In answer to a question from Newsmax, Schweizer says that may help explain why liberal politicians and reporters tend to see everything with pessimism, from the economy to the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

Schweizer says the media and liberal professors have successfully obscured these differences by painting a picture of conservatives as mean-spirited. He quotes one professor as saying that conservatives embrace the “unimpeded pursuit of self-interest” to get what they want and that as children, they were insecure and whiny.

In a NYU study, researchers have found evidence that supports a 2006 PEW Research Center survey. The survey showed that 47 percent of conservative Republicans describe themselves as "very happy" while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats describe themselves similarly.

Conservatives put a much higher value on the role of force and accord a lower priority to multilateralism. In The Hill's polling, 68 percent of conservatives but only 28 percent of liberals identified with the need to take unilateral action for our security regardless of what other countries might think. Pew found one of the most important determinants of Republicanism (and I would wager conservatism) was agreement with the view that military strength is the best way to ensure peace.

Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227). See this article for more details.

Everyone has to decide for themselves what’s right and wrong in particular situations” or “There are absolute standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone in almost every situation.” As befits a country almost evenly divided on cultural issues, 50 percent adopted a position of moral absolutism and 46 percent identified themselves as moral relativists. But only about a third of conservatives embraced relativism, while more than 60 percent believe in moral absolutism.

In response to the exit pollsters’ question, only 28 percent of conservatives wanted the government to do more to solve problems, compared with 69 percent of liberals. In practice, of course, conservatives favor a large number of government programs — from education to healthcare to aid to the poor. But at the broader level of principle, conservatives are deeply suspicious of government’s ability to solve problems.

So it seems that the differences go beyond mere politics, to encompass a person's worldview.

No comments: