Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Left, Right and Natural Disasters

Paul at Wizbang notices a partisan response to the tsunami tragedy, with bloggers on the right posting far more than bloggers on the left.
The Lefty Blogs
Crooked Timber has exactly one post of just 4 lines on the Tsunami itself and a follow-up post about red cross donations.

Over at Washington Monthly there was one post from a guest poster. Kevin Drum was apparently too busy to mention 60,000 or so people dead but he did find time to call George Bush a criminal and post about the fact that the label in his new shirt doesn't itch him. Nothing like priorities in life.

The Righty Blogs
LGF has 5 posts that I saw and I might have missed some.

Michele at A Small Victory, is all over it, dozens of posts if you count CP, many for charitable donations.

Outsidethebeltway has 3 posts on the topic.

Glenn Reynolds has 10 posts (that I saw) up with multiple updates/links.

We are continually told how much more liberals care about their fellow man than conservatives, yet 60,000 people are presumed dead and many of the liberals hardly mention it...

The numbers don't seem to tell the same story.
Why the difference? I guess it is possible that our friends on the right care more for their fellow man than our friends on the left, but that doesn't seem the most likely conclusion. I have a few theories, none of which seem completely convincing but still plausible:
  • Thought vs Feeling: Liberals tend to go the intellectual1 route while conservatives tend toward the emotional. For example, notice how liberals tend to praise or criticize one's intelligence while conservatives tend to praise or criticize one's character. Thus, liberals "don't have much to add" while conservatives are all over this tragedy. If this is the reason I'll have to score one for the conservatives. Confusing intellectualism for intelligence is one of my pet peeves, a crime my side of the debate often makes.

  • General vs Niche: Do liberal blogs tend to specialize more than conservative blogs? It seems that way to me, but I really haven't looked into it much. Certainly, very few blogs go for that anti-tsunami niche.

  • Government vs Charity: This is, perhaps, the best explanation. Leftists2 have a fundamentally different view of government, taxes and, when you get right down to it, the nature of human organization than rightists. Those on the right view government as an "other", an often necessary but mostly undesired outside entity that takes their money and spends it as it sees fit. Those on the left view government as the way we humans organize ourselves, the way we collect our resources and solve our common problems. To the left, "us" includes the government, but not so much for the right. When a disaster like the Sumatra quake hits the left expects "us" to help through government while the right expects "us" to help by donating to charity.

1In this case I mean "intellectual" in the worst sense of the word, as well as the best.
2I use "leftist" instead of "liberal" on purpose. Libertarians are liberal, even though they won't admit it.