Foundations

I don’t think I did the link to the City Journal article in my previous post the due justice it deserves. The article is nothing short of explosive in the constant, detailed, grinding revelations of the centrality of foundations to the development of culture. Working from the De Jouvenelian/ Moldbug position of unsecure power and then searching for examples that fit the model of degeneracy production that I believe is inherent in unsecure power, I had come to the conclusion that foundations were the source of the civil rights era, and that they functioned as the guiding force of the whole thing – The Iron Law of Rebellious Tools. The author of the article has largely come to the same conclusion. But being without a functioning model of how this mechanism works, the author fails to fully grasp what is going on, yet admirably manages to follow the trail of the whole thing with great discipline.

This entire area of foundation history is the real history of the late 20th century. Official government is mere window dressing, and if your theories and interpretation of history is based on them, you are working on faulty information.

I will provide a sample of choice quotes to give a taste of how rich with information this article is, enjoy:

 

On most campuses today, a foundation-endowed multicultural circus has driven out the very idea of a common culture, deriding it as a relic of American imperialism. Foundation-backed advocates for various “victim” groups use the courts to bend government policy to their will, thwarting the democratic process. And poor communities across the country often find their traditional values undermined by foundation-sent “community activists” bearing the latest fashions in diversity and “enlightened” sexuality.”

 

 

“But the “scientific philanthropy” articulated by Rockefeller’s personal advisor, Frederick Gates, contained a crucial—and ultimately destructive—innovation. The value of a foundation, Gates argued, was that it moved the disposition of wealth from the control of the donor into the hands of “experts”—precisely the opposite of Carnegie’s view that the person who made the money would be its wisest administrator. Eventually, this transfer of control yielded the paradox of funds made by laissez-faire capitalists being used for the advocacy of a welfare state. Even during Rockefeller’s lifetime, Gates’s doctrine produced some odd moments. In 1919 Rockefeller prophetically wrote to his lawyer: “I could wish that the education which some professors furnish was more conducive to the most sane and practical and possible views of life rather than drifting . . . toward socialism and some forms of Bolshevism.” But Rockefeller’s attorney countered that donors should not try to influence teaching—or even consider a university’s philosophy in funding it. The subsequent history of academia has proved the folly of that injunction, which Rockefeller unfortunately obeyed.”

 

 

“…by the early 1960s, the trustees started clamoring for a more radical vision; according to Richard Magat, a Ford employee, they demanded “action-oriented rather than research-oriented” programs that would “test the outer edges of advocacy and citizen participation.”

The first such “action-oriented” program, the Gray Areas project, was a turning point in foundation history and—because it was a prime mover of the ill-starred War on Poverty—a turning point in American history as well. Its creator, Paul Ylvisaker, an energetic social theorist from Harvard and subsequent icon for the liberal foundation community, had concluded that the problems of newly migrated urban blacks and Puerto Ricans could not be solved by the “old and fixed ways of doing things.” Because existing private and public institutions were unresponsive, he argued, the new poverty populations needed a totally new institution—the “community action agency”—to coordinate legal, health, and welfare services and to give voice to the poor. According to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an early poverty warrior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Ford “proposed nothing less than institutional change in the operation and control of American cities . . . . [Ford] invented a new level of American government: the inner-city community action agency.” Ylvisaker proceeded to establish such agencies in Boston, New Haven, Philadelphia, and Oakland”

 

 

“Ford ignored reports that the community action agencies were failures, according to historian Alice O’Connor. Reincarnated as federal Community Action Programs (CAPs), Ford’s urban cadres soon began tearing up cities. Militancy became the mark of merit for federal funders, according to Senator Moynihan. In Newark, the director of the local CAP urged blacks to arm themselves before the 1967 riots; leaflets calling for a demonstration were run off on the CAP’s mimeograph machine. The federal government funneled community action money to Chicago gangs—posing as neighborhood organizers—who then continued to terrorize their neighbors. The Syracuse, New York, CAP published a remedial reading manual that declared: “No ends are accomplished without the use of force. . . . Squeamishness about force is the mark not of idealistic, but moonstruck morals.” Syracuse CAP employees applied $7 million of their $8 million federal grant to their own salaries.”

These programs were just warm-ups, however. When McGeorge Bundy, former White House national security advisor, became Ford’s president in 1966, the foundation’s activism switched into high gear. Bundy reallocated Ford’s resources from education to minority rights, which in 1960 had accounted for 2.5 percent of Ford’s giving but by 1970 would soar to 40 percent. Under Bundy’s leadership, Ford created a host of new advocacy groups, such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (a prime mover behind bilingual education) and the Native American Rights Fund, that still wreak havoc on public policy today. Ford’s support for a radical Hispanic youth group in San Antonio led even liberal congressman Henry B. Gonzales to charge that Ford had fostered the “emergence of reverse racism in Texas.

