And despite their self-righteous posturing, the people aggressively pushing Soviet-lite policies in Congress are the least generous with their own money. Schweizer reviewed tax forms and found that Al Gore gave $353 to charity in 1998—or .18 percent of his income. At least Gore was slightly less stingy than John Kerry, who didn’t give a single cent to charity in 1995. As a percentage of income, left-wing villains Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Dick Cheney have been more generous donors over the years than Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Michael Moore.
Not surprisingly, liberals score lower than conservatives when quizzed on government and economics, which is probably why they think the health care debate should be a question of who developed “empathy in early childhood.” (In case you had any doubts about Schweizer’s research, he also found that 40 percent of liberals say they value “being popular,” compared to only 26 percent of conservatives. In another column, Amanda Marcotte proved this true when she sneered that being a young conservative “means giving up any hope whatsoever of being cool.”)
At the end of the day, Schweizer concludes, liberals want the government to be generous so they can avoid being generous on a personal level. Let the taxpayers feed the poor, shelter the homeless, even take care of other people’s gravely injured parents and spouses—because they don’t want to.
Remember this the next time a liberal portrays the health care debate as a battle between the selfish and the selfless.