Nazi Minister Of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels once remarked, "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." It’s a lesson the Left has learned well and taken to heart.
There are certain tenets among the Left that are taken as Gospel among it’s adherents. The “fact” of global warming, that the United States is “racist” nation and, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton’s theory of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." A core belief that runs in tandem with these is that the right finances its political goals via enormous coffers of corporate and foundation funds. It’s an argument that the left has repeated so often even some conservatives take it as fact.
Writing from The Institute For First Amendment Studies, Matthew Freeman and Rachel Egan breathlessly opine," Ever wonder why right wing groups can afford their own radio and television shows? Or how they pay for issue advertising? ...The answer is simple: money." Karen Paget of The American Prospect is less simplistic in her argument, but no less of the same mind when she writes, "The left recently has lost repeated battles to this conservative coalition over major initiatives such as affirmative action, welfare, immigration, English-only programs, and school vouchers. Left-liberal activists have attributed these losses to the massive amounts of money conservatives have spent on the initiatives."
The enormously large left-wing group People For The American Way, founded by Hollywood mogul Norman Lear, have taken this idea to an entirely new level by way of their published report Buying A Movement: Right Wing Foundations and American Politics which documents with specific figures in order to educate the reader, "Each year conservative foundations channel millions of dollars into a broad range of conservative political organizations."
The efforts of the Left to propagate the idea that American social and political policy is masterminded at the highest levels by rich, right wing foundations and corporations is theater. Why? Because it’s simply not true. The fact of the matter is that the largest foundations and largest corporate donors overwhelmingly support leftist-liberal causes and organizations.
Taking PFAW at their word, let’s examine the financial status of the foundations on the right that they consider the biggest threat to social justice. In the aforementioned report the organization specifically targets The Lynne And Harry Bradley Foundation, The Koch Family Foundations (who are more clearly defined as "Libertarian" than Conservative. Even though Koch Industries was built by a founder of the conservative John Birch Society, Fred Koch, current CEO Charles Koch is a co-founder of The Cato Institute and the foundation gives money to The Reason Foundation among other traditionally Libertarian groups) The John M. Olin Foundation, The Scaife Foundations (comprised of The Carthage Foundation, Scaife Family Foundation, The Sarah Scaife Foundation and The Alleghenny Foundation) and The Adolph Coors Foundation. Year-end totals from 2001 show that these foundations have assets valued at a combined $1,303,928,957. Total 2001 grants awarded from this group totals a combined $95,531,942.
By contrast, the four largest foundations that consistently fund left wing agendas are The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The David And Lucille Packard Foundation and The John D. And Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation. Total assets in 2001 for these foundations was $ 53,171,633,000. From this gargantuan amount $2,570,323,000 was given away in 2001.
Not only are the Left-leaning foundations trumping the right by over $51 billion dollars in assets they are also outspending the Right at a furious pace. The numbers clearly how the Left is being funded at a rate of more than twenty-six times what the Right is being granted by foundations that have 53-times the resources. For clarity, I am defining "left-wing" as foundations that overwhelmingly fund feminist, environmentalist, anti-capitalist and anti-consumer groups. "Right-wing" is defined by those that consistently fund groups promoting individual rights, have a pro-market stance and support limited government.
The fact that foundations created by the titans of American industry and enterprise are funding radical left-wing causes may be hard to swallow. However the evidence is available to all who wish to know the truth. The Ford Foundation, for example, in 1968 single-handedly funded the creation of The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and The Southwest Council Of La Raza, later renamed National Council Of La Raza. Both groups are radical mouthpieces for the "rights" of illegal immigrants (including the advocacy of college tuition for illegals at state universities), have managed to force bilingual education in many areas and remain wholly unrepresentative of the average Hispanic-American citizenry. Ford also routinely gives in the millions to groups such as Planned Parenthood (and it’s apologist research affiliate The Alan Guttmacher institute), The National Gay And Lesbian Task Force and The Feminist Majority.
The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation routinely funds The Arms Control Association, The Earth Island Institute, the United Nations Global Environment Facility, and The Institute For Energy And Environmental Research. Behind the seemingly benign names are groups that are overtly anti-Western, anti-technology and endorse radical environmental visions for the future. In January 2003 MacArthur gave a $10 million grant to the overwhelmingly leftist voice of National Public Radio and most recently provided a grant to The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for the specific purpose to "develop a "middle ground" policy option as an alternative to a U.S. invasion of Iraq."
