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Makers and Takers: Why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic and Hardcover – June 3, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schweizer (Do as I Say [Not as I Do]) expands his critique of modern American liberals to contend that liberalism not only leads to social decay, but can also lead to personal decay. Drawing upon polls and psychological studies, the author argues that conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic and envious, whine less... and even hug their children more than liberals. Schweizer is noticeably silent on current affairs; instead, he focuses on the culture wars of the 1990s, demonstrating how Clinton lied... and did so in a fine fashion, that Al Gore has also told lies and that the Clinton administration was notable for its tolerant attitude toward drugs. Schweizer refrains from making substantive commentary on the upcoming election; he spends more time attacking Garrison Keillor, for whom he reserves a special distaste. The readable prose and vigorous defense of Republican voters ensure that this book—despite its dated material and lack of analysis of the current campaign—will rally and rouse conservatives. (June 3)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. He lives in Florida with his wife and sons.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038551350X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385513500
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Schweizer is the President of the Government Accountability Institute, the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University , and a best-selling author, most recently of "Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ZanyPete on March 11, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I am primarily commenting on Chapter 3, since that is the only one I have read in full so far. In addition to containing at least one outright factual error (Dr. Spock was a pediatrician, while Schweizer refers to him as a child psychologist), Chapter 3 relies way too heavily on anecdote and self-reported survey data. For example, Schweizer makes much of the fact that Ted Turner complained that some people are making "too much money too fast," but the fact remains that Turner is a liberal who has worked hard, played by the rules, and has given many millions of dollars to charitable causes. I don't really care that the man has a made a few off-hand comments in support of Fidel Castro. Schweizer also comes to broad conclusions from self-reported survey data, making much of the fact that the very liberal are three times as likely than the very conservative to say that suicide would be morally justified in the event of financial bankruptcy. What to make of this? It's hard to say, since it is a response to an almost certainly hypothetical situation, yet Schweizer leaps to the conclusion that "a sizeable number of liberals" hold the view that money is more important than life itself. Hmm. Of course, one could just as easily conclude that liberals are more likely to experience shame upon facing bankruptcy, and thus more likely to consider taking their own lives as a desperate response to their situation, while folks like Donald Trump, who has filed for bankruptcy 4 times, can continue life as a self-promoting windbag entirely free of any embarrassment from his multiple business failures. Schweizer does this over and over again, drawing broad conclusions, always in conservatives' favor, from self-reported survey data.Read more ›
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163 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Brandon K. Schultz on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've re-analyzed the surveys that Schweizer reports (which are readily available online) using SPSS 15.0. Based on my replication, there are several interesting methodological "choices" that the author makes to draw such grandiose conclusions.

Even though the surveys measure political views using 'continuous' items (e.g., a response format that ranges from 1 ["Extremely Liberal"] to 7 ["Extremely Conservative"]), the author compares only the highest extreme (7) and the lowest extreme (1) throughout the book. From a statistical standpoint, this is problematic because it ignores trends in the middle and looks only at the relatively few people who place themselves at either political extreme (on the General Social Survey, this equals 4.7% of the sample, or 2,394 of 42,096 respondents; this number drops even lower when comparisons are made due to missing data in the comparison variables).

Here is a representative sample of the problems this causes: On page 20 Schweizer analyzes the General Social Survey and claims that 23% of liberals and only 14% of conservatives feel that Jews are especially violent. I re-ran this analysis (using Schweizer's exact methodology) and here are the results when you examine the whole political spectrum, going from 1 (Extremely Liberal) to 7 (Extremely Conservative):

1=22.7%; 2=12.2%; 3=9.1%; 4=10.8%; 5=14.6%; 6=11.8%; 7=14.1%

See any anomalies? Hmmm... That "Extremely Liberal" group looks funny, doesn't it? And it's nothing like groups 2 or 3--the folks who called themselves "Liberal" or "Slightly Liberal," respectively. The problem is that very few people identified themselves as Extremely Liberal. In this instance, that 22.7% is 17 of 75 respondents.
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44 of 64 people found the following review helpful By j. mehoft on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
finally a book that explains the basis for liberal and conservative philosophies and does so in a way that shows how the left in america are a paradox of themselves...this book showcases why the left in america think the way they do, act the way they do, and go about their daily lives in a manner that is more hypocritical than anything...full of quotes, stats, and stories that explain why the left in america, from its politicians to the media to special interest groups, dont even stand for what they say they believe in and they go ahead and say it anyway...a must read for anyone who wants to understand the political ideologies of people go much farther than how they feel about certain political issues...their political ideologies are a reflection about the very foundaitons about how they view life in general...entertaining and useful because although the content does not praise the right, it does use evidence that supports the right and allows the reader to make his/her own decisions based on the reading
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Francis W. Porretto on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's been anecdotally the consensus for awhile that conservatives are generally happier, more family-oriented, and so forth than liberals, but until Schweizer's book, no one had bothered to amass the necessary statistics on the matter. MAKERS AND TAKERS does our understanding of American society a considerable service in this.

There are two areas where Schweizer's tome could have been improved. First, its self-congratulatory tone would be off-putting to a liberal -- and it's liberals who would benefit most from absorbing and pondering the objective information it offers. Second, Schweizer had the opportunity to score a grand slam by extending his treatment to FAKERS: persons nominally self-supporting, but whose positions are mostly or wholly sinecures that demand little from them. The distribution of political allegiances among such persons -- government workers; featherbedded workers in unionized industries; marginal employees in public schools; and the like -- would be illuminating whether or not it confirmed Schweizer's larger thesis.

All the same, MAKERS AND TAKERS is informative in its objective data and thought-provoking in its implications. Four stars.
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