August was a big month for CRC researchers. Not only did we break new stories—see Parker Thayer’s Fox News hit on Zuckerberg’s cash finding its way into local DA races—but we also kept the pressure on stories we’ve been covering for years, like Scott Walter’s First Things podcast appearance discussing the radical origins of Black Lives Matter.
As has become the case, we also made several appearances as op-ed writers in outlets such as National Review, American Spectator, and American Conservative. And we even managed to convince our own Mike Hartmann to do a little crossover event by interviewing Ken Braun for the Giving Review.
A good month all in all. Please enjoy our best media hits for August 2021 below.
“Liberalism Drops Its Mask”
American Spectator, Mike Watson (Op-ed), August 10, 2021
Since the turn of the 20th century, progressivism and liberalism have been pushed for an increasingly massive state and burdensome government restrictions on personal conduct (outside the bedroom, at least) on a simple premise: It’s for the good of the people. Listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) today, one hears the same claims, with the socialist Left arguing that government should run health care to serve those who cannot afford it, or that the Postal Service should provide banking to serve those whom commercial banks do not.
But the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the truth behind this mask: modern liberalism, progressivism, democratic socialism, whatever else one wishes to call it, does not serve the people. Instead, It serves a set of defined special interest groups that often bear little resemblance to “the people” Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and their allies invoke.
“Zuckerberg Cash Discreetly Leaked into Far-Left Prosecutor Races”
Fox News, Parker Thayer (Guest), August 2, 2021
Parker Thayer, a researcher at the Capital Research Center, said the secretive cash hurt Wall’s candidacy, which became a focal point in the election.
“As you can tell from multiple times where the Oregon Law and Justice PAC was asked about who their donor was, they kept it secret the entire time, even despite the fact that his opponent was running ads saying secret billionaires are funding his campaign and he won’t tell us who the billionaires are, Thayer told Fox News. “Even despite the fact it was dealing serious damage to his campaign.
“I think contributed to him losing the election,” Thayer continued. “Max Wall, the candidate Mark Zuckerberg was backing, never revealed who the donor was because he was so obsessed with remaining secret.”
“The Radical Origins of Black Lives Matter”
First Things podcast, Scott Walter (Guest), August 12, 2021
The latest installment of an ongoing interview series with contributing editor Mark Bauerlein. Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, joins the podcast to discuss his First Things article, The Founders of Black Lives Matter, and the radical origins of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The Left’s Campaign for Socialized Housing”
American Conservative, Robert Stilson (Op-ed), August 20, 2021
For the increasing unaffordability of housing in much of America, observers offer a variety of explanations and remedies. Numerous factors are at play. The housing market is, after all, a market, and a complex one at that. Its current state has been characterized as “supply and demand on steroids.” Although proposals may vary, the goal for all is common: Get people into homes they can afford, whether rented or owned. The latter is particularly important, as somewhere on the order of 90 percent of Americans view homeownership as essential or important to their conception of the American Dream. For most conservatives, this is fundamentally a private-sector competency, and solutions properly focus on encouraging, or removing barriers to, this competency. An increasingly vocal and well-heeled segment of the progressive left, however, disagrees and is calling for dramatic changes to America’s housing sector. Last year, the Capital Research Center (CRC) published a two-part series detailing the convoluted and overlapping networks of activist groups that were using the Covid-19 crisis to push for socialized housing in the United States. CRC noted that even though these proposals were often couched in terms of a pandemic response, they were by no means Covid-dependent.
“Weakening of the Family Weakens People’s Defenses Against Socialism”
NTD TV, Scott Walter (Guest), August 13, 2021
Scott Walter is the president of Capital Research Center and the former assistant to President George W. Bush on domestic policy. He talks about why the youth are attracted to socialism. He adds that “the three greatest influences on young people … are going to be family and culture and schools, and we have problems in all three of those.”
“Does American Compass Point Left?”
National Review, Mike Watson (Op-ed), August 16, 2021
‘The Conservative Case for [Liberal Thing]” is a punchline. These “conservative cases” are drafted by think-tankers in the metaphorical hot-take mines who in many cases are paid to do so by a left-of-center foundation seeking to bamboozle Republican policy-makers and conservative supporters into empowering liberal interest groups, undermining long-standing conservative principles, or just doing whatever liberals want to do anyway.
Is that what is going on with American Compass, the think tank led by ex–Mitt Romney adviser Oren Cass that presents supposed conservative cases for organized labor, industrial policy, and calls to “reimagine capitalism in America”? The think tank is the most prominent element of the “labor conservatives” who form a “redistributionist right,” with Politico and other D.C. outlets framing it as the vanguard of a new, capitalism-skeptical Right that would emerge in the wake of Donald Trump’s rise and fall.
“A Conversation With Capital Research Center’s Ken Braun”
Giving Review, Ken Braun (Guest), August 2, 2021
My good friend Ken Braun is a senior investigative research at the Capital Research Center, where I’m a senior fellow. A former state-legislative staffer in his native Michigan, Braun has worked at several free-market think tanks and written widely about politics and policymaking, including philanthropy’s influence on it.
He recently has conducted research about the role of establishment grantmakers and their nonprofit grant recipients in the massive and growing problem of homelessness in Los Angeles—a problem to which we at The Giving Review, for some time, have tried to pay attention for what it can teach us about the role and effects of certain kinds of giving. Last week, for the most-recent example, L.A. attorney Elizabeth Mitchell had a conversation with us about the issue, during which she said we need to “understand the negative impact of philanthropy.”
“Local Philanthropy Isn’t Local for ‘Citizens of the World’”
American Conservative, Hayden Ludwig (Op-ed), August 9, 2021
No word better describes America’s liberal plutocrats than “cosmopolitan,” from κοσμοπολίτης (kosmopolites), literally “universal citizen.” We have the ancient Greeks to thank for the concept as well as the word. The first cosmopolitan was Diogenes, the first of the Cynics (ascetics who cast away their property and possessions to pursue a more virtuous life of the mind, in accord with nature). Diogenes may have hailed from the city of Sinope, but against the patchwork of city-states that peppered Greece he famously declared, “I am a citizen of the world.”
A greater affinity for humankind than individual humans is about the only thing our own “citizens of the world” have in common with the Cynics, however. The lives of America’s transnational liberal billionaires are about as far from ascetic as one can get. The climate-conscious fly private jets and buy island mansions, famous socialists own multiple houses, and the biggest critics of income inequality leverage capital gains losses to pay little-to-no income tax.