Monday, April 16, 2012

Libertarians and Charity: A Follow-Up to the Follow-Up

   In my last post on this topic, I discussed what seemed to be liberal hypocrisy in regards to charity, but there was something that just wasn't setting quite right. It turns out to basically be two thing—local phenomenon and decline in giving with decline in need. If there is less of a need for charity, then it is not surprising that people might give less. If you then combine this idea with an idea that people will react more to their local communities as opposed to national needs, you may get a partial explanation of why liberals donate less.

   Take Mississippi, for example. It is generally a conservative state and is quite religious. Therefore we should expect the people of Mississippi to be quite charitable. But Mississippi also seems to have a lot of societal ills. I think they have a high poverty rate and I am quite sure they have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. So they have a great need for charity. Contrast this with Vermont, which is generally quite liberal. I think Vermont tends to rank fairly well as far as societal health goes. There is then less of a need for charity. So I'm not too worried if people are giving less in Vermont than in Mississippi. Actually, I would expect that!

   But, to be fair, this doesn't completely excuse the issue. There are things like cancer research (like I am helping donate to on the sidebar) that are pretty much a constant across the country. If people in Vermont have less of a local need, then they should probably be compensating that with larger donations to other needs like this. Or, as that article I had linked to last time addressed, liberals give less blood. There really isn't a good reason for this to be the case. So, there still seems to be some bit of hypocrisy, but it may be less than it appears when looking at it from a high level.

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