The Left-Wing Money Machine
Democrats and the media like to paint Republicans as the party of big money, calling out Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers, when in reality the progressive money machine vastly outweighs conservative sources of funds. The Democrat money advantage is so one-sided, in fact, that it is a wonder that Republicans and conservatives are able to win as many elections as they do.
We on the right hear much of George Soros and the Tides Foundation, but it is never quite clear just where all the money comes from to support the myriad left-wing pressure groups that agitate the public and shift the national debate farther and farther to the left.
From illegal immigration and socialized medicine to radical environmentalism and formidable government unions, there is a never-ending flow of funds and coercion toward left-wing causes, at the expense of traditional, conservative American values.
A recent book, The New Leviathan, subtitled How the Left-Wing Money Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America's Future, by David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin, examines the forces behind the dangerous and seemingly inexorable push to the left on so many issues of critical national import.
The authors focus on the numerous foundations that provide funding to such radical groups as the National Council of La Raza, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights League, and the Center for American Progress.
The central point of the book is that left-wing foundations outweigh conservative foundations by a factor of more than ten, in both total assets and the value of grants awarded. This is exactly the reverse of what the left-controlled media recites over and over again in its drive to promote the Democrats as the party of the little guy.
An exhaustive appendix of tables listing progressive and conservative foundations, their assets, and their annual grants and revenues shows progressive foundations with assets totaling $104.6 billion, compared with $10.3 billion for conservative foundations, and progressive grants awarded totaling $8.8 billion, compared with conservative grants awarded totaling just $0.8 billion1.
The result is that the resources available to progressive immigration groups, for example, are 22 times those available to conservative groups2, a fact reflected in the continual pressure from the left to open the border and decriminalize illegals.
The authors also find that there are 552 "progressive environmental groups that promote radical views that are anti-business," and just 32 "conservative environmental groups that promote market-friendly solutions," with similar massive funding advantages accruing to the environmental extremists3.
As the authors note, the aggressive environmental agenda of the Obama administration reflects the fact that "the financial muscle of these foundations brought the radicals out of the wilderness and into the mainstream of the nation's environmental politics"4.
A look at the Grants Database of the Ford Foundation, which is the second-largest foundation in total assets (to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and which provided the seed money for both the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Fund5, shows hundreds of entities receiving grants, including the National Council of La Raza for $1.6 million this year, and the Center for American Progress for $1.7 million, as well as
the Tides Foundation for $250,000, the National Network of Abortion Funds for $300,000, and the National Health Law Program for $300,000, to name a few.
A few minutes perusing the Ford database is instructive as to the nature of the groups receiving grants from the Foundation. Note that the foundation's website states that the foundation gradually divested its Ford Motor Company stock by 1974 (lest you wonder if your new car purchase is funding leftist causes).
Compounding the left's big-money advantage are the public-sector and other unions, from the SEIU to the NEA, whose intimidating tactics and powerful financial influence promote the same radical agenda and were a major factor in the election of our current president.
As the authors point out, the inability of conservatives to influence the ObamaCare debate "illustrates the Left's institutional advantage in orchestrating social change - its financial dominance and its far more developed political coordination"6.
Horowitz and Laskin employ the example of the Woods Fund, whose board Barack Obama and Bill Ayers both served on, and observe that after the most active Woods family member died, "control of the previously traditional charity fell into the hands of leftist staffers, including veterans of the Midwest Academy, who hijacked its agenda and pushed the foundation aggressively to the left[.]" Further7:
The Woods fund trajectory - an apolitical, even conservative, foundation swerving dramatically to the left - was to repeat itself throughout the philanthropic culture.
The authors also detail the transformation of the now-progressive Pew Charitable Trusts, a group founded by "oil tycoon and Christian conservative J. Howard Pew in 1957 to educate Americans on the 'values of the free market' and the 'paralyzing effects of government controls on the lives and activities of the people'"8.
These were foundations created by good men who worked hard, amassed a fortune, and left it for what they hoped would be good in the world, only to have it hijacked by radicals seeking to transform and reorder the world.
The authors conclude by observing that the foundations of the New Leviathan do not answer to voters or to supporters and are accountable to no one for the agendas they advance to change the direction of America9:
The New Leviathan is self-sufficient and self-perpetuating. It is an aristocracy of wealth whose dimensions exceed any previous accumulations of financial power, whose influence already represents a massive disenfranchisement of the American people and whose agendas pose a disturbing prospect for the American future.
With the overwhelming financial advantage of the left-wing money machine, it is hard to take seriously a president who castigates Republicans as the party of the rich.
1The New Leviathan, Davis Horowitz and Jacob Laskin, Crown Forum, 2012, pp. 185-86
2Ibid, p. 197
3Ibid, p. 209
4Ibid, p. 131
5Ibid, p. 135
6Ibid, p. 126
7Ibid, p. 41
8Ibid, p. 42
9Ibid, p. 181