Charity: another example of liberal hypocrisy
[Note: My short letter to the editor, which you can find at the end of this note, was published in the Denver Post on 4/21/07.]
A lot has been made in the past year or two about statistics showing that blue states are less generous than red states in terms of charitable giving as a percentage of income.
There are a couple of obvious explanations for some part of this fact:
First, the average income in blue states is higher than the average income in red states, so a lower percentage of income could still be more money. (However, I have not researched the actual numbers, and I would be that it is a low enough percentage of income that the red states actually give more money and not just a higher percentage.)
Second, red states tend to have more "church-going folk" and some substantial part of their charitable donations are to their churches. I'm not saying this is less valid than any other giving, but it is somewhat away from what many people think of when they think of giving to charity.
But even mitigating for those factors, I think the answer is simpler: Liberals believe in implementing their do-gooder "big ideas" through government, which is to say they believe in achieving their goals with other peoples' money rather than their own.
It is the singularly most important fact of modern liberalism that its believers see individuals as less important than "society", that "it takes a village", etc., all of which is code for big taxes and Big Brother having precedence over individual responsibility and individual rights.
They, which clearly include all the Democratic frontrunners, will not be happy until they have the power to spend your money as they see fit, whether they're spending it on you or on others...because clearly you are not smart enough to spend it yourself, to make your own decisions on health care or education, or to be trusted to "give back to society" as if somehow you have attained whatever you have by theft rather than by the free exchange of money for your time and intelligence and effort.
The hypocrisy of modern liberalism is startling and frightening. Unfortunately, I don't believe that most Americans have a good enough sense of history to see the logical conclusion of dipping their toes into the slimy pond of socialism. That logical conclusion is, at best, what the French have now (10% unemployment and a massive "brain drain") and at worst what the Soviet Union was.
You may be wondering what brought me to this topic...it seems somewhat out of the blue given recent news stories on completely different subjects. The answer is a news story in the Denver Post which compares the most generous town in Colorado to the least.
see "Tale of 2 towns: one generous, one miserly", Denver Post, 4/15/07
(At the end of the article is a chart with the top and bottom 10 ZIP codes in the state ranked by percentage of income donated.)
Note that the analysis is only of tax returns with income over $50,000 and with itemized deductions, so it corrects to some substantial degree for argument #1 above in that it gets closer to comparing apples to apples vis-a-vis income levels. So, the income levels which I describe below as "rich guy" incomes is because the data excludes people with incomes under $50,000. Actually, I would expect that if the charitable giving information were known for the lower income folks in the most generous town and the least generous town, it would make the difference between the areas even larger. (Note: Please don't send me comments about why I should have included "rich girl" or "rich couple". It's just an expression for convenience.)
The analysis was done by ZIP code, and it turns out the most generous town is Fowler, a small farming town in southeastern Colorado, with an average "rich guy" income of about $94,000 only about 56% of the average "rich guy" income in Colorado overall of $166,000.
The least generous ZIP code is 80466 which represents Nederland, Colorado and its surrounding area...and it's the ZIP code I live in. Nederland's average "rich guy" income was exactly at Colorado's overall average. We are just outside Boulder, which many aptly call "The People's Republic of Boulder" because of the highly intrusive nanny state we live in here.
As an example of some of the sort of people I live around: A neighbor used to give house concerts and would ask guests for voluntary contributions to help him offset his costs of hiring the bands. Another neighbor saw a bunch of cars in the driveway and made "an inquiry" to the County...(which she swears was not a complaint, but what did she think would happen when giving bureaucrats a chance to demonstrate just how much control they have?) The issue got grabbed up by local County bureaucrat busybodies who then ordered the concert giver to stop because he was running an impermissible business. There is so much wrong in this story: A typical Nederland/Boulder liberal who assumes the answer to her problems is to be found at a government office rather than simply knocking on her neighbor's door. A bureaucracy which can argue that voluntary contributions which don't add up to a profit (nor are they intended to) for very occasional concerts somehow constitute a business. And if that weren't enough, there was another neighbor who has been to (and presumably enjoyed) several of the concerts who then testified against the concert giver. It reminds me of the worst stories of Soviet Russia where you never knew who might be spying on you, trying to improve their situation by getting the government to ruin yours.
There are a few quiet conservatives and libertarians in my neighborhood, but they rarely speak up in a wide forum; they simply email me privately to thank me or agree with me when I say what needs to be said. Not just in Nederland, but everywhere that the destruction of liberty by "liberals" is happening, which seems to be most of America, we need more people to stand up for freedom, for true justice, against idiocy, and for the right and responsibility of people to work things out without the interference of the dead hand of government whenever possible.
So, I live in the least giving ZIP code in my state. (Let me note for the record that my charitable giving as a percentage of my income in 2006 would qualify me to live in Fowler, but then I'm not a liberal so it shouldn't be a big surprise.) I imagine the silent minority of conservatives and libertarians around here is similarly generous and that the majority of loud aggressive socialists/liberals/enviromental extremists in the neighborhood are simply relying on government to take my money in order to accomplish their left-wing liberty-destroying agenda. The hypocrisy of liberalism is astounding: They want to help the world by oppressing individuals, as if society is something other than the collection of us. They want to make poor people rich by making rich people poor. They want "equality" and "justice"...except for the small productive entrepreneurial section of society which has the capability to raise everyone's standard of living, and of course except for the truly evil people: caucasian heterosexual males who are not unemployed or otherwise the member of any victim group.
It's time for Americans to make liberals put their money where their mouths are: If you want to fund your big ideas, put YOUR money in first and see if you can get others to follow voluntarily. I will not live by the precepts of Karl Marx and his murderous followers, nor their knowing or unknowing lackeys in my ZIP code or my government.
Here is the short version of these comments that I submitted to the Denver Post:
To the Editors:
As one of the few residents around Nederland, the "most miserly" ZIP code in Colorado, who is not a Democrat (or who doesn't think the Democrats are too conservative), I am not surprised by the results of your study of charitable giving in our state. It is true across the nation that "red states" are less generous to charity in percentage terms than "blue states", and it is true across all countries that the political left wants to fund their "big ideas" with everyone else's money.
Big-Nanny Liberalism, which has found a comfortable home here in Boulder County, is about substituting "society" and "equality" for "individual", "liberty" and every other concept our Founders understood to be crucial to the success of our Republic. It is about replacing personal responsibility with reliance on government. And it is about paying for this quiet repression with your hard-earned money.
So, given the political views of those in this far-left outpost, it is sad but not surprising that their money is not where there mouths are. After all, isn’t charity “society’s” responsibility, not mine?
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