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Friday, October 24, 2003

Scalia and the ISI

Brad DeLong has a great post about Justice Scalia's latest rant at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Presumably, Scalia is the topic of much blogging today.

Does everyone know what the ISI is and does? It is funded by Richard Scaife and family (noted rich Clinton haters) and seeks to "educate for liberty," meaning that it seeks to get college students to embrace "limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and Judeo-Christian moral standards."

According to Media Transparency, it funds 70 conservative student newspapers, sponsors conferences and lectures on college campuses, and produces publications that seek to mount a "counteroffensive" against the left, which it views as entrenched in universities. Here's some material originally from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP):
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), a 44-year-old organization dedicated to free markets, limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility and "cultural norms" consistent with a free society, is one of the top grantees of the right wing movement. ISI now claims over 60,000 members and maintains an active presence on campuses by organizing forty conferences a year and more than 300 lectures. The Institute produced several publications including Campus, which attacks progressive trends in higher education, the Common Sense Guide to American Colleges, and an ISI leadership guide for conservative activists...

...As indicated above, funders have created and heavily supported academic change organizations and networks whose fundamental mission is to "take back" the universities from scholars and academic programs regarded either as too hostile to free markets or too critical of the values and history of Western civilization. This agenda was clearly articulated by T. Kenneth Cribb, president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, who stated in a lecture to the Heritage Foundation:

"We must...provide resources and guidance to an elite which can take up anew the task of enculturation. Through its journals, lectures, seminars, books and fellowships, this is what ISI has done successfully for 36 years. The coming of age of such elites has provided the current leadership of the conservative revival. But we should add a major new component to our strategy: the conservative movement is now mature enough to sustain a counteroffensive on that last Leftist redoubt, the college campus...We are now strong enough to establish a contemporary presence for conservatism on campus, and contest the Left on its own turf. We plan to do this by greatly expanding the ISI field effort, its network of campus-based programming."
I wonder how the right would react if some overtly leftist organization announced an intent to recruit students into the progressive movement?

I know, I know, the right thinks campuses are already hotbets of leftist thought and action. But where are the left-wing student newspapers? Where are the sponsored lectures and conferences on progressive themes? Where are the liberal scholarship dollars? And if the left is so powerful on campuses, why do so many college graduates keep voting Republican?

Maybe all the dollars are spent at Harvard, where the students train to be the core of the Democratic Party?

In any event, academics and students might not know that ISI is close at hand on their own college campuses. Google your campus for evidence of ISI events...or money. Always follow the money.

Click here to see my results for University of Louisville.

Updates: Mark Kleiman notes a new article on the shoulder-fired missile problem from Federation of American Scientists.

Kleiman also has recent updates on the Plame affair, the Rumsfeld memo , General Boykins, and presidential candidate Wesley Clark -- all topics I've blogged about over the past few weeks.

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