Sunday, December 17, 2006

Give until it hurts...somebody

This Sunday afternoon I was listening to Bob Edwards' new show on NPR. He was interviewing Arthur C. Brooks, author of Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism. This tome purports to prove that religious conservatives give more in charitable donations than most other Americans, even richer Americans, and especially more than liberals.

You can read the particulars of the book's argument at the amazon link. What got me was that the author was almost apologetic about his findings. He did do an admirably meticulous job of qualifying his conclusions, and forstalling any unwarranted generalizations. He insisted that he was just a harmless statistician, no agenda at all, just happened to spot a worrisome trend in charitable giving. It's as if he was afraid of insulting Edwards and his mostly liberal audience.

The book sounds good, even given the insulting sub-title. "Surprising truth"... Surprising to who? Not to someone who's seen a'plenty of how some folks give without fanfare, to help others through this vale of tears--while others suffice with congratulating themselves on their own wonderfulness, for holding such enlightened views.

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