How Honest are Conservatives and Liberals?


Peter Schweizer, writing at, looked at various research studies on honesty and discovered the following:

  • 57 percent of those who call themselves “very liberal” said it was OK to cheat on your taxes compared to just 20 percent of those labeling themselves as “very conservative” (World Values Survey).
  • Consider the following: “You lose your job. Your friend’s company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do?” Forty-nine percent of liberals would go along with the scheme, while only 21 percent of conservatives said they would agree to it (National Cultural Values Survey).
  • Liberals were two and a half times more likely to say they illegally download music on the Internet (Barna Research).
  • College students who lean toward “conservatism” have “higher levels of ethical values” (Journal of Business Ethics).
  • There’s a link between “political liberalism” and “lying in your own self-interest” (Journal of Psychology).

Peter Schweizer writes:

The honesty gap is also not a result of “bad people” becoming liberals and “good people” becoming conservatives. In my mind, a more likely explanation is bad ideas. Modern liberalism is infused with idea that truth is relative. Surveys consistently show this. And if truth is relative, it also must follow that honesty is subjective.

Sixties organizer Saul Alinsky, who both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say inspired and influenced them, once said the effective political advocate “doesn’t have a fixed truth; truth to him is relative and changing, everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist.”

During this political season, honesty is often in short supply. But at least we can improve things by accepting the idea that truth and honesty exist. As the late scholar Sidney Hook put it, “the easiest rationalization for the refusal to seek the truth is the denial that truth exists.”


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