The Gates Foundation, in 2001, gave $10,000,000 to the Friends Of Nelson Mandela Foundation and provided almost $4 million to The World Population Foundation. Packard provides funds for Choice USA, who staunchly opposes abstinence education in America’s classrooms, The Consultative Group On Biological Diversity and The National Abortion Rights Action League.
But why, given the availability of myth-busting facts, does the Left consistently cry "poor"? Well, it makes for good press. The image of scary, big-money, far-right foundations makes a good bogey man for their platforms. Also, the solidly liberal notion that money is evil comes into play. (By this criteria, if you want to make your enemy seem evil, simply claim that he not only has more money than you but that he is using his money to destroy the things any decent person would endorse.)
The cult of moral superiority that surrounds the Left is no less large when it comes to boasting about how they spend their money. Indeed, this statement from the PFAW report crystallizes this point, "progressive groups commonly provide direct service to the poor, disabled or disadvantaged, Conservative groups rarely do. Progressive groups, local and national, have over the years sought to fill the gaps in the ever more frayed social safety net. Conservative groups have invested their resources, by and large, in efforts to further shred that net."
The arrogance and paranoia doesn’t stop there, however. Ms. Paget, in the same article mentioned above, continues her point by saying, "Large corporations are now among the major backers of conservative think tanks...On many of the most important measures backed by conservative funders, left-liberal organizations simply aren't in the game."
Considering the massive funding that’s available to them, the Left’s claim that they "aren’t in the game” seems dubious at best. It should come as no surprise that PFAW puffs up its chest with the claim of "direct" service to peoples. While it is very true that people in need do benefit temporarily from this type of service, it is flawed domestic policy of the Left, and sometimes the recipients of help themselves, that are the root of these problems. True, conservatives do overwhelmingly support research centers, think tanks and schools at universities rather than handing out food in bad neighborhoods. The Left, however, also routinely funds think tanks, research and other academic initiatives. However, the Right has consistently sought to solve problems rather than merely treat symptoms. The Left has only sought to treat symptoms and cast aspersions; and this is the core of their failure to effectively use their funds.
Another longwinded, and false, claim of he Left is that American politics are bought and paid for by right-wing funding. However, the figures available at the non-partisan Open Secrets website give lie to this claim, as well. Forthe years spanning 1990-2002, the top corporate contributors to politicians were giving $3.77 to Democrats for every $1.00 given to Republicans. In addition to garnering the overwhelming majority of union monies donated to political campaigns, the Democrats receive top dollar from Goldman Sachs and AOL Time-Warner. They also receive approximately half of all campaign donations from corporate powerhouses such as AT&T, Citigroup, Inc., FedEx Corp., Ernst & Young, Bank Of America and Lockheed Martin.
The "Hollywood Set" is also overwhelming in their support for Democratic candidates, with funding coming from sources such as Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg (Walt Disney), Gail Zappa (widow of musician Frank Zappa), David Geffen, Food-4-Less supermarket mogul Ron Burkle, Lew Wasserman, Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks.
(The smaller corporate foundations seem to be incapable of recognizing their self-destructive nature when one looks closely at where they’re willing to spend their money. Notable among these are The Turner Foundation and The Ben and Jerry’s Foundation. Together they have given grants totaling over $226,000 to the anti-capitalist Ruckus Society, whose director John Sellers is fond of saying things such as "Anarchism has got a really bad rap, like communism." At least Sellers was honest with his benefactors, who were made to seem utterly foolish by him, when he told London’s Financial Times in 2001, "There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is confronting it.")
While the Left claims poverty for their charities, billions of dollars are being given to them from the most powerful foundations in the world. Monies are pouring into groups, many with seemingly innocent names, that are actively promoting anti-Western, anti-capitalist and anti-American ideals at a global level. If the Left is failing in their initiatives, it’s through no fault but their own. If their ideals are failing to take root in the minds of ordinary people it’s because their radical agendas are positively distasteful to a thinking population. The Democratic Party is not only swimming in money from corporate and union donations, their candidates are also VIP’s at every Hollywood political fundraiser and are cashing checks from the most powerful names in almost every industry.
The Left has many problems in the current political arena. From an anti-war movement lead by Marxists and ivory-tower radicals to a Democratic Party that is, for all practical purposes, in shambles. The mood of the United States is shifting ever-further the Right, and the Left is aghast at this development. However, despite their resounding chorus of self-pity, this situation has not developed for their want of money.