A new book called "Who Really Cares?" by Arthur Brooks says conservative Americans give 30 percent more money to charity than liberal Americans. Also, religious people give up four times more money to charity than secular people.

In this season of giving, that is an interesting information equation, but the key question is: why? Why are traditional Americans more generous than secular progressives?

It isn't economics. A map displayed in the book shows the wealthier states like California and New York are below average in charitable giving, while poorer states like Mississippi and New Mexico or above average.

So, what is really going on here? "Talking Points" believes it is all in the philosophy. Conservative and traditional Americans tend to be Christian. And the basic command of Jesus was to help the poor. Religious Jews and Muslims are also called upon to give alms. So religion drives charitable giving.

Secular progressives are essentially non religious in believe the government should be the driving force behind generosity. They want a huge apparatus in Washington to redistribute income — that is take money from affluent Americans and giving to those less fortunate. SPs also believe the world revolves around individual gratification and that often takes a lot of money. So there's less inclination to give their personal funds to the poor. Let the government provide largess.

The evidence gets even more interesting when you compare charitable giving in America to secular Western Europe. The average American family gives 14 times as much to charity as the Italian family does, seven times as much as the German family.

In Europe, governments provide vast entitlements so families do not have the health, education and housing costs that Americans do, yet we still give much more.

Now, I could be wrong about this, secular progressives and liberals may give lost to charity for reasons I do not know about, but the stats are the stats.

Right now, conservative Americans are far more generous to the downtrodden than their liberal counterparts, and Americans in general are the most giving people on the planet.

That is the Memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

We had a report on the Iraq situation on the rundown this evening. But when President Bush postponed his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, we postponed the segment, as well.

There's no question that critical mass is being reached in Iraq. And because so much is at stake, we want to be very careful here in our reportage. No speculation: no could have, would have, should have. FOX News military analysts are keeping a close eye on the situation in Iraq. So are we. When we have something definitive to report, we will do it.

And that's not ridiculous. That's responsible. Unlike some other news organizations.

—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com