Funding the Right Olin provides foundation for conservative infrastructure Key to Dinesh D’Souza’s rapid rise to the top has been the New York-based John M. Olin Foundation, which contributed $150,000 between 1988 and 1990 toward the writing and promotion of ez-al Education, John M. Olin Foundation President James Piereson says he has “known about Dinesh [D ‘Souza] since he was at the Dartmouth Review. I knew him at the Heritage Foundation and at the White House, [and] then when he went into the American Enterprise Institute,” he told the Observer. Piereson went on to say that Olin has supported D’Souza for about five years, and that he had “known him personally since 1986.” The Olin Foundation in 1990 paid approximately $19.8 million in grants; this enormous sum \(the leftish Live Oak Fund in Austin, scores of conservative scholars, think tanks and political organizations. With that kind of clout, the Olin Foundation deserves closer examination. According to the Olin Annual Report, the general purpose’ of the foundation is “to provide support for projects that reflect Of are intended to strengthen the economic, political and cultural institutions upon which the American heritage of constitutional government and private enterprise is based. The Foundation also seeks to promote a general understanding of these institutions by encouraging the thoughtful study of the connections between economic and political freedoms, and the cultural heritage that sustains them.” That philosophy translates in practice into funding for a shockingly large number of conservative academics, journalists and political activists. Piereson says the Olin Foundation funding pattern is “definitely conservative.” But Olin and three other big-league conservative foundations came under fire recently when Paul Gottfried, a conservative professor at Elizabethtown College, criticized the foundations in scathing terms. Charging that the foundations were dominated by neoconservatives, Gottfried argued that “Where is a definite worldview that neoconservative-controlled foundations subsidize,” and complained that this worldview excludes most conservatives. In addition, Gottfried writes that “few humanities scholars on the Left hold the financial resources available to the neoconservative’s kept intellectuals,” and warns of “the concentration of power and money within its [the conservative movement’s] neoconservative wing.” Prominent conservative and former Nixon-speech writer Pat Buchanan repeated these charges in a nationally syndicated column. Piereson responds that the foundation’s goal is “hopefully helping different people from respectable strands of modern conservativism.” He told the Observer “I have great respect for neoconservatives, and count among my friends people like Irving Kristol, Midge Decter, Michael Novak and Norman Podhoretz.” He continued, “[i]t’s true we support neoconservatives … that is just a fraction of the total.” Piereson points out that Olin gives money to prominent conservatives like William F. Buckley Jr. and Phyllis Schlafly, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute \(founded by Buckley Roberts and Alan Meltzer, programs in law and economics at Harvard. Yale, Stanford and Virginia, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute for War, Revolution and Peace, and others. Funding for these entities, says Piereson, proves that the foundation funds non-neoconservatives. Piereson said Gottfried’s definition of a neoconservative is “anyone who gets a grant from the John Olin Foundation.” Grant information from the Olin Annual Report confirins Piereson’s assertion that Olin funding does not go only to neoconservatives. Out of more than $63 million in grants currently authorized by the Olin Foundation, for example, nearly one-fourth, $15 million, is destined to establish the John M. Olin Graduate School of Business Administration at Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. Large sums were authorized for the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Economic Analysis of Law program, the Law and Economics program at Harvard Law School, and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. It’s true, however, that the Olin Foundation funds a large number of the prominent right-wing academics, publications and`think tanks, including the most prominent neoconservative in the country. According to the Olin Annual Report, for example, its grantees in 1990 included prominent conservative media like Commentary, The American Spectator, The National Review, New Criterion, The National hzterest, The Public Interest, The Dartnzouth Review, Radio Free Europe, as well as William Buckley Jr.’s TV program, Firing Line. Olin also funds less well-known publications like Benchmark, a journal on legal issues, CriSiS, a conservative Catholic journal published by the Brovvnson Institute, and Encounter, a journal originally founded in London by neoconservative Irving Kristol, reportedly with CIA money, and currently operated by the prominent right-wing publisher, Freedom House. The smallest grant to any of the above magazines was $25,000 for a single year Irving Kristol’s journal, The National Interest, received $135,000 in 1990. Olin authorized a $150,000 multi-year grant for The Dartmouth Review, but only $25,000 has been doled out to date. Among prominent conservatives who Olin funds, one finds the likes of Robert Bork and Irving Kristol, who receive $230,630 and $124,400 respectively from their Olin-funded fellowships at the American Enterprise Institute. Former drug czar William Bennett received $50,000 of a $175,000 Olin-funded fellowship at the Hudson Institute in 1990, while former Undersecretary of State and contra-booster Elliott Abrams, also at the Hudson Institute, was paid $40,000 to write a book on post-Cold War foreign policy. Former Ramparts editors and neoconservatives-come-lately Peter Collier and David Horowitz received half of a $150,000 Olin grant in 1990 to support their “Second Thoughts” project \(Second Thoughts is a book by Collier and Horowitz in which they repent sity dean who resigned recently after admitting plagiarism, was paid $219,821 in 1990 on a $635,352 grant to support a program of seminars in “defense journalism.” In short, Olin funding has helped create what Kenneth Cribb of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute has called “a conservative intellectual infrastructure … that was but a dream in 1964. Scholars, books, journals, centers, reprints, tapes, fellowships, and similar resources,” Cribb noted, “are now available in abundance to provide intellectual substance for a developing conservatism.” The conservative movement has the Olin Foundation to thank for a great deal of that infrastructure. S.H. 8 SEPTEMBER 20, 1991
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.