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Makers and Takers By: David Forsmark
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, June 13, 2008


Makers and Takers: How Conservatives Do All the Work While Liberals Whine and Complain
By Peter Schweizer
Doubleday, $24.95, 272 pp.

How mad does Peter Schweizer make liberals? Reviewing his last book favorably cost me a freelance writing gig I'd had for 20 years at a mid-sized Midwestern daily newspaper.

True, it was more like a last-straw kind of thing. A cadre of leftie cranks had bombarded the paper for years with complaints when I'd give a positive review to a conservative-themed book. Meanwhile, some of the staffers—David Mamet would call them "brain dead liberals"—continually made snarky remarks about a need for "diversity" on the book page. Into this mix came the new McEditor, who had been tending to march the newspaper down the road to mediocrity since his arrival.

But when my review of Schweizer's Do As I Say (and Not As I Do) exposed self-proclaimed "Flint, Michigan, native" Michael Moore as a scab-employing outsourcer who doesn't hire black people and owns Halliburton stock, appeared the same day Moore was in town to get an award from a local commie club, it took that editor one day to decide the Flint Journal no longer could "afford" to buy book reviews from freelancers.

Even when I favorably reviewed David Horowitz's Hating Whitey and Ann Coulter's Treason (for which I still get the occasional hate mail), my work didn't get that kind of action.

The cost-saving excuse—a maximum $60-a-week outlay for a stable that included four professional authors—was belied by the fact that the book-loving conservative editor who'd started the paper's Sunday books page 23 years earlier also was dumped. His replacement was a ninny who couldn't understand why people found it funny that she referred to a true-life crime book as a "novel" in the review's headline.

That's how mad Peter Schweizer makes liberals!

Schweizer apparently rather enjoyed the reaction from Do As I Say, as he's taken his thesis one step further. Instead of merely exposing prominent liberals as hypocrites, Schweizer basically asserts in Makers and Takers that liberalism itself is a character flaw — or at least the symptom of one.

Or, as the book cover teases, "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."

Whew!

Snippets of data supporting Schweizer's thesis have been leaking into even the mainstream media for years. Not long ago, a survey reported that conservative Christians were more satisfied with their sex lives than non-believers. Such information invariably is reported as an "Oddly Enough" story because the MSM mainstays think of religious people as the repressed prudes of Freud's nightmares. It never occurs to the chattering classes that the security that comes with monogamy and commitment to one's spouse would make for a better love life.

And it's gotten very predictable that when the tax returns of presidential candidates are released, that conservative candidates will have given generously to charity, while the liberal candidates will have contributed a niggardly sum. (Check out last year's charitable giving difference between Darth Vader Cheney and Messiah Obama.)

Schweizer's premise, no doubt, will be decried as unkind and the subject off-limits for polite discussion. But as he points out, the notion that conservatism is the result of everything from psychosis to stupidity to just general nastiness has been part of mainstream cultural conversation for years.

The examples are ubiquitous among the chattering classes and hardly have been limited to the usual haters like Michael Moore or loons like Barbara Streisand:

    • The Democrats' appointed voice of moderation is linguistics professor George Lakoff, who was supposed to teach the party how to talk to religious people. He says conservatism is "mean and greedy," with the result of being child abuse, namely "beating them with belts, sticks and paddles."
    • A supposed "academic" study that received much MSM attention was based solely on liberal professors' interpretations of political speeches. It claimed conservatives are motivated by "fear and aggression."
    • In his patently faux-folksy way, Garrison Keillor says Republicans are "swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, aggressive dorks…"

The list goes on and on, in doses large and small, from reporters to politicians. It would be one thing if the playing field were level and the rhetoric on both sides given equal attention or inattention. But while comments like the above are treated as givens in much of the pop culture with a million little asides, when someone like Peter Schweizer dares to connect liberalism with the behavior it encourages, the squeals of outrage are immediate and deafening.

Fortunately, there is actually evidence to support Schweizer's thesis – data that unequivocally refute liberal assertions about conservatives on a point-by-point basis. Polling goes on all the time in the United States, not just for political purposes, but for product marketing and by social scientists who study attitudes, behavior and general knowledge.

In every major scientific social survey, conservatives know more, care more, give more, love more, and lie less, are less materialistic and self centered than liberals.

Schweizer gives a simple and logical reason as to why liberals claim the public moral high ground, but seem to care less about private virtue:

"(M)odern liberalism simply absolves its adherents of many difficult and inconvenient responsibilities…. Because liberal believe it is the role of the state to care for the needy, liberalism fosters an 'I gave at the office' mentality. Simply espousing liberal values and voting for liberal candidates is enough. No other action is required.

That is why liberalism is so seductive. It allows one to claim the moral high ground on just about any issue, while, in effect, 'outsourcing' your personal responsibility for doing something about it to the government."

What's worse is that modern liberals are more likely – generally by a factor of at least two – to be guilty of the sins they are most likely to condemn conservatives for. Schweizer breaks down the supposed Seven Deadliest Sins s of conservatives:

    1. Selfishness:

It's considered a given that Adam Smith's intellectual descendants are all about self-interest. But liberals are far more likely to admit in surveys to putting themselves first and being less willing to sacrifice for others.

    1. Stinginess:

It's not only liberal presidential candidates who are far less likely than conservatives — of every income level — to give to charity. While the media argues that "compassionate conservatism" is a contradiction in terms, Schweizer shows that the term is redundant in practice.

    1. Materialism:

Liberals are far more likely report money as their top priority and less likely to part with it willingly than the capitalist hogs they scorn.

    1. Lying liars who tell lies:

The party of relativism is far less honest from tax cheating to personal business affairs to marital affairs than the "neocons who lied us into war."

    1. Angry (white). men: 

Liberalism has placed such a premium on grievance collecting that loving one's country and being satisfied with one's life is a betrayal of conscience if one is a member of the "minority" groups that make up about 70% of the country. In nearly every measure, liberals report less satisfaction with their lives than conservatives do.

    1. Stupidity:

The mind-numbed robots who get their marching orders from talk radio's Rush Limbaugh somehow answer pollsters' questions about government, economics and world affairs far more accurately than the enlightened souls who want their NPR.

    1. Tools of Big Tobacco

. When conservatives protest government's overreach in persecuting smokers, it is statistically more likely they are defending a liberal's rights. It is also statistically far more likely that the children of conservatives will get hugs and not drugs.

Makers and Takers is chock full of data from surveys that tear down every character-based stereotype the cultural elites have assigned to liberals and conservatives. Along the way, Schweizer can't resist throwing in some delicious Do As I Say (and Not as I Do) tidbits along the way—from uber-libs like Gore Vidal and Al Sharpton cheating on their taxes to the extreme narcissism of ex-President Clinton, who wrote a book called Giving.

Unconsciously, liberals themselves endorse Schweizer's point every time they take up scandalmongering. When they make Gary Studds a hero for doing something Tom Foley only sent emails about or when they chuckle over Bill Clinton's serial womanizing and are shocked by Newt Gingrich's divorce.

You can scream "hypocrisy" only at people with moral standards.




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