Friday, January 28, 2005

Wingnuttia on Campuses

University campuses are known hotbeds of communism and feminism and other frightening movements that threaten the Murkan Freedom. Everybody knows this. And wise women such as Ann Coulter warn us about the danger of leaving this situation unattended:

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Committee's 2002 annual conference in Washington D.C. where presenters included William Bennett, Lynne Cheney, Katherine Harris, Chris Mathews, Condoleeza Rice and Tommy Thompson, Coulter said:

"In contemplating college liberals, you really regret, once again, that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they could be killed, too. Otherwise they will turn out into out right traitors."

"On the bright side, and in conclusion," continued Coulter, "at least college campuses serve as sort of an internment camp for useless leftists in wartime. We know where they are, this way. And, as General Patton said, 'I love it when they come out and shoot at me because then I know where they are and I can shoot the bastards.'"

Coulter is so tiring, but she's not alone in the fear and hatred of campus liberals. You might assume that a country where the Republicans already control most everything wouldn't have to worry about the dangers of a few lonely liberals in academic internment camps.

You would be wrong. The wingnuts are very worried about this tiny, unimportant fringe group (yes, you can have it both ways), and they spend large amounts of money on counterpropaganda specifically aimed at university students:

The three largest conservative campus organizations are the innocuous-sounding Young America's Foundation (YAF), Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and the Leadership Institute which spent approximately $25 million on various campus outreach programs in 2004.

Others include the Ward Connerly-led American Civil Rights Institute, Madison Center for Educational Affairs and the David Horowitz-led Students for Academic Freedom.

According to People for the American Way, a progressive organization exposing the right, the "...right-wing foundations are aware that they must not only control contemporary public debate, but also foster the next generation of conservative scholars, journalists, government employees, legislators and activists."

Conservative foundations "...and others funnel millions of dollars into conservative university programs, university chairs, lecture circuits and right-wing student publications and promote conservative research in the media to legitimize their positions," (

Over the past 30 years, the organized right-wing has built a nation-wide campus network with scores of right-wing intelligentsia and over a dozen conservative student-focused think tanks that now spend over $40 million annually.

In contrast the Sierra Student Coalition, the student-led organization of the Sierra Club, services a network of 150 campus chapters with a staff of three and a budget of $350,000, one of the largest budgets of independent progressive campus organizations.

In 2004 YAF subsidized over 200 campus lectures by well-known right-wing speakers largely through the right-wing National Association of Scholar's chapters on various campuses. YAF, according to its website, was founded to combat affirmative action, feminism, communism and Marxism and also to "counter-balance 'New Left and Communist influence on campuses." YAF provides assistance to students and their organizations by providing guest speakers, organizing and training seminars, networking opportunities, promotional merchandise and other resources.

In 1998 YAF purchased the "Western White House" otherwise known as former U.S. president's Ronald Reagan's California vacation ranch where conferences, retreats and other activities are held in an effort to recruit and groom the next generation of young conservatives. Its National Journalism Center maintains a job bank for college graduates and program alumni who increasingly employed in "mainstream" media corporations. YAF has received over $1.6 million from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, John M. Olin, Sarah Scaife Foundations according to, a progressive website clearinghouse that tracks right-wing funding.

ISI spent about $1 million subsidizing a network of over 80 right-wing campus newspapers in 2004 and over $9 million for book publishing and periodicals for college conservatives. The ISI has received over $16 million since 1985 from conservative foundations. The Collegiate Network founded by Reagan's treasury secretary William Simon and Irving Kristol, before recently merging with the ISI, received over $4.3 million from conservative foundations.

The ISI's most well-known graduate is Dinesh D'Souza, former editor of the Dartmouth Review, and a current "fellow" at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution. In his 1995 book "The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society," D'Souza claimed that segregation was designed to, " assure that [Blacks], like the handicapped, would be...permitted to perform to the capacity of their arrested development." (The Feeding Through: The Bradley Foundation, "The Bell Curve," & the Real Story Behind W-2).

The Leadership Institute's goal is to foster conservatism on campuses and through workshops and other means to train young conservative "journalists." The institute has received over $1.6 million since 1986 from the Richard and Helen DeVos (Amway), the Bradley Foundation and others.

And how much do the feminist organizations that work on campuses get? Largely pencils and mugs, I suppose. And I know that they don't have the money to give.

The main difference between the Wingnuttia organizations and the rest appears to be that the Wingnuttians operate from the top down (in fact, they seldom seem to have much of a base) and pour money down the funnel to a few preselected individuals, whereas the progressives and liberals operate mainly on the grassroots level (or pencil-and-paper level) and appear to have very little money coming from the top, if there is a top interested in the campuses at all. This does not bode well for the future of liberal voices on campuses, unless the parent organizations learn their lessons and offer some support for the impending fights against radical conservatism.

Whether money alone can win minds isn't clear, but I would prefer not to have to wait for the next attack by the Independent Women's Forum (very well funded by the Scaife Foundation and not independent at all) on feminism just to find out.