Sunday, April 17, 2016

Penetrating Academe

It took them a while, but the organized American plutocratic Right eventually realized that the Left's big advantage was control of prestigious American universities - Harvard, Princeton, Yale and a few others. It also realized that a frontal assault would not work. Perhaps mostly importantly, they chose their targets carefully.

It's pretty obvious that much of the faculty at those schools are far to the left of the American public. Most of those faculty members are in departments with essentially zero influence on public affairs - humanities, liberal arts, ethnic and similar studies, much of social science and others. Scientists tend to be liberal rather than left, and engineers and doctors tend to be moderately right, so together they don't much affect the balance.

Economics, law, government and history are exceptions, especially the first two. Dangled financial carrots persuaded top law schools that they needed Economics of Law faculty, and strategic funding pushed conservative scholars into influential positions.

The replacement of the old "publish or perish" by "get funded or get lost" provided a perfect entry path for tens of millions from right wing foundations. Those who heard and spread the message found abundant funding and juicy perks - generous fees for speeches and consulting at the right wing "think tanks."

I expect that they believe that leftists still dominate sociology, ethnic studies, humanities and a lot of other "fluff" departments, but, for now, at least, they can be left to stew in their own fantasies.

As Richard Fink, a principal architect explained the plan:

The first phase required an “investment” in intellectuals whose ideas would serve as the “raw products.” The second required an investment in think tanks that would turn the ideas into marketable policies. And the third phase required the subsidization of “citizens” groups that would, along with “special interests,” pressure elected officials to implement the policies. It was in essence a libertarian production line, waiting only to be bought, assembled, and switched on.

Mayer, Jane (2016-01-19). Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Kindle Locations 2709-2713). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Based on Jane Mayer's Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right