The Red Threat Funding the Left


It’s a cliché (and no less likely to be true for being such) to say that progressives will always tell you what they are doing by accusing the other side of it.  Thus, we get coordinated accusations about “Koch brothers funding” in the most local of races all the way up to the most nationally concerned disputes while George Soros funds the broad and hostile Left and Tom Steyer undemocratically changes energy policies in states in which he does not live.

Thus, we get unsubstantiated assertions of Russian investment in the American Right even as this is going on:

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report. …

In addition to Johns Hopkins, other think tanks linked to China and influential in American policy circles include the Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council, Center for American Progress, EastWest Institute, Carter Center, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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So, at best, we’ve got a complex world in which both sides do similar things, each with a mix of motivations and effects.  My experience, though, is that progressives’ activities carry what most people would perceive to be a suspicious tinge.  That makes sense objectively:  The Left, after all, is defined by its comfort with centralized authority and positions itself in opposition to established norms.

However much these Left-Right scales may balance, though, we shouldn’t allow the assumption that anything done for progressive causes is excusable.

  • BasicCaruso

    “So, at best, we’ve got a complex world in which both sides do similar things…”

    Except that RICFP keeps its donor list secret, unlike the Brookings Institution (mentioned in your link) which publishes their donors in their annual report. That you refuse to disclose who secretly pays for your operations says it all.
    Each year, Brookings produces an annual report highlighting our collective work and the impact it has had on the world.

    The annual report has, since 1983, also provided an opportunity for us to thank the generous donors whose financial support makes our work possible, while also demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

    • Justin Katz

      Yes, it says that we are willing to take cheap political shots in order to protect our donors from getting themselves on the target lists of people like you.

  • Mike678

    You are correct, in part, but are not also a victim of your worldview? In arguing your positions, you attempt to convince. The unspoken assumption is that your readers, like you, are open to a discussion, i.e., have open minds. Perhaps many do, but many do not; they are not interested in a discussion, rarely back up their assertions with facts, and have no interest in playing “fair.”

    For example, I often argue that who funds a study doesn’t matter–the methodology is what counts. If you disagree with the conclusion, point to the flaws in the argument and or methodology to give credibility to your position. Logic! But the ignorant, lazy or ideologically bound often don’t want to hear contrasting positions; they just ignore the conclusion based on who produced the study. Confirmation bias, closed mind, or just interested in silencing those who disagree–pick one. We see this in those posters squawking “Koch”, “ALEC”,”CATO”, FOX, and so forth.

    Frankly, I don’t care who funds a study, though admittedly I will scrutinize some more than others based on their conclusions and past agenda. I have found flaws in studies arguing for the right and for the left, though I do see a bit more emotion-based arguments and cherry-picking on the left (pay equity, for example). I can also understand why conservative groups seek to preserve donor anonymity–the totalitarian left has gone after many a conservative donor in the past in their zeal to deny free speech or funding of any group with which they disagree–you seldom see the right doing so.

    As for Brooking’s “transparency”: Because of Brookings’s disclosure methods, precise donation figures for all donors are not publicly known. Relying on the minimum level of each range provides insight into the growing participation by certain donor types but can also understate that presence.

    For instance, records compiled by the Foundation Center, which tracks philanthropic giving, show that the Rockefeller Foundation contributed $10 million to Brookings in 2010. Brookings’s annual report lists Rockefeller in the category that year of giving at least $1 million. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was listed in the same category by Brookings in 2007, while the Foundation Center reports its contribution that year to be $8.7 million.”

    And let’s not ignore the “anonymous” donors…