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Ayn Rand Indoctrination at American Universities, Sponsored by the Right Wing

Conservative activists have a good-cop, bad-cop approach to the university. In either case, the same right-wing foundations pay the bill.

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“There exists today, in contrast to the 1970s, an impressive network of think tanks, journals and university programs supported by conservative foundations, which are engaged in different ways in promoting the cause of liberty and limited government. As a result, there is now a robust debate in American intellectual life between conservatives and liberals. The one-sided debate, dominated by the Left, is a thing of the past.”

Interestingly, others on the Right--including groups funded by the very same upstanding and seemingly well-mannered conservative foundations--take a far less rosy view. Despite their successes, they loudly decry a vast left-wing conspiracy, firmly entrenched and set to turn the young against America and capitalism. After 9/11, a re-energized right-wing movement emerged to attack a supposed left bias in academia, particularly in Middle East studies departments.

Daniel Pipes founded Campus Watch, a Web site that continues to denounce offending professors by name for anti-Americanism or for daring to criticize Israel. David Horowitz, never a shrinking violet, launched a campaign against a “fifth column” of “tens of thousands of active sympathizers with the enemy's anti-American cause” within academia.

The targets of vilification change with the times. Two decades ago, the Olin Foundation funded David Brock, the one-time conservative who went on to found Media Matters, to write his attack book The Real Anita Hill. More recently, right-wing saboteur Andrew Breitbart went after labor studies professors at the University of Missouri. And the Wisconsin Republican Party demanded the e-mails of University of Wisconsin historian William Cronon after he wrote about the American Legislative Exchange Council’s role in crafting conservative bills in  state legislatures. The open records request specified e-mails containing words like “Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining.”

Conservative activists have a good-cop, bad-cop approach to the university. In either case, the same right-wing foundations pay the bill. This is the way the conservative movement works across the board: a collaboration between country club manners and the issuing of position papers on the one hand, and frothing-at-the-mouth questioning of the president’s birth certificate and allegations of communist infiltration on the other.

The Bradley Foundation is the largest funder of  Middle East Forum, which runs the "traitor"-denouncing Campus Watch. They also fund the more upright American Council of Trustees and Alumni, founded by Lynne Cheney and Joseph Lieberman (who has since distanced himself) to promote the Western canon and bash leftist professors. Two months after 9/11, they issued a report titled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It." Bradley has also given millions to the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and has bankrolled pro-charter and voucher organizations nationwide seeking to privatize American public schools.

Bradley funded a right-wing alumni association to attack Dartmouth College-- the same university where foundations (including Bradley, Scaife and Olin) funded a pathbreaking and sometimes vilely offensive conservative student newspaper called the  Dartmouth Review. Such papers, with the support of the foundation-funded Institute for Educational Affairs (which in turn funded the conservative college newspaper Collegiate Network), began to pop up around the country in the 1980s. Newspaper alumni range from Dinesh D'Souza to Ann Coulter. Student groups like the Young America’s Foundation also benefit from foundation largesse.

Laying down its spear and putting on a tie, the Bradley Foundation also gives out a $250,000 Bradley Prize to a handful of conservative intellectuals like Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol. Bradley throws a big Kennedy Center gala every year.

Asset manager Roger Hertog is another conservative--actually, a neoconservative--who moves easily between street-fighting and high-minded philanthropy, bomb-throwing activism and establishment propriety. Hertog funded pro-Israel journals at three universities, including Columbia, where conservative students launched a massive smear campaign against the  Middle Eastern studies department. Hertog also funded the New York Sun, a small, right-wing daily that attacked Columbia professors in tandem with on-campus activists.

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