 

 

Incredibly, foundation officers believed that Ford’s radicalization merely responded to the popular will. As Francis X. Sutton, a longtime Ford staffer, reminisced in 1989: “It took the critical populist upsurge at the end of the sixties to weaken faith that the foundation’s prime vocation lay in helping government, great universities, and research centers . . . . As the sixties wore on, the values of the New Left spread through American society and an activistic spirit entered the foundation that pulled it away from its original vision of solving the world’s problems through scientific knowledge.” The notion that the 1960s represented a “populist upsurge,” or that New Left values bubbled up from the American grassroots rather than being actively disseminated by precisely such rich, elite institutions as the Ford Foundation, could only be a product of foundation thinking.”

 

 

The most notorious Bundy endeavor, the school decentralization experiment in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn, changed the course of liberalism by fracturing the black-Jewish civil rights coalition and souring race relations in New York for years afterward. Bundy had led a mayoral panel under John Lindsay that recommended giving “community control” over local public school districts to parents. The panel’s report, written by a Ford staffer, claimed that New York’s huge centralized school system was not sufficiently accountable to minority populations. Black and Puerto Rican children could not learn or even behave, the report maintained, unless their parents were granted “meaningful participation” in their education. Translation: parents should hire and fire local teachers and school administrators.”

Ford set about turning this theory into reality with utmost clumsiness. It chose as the head of its $1.4 million decentralization experiment in three Brooklyn school districts a longtime white-hater, Rhody McCoy, who dreamed of creating an all-black school system, right up through college, within the public schools. McCoy was a moderate, however, compared to the people he tapped as deputies. Although the school board blocked his appointment of a militant under indictment for conspiracy to murder, he did manage to hire Les Campbell, the radical head of the Afro-American Teachers Association, who organized his school’s most violent students into an anti-Semitic combat force. According to education scholar Diane Ravitch, McCoy had an understanding with racist thug Sonny Carson that Carson’s “bodyguards” would intimidate white teachers until McCoy would diplomatically call them off.

Ford’s experimental school districts soon exploded with anti-Semitic black rage, as militants argued that black and Puerto Rican children failed because Jewish teachers were waging “mental genocide” on them. The day after Martin Luther King’s assassination, students at a junior high school rampaged through the halls beating up white teachers, having been urged by Les Campbell to “[s]end [whitey] to the graveyard” if he “taps you on the shoulder.””

 

 

“Many foundations had turned against the system that had made them possible, as Henry Ford II recognized when he quit the Ford Foundation board in disgust in 1977. “In effect,” he wrote in his resignation letter, “the foundation is a creature of capitalism, a statement that, I’m sure, would be shocking to many professional staff people in the field of philanthropy. It is hard to discern recognition of this fact in anything the foundation does. It is even more difficult to find an understanding of this in many of the institutions, particularly the universities, that are the beneficiaries of the foundation’s grant programs.”

 

 

Today, the full-blown liberal foundation worldview looks like this:

First, white racism is the cause of black and Hispanic social problems. In 1982, for example, Carnegie’s Alan Pifer absurdly accused the country of tolerating a return to “legalized segregation of the races.” The same note still sounds in Rockefeller president Peter C. Goldmark Jr.’s assertion, in his 1995 annual report, that we “urgently need . . . a national conversation about race . . . to talk with candor about the implications of personal and institutional racism.”

Second, Americans discriminate widely on the basis not just of race but also of gender, “sexual orientation,” class, and ethnicity. As a consequence, victim groups need financial support to fight the petty-mindedness of the majority.

Third, Americans are a selfish lot. Without the creation of court-enforced entitlement, the poor will be abused and ignored. Without continuous litigation, government will be unresponsive to social needs.

Fourth, only government can effectively ameliorate social problems. Should government cut welfare spending, disaster will follow, which no amount of philanthropy can cure.

And finally, as a corollary to tenet four: at heart, most social problems are economic ones. In the language of foundations, America has “disinvested” in the poor. Only if the welfare state is expanded into “new areas of need,” to quote Pifer, will the poor be able to succeed.

This worldview is particularly noticeable in three key areas of foundation funding: the dissemination of diversity ideology, the “collaboratives” movement in community development, and public interest litigation and advocacy.”

 

 

“Not content with setting up separate departments of ethnic and gender studies, foundations have poured money into a powerful movement called “curriculum transformation,” which seeks to inject race, gender, and sexual consciousness into every department and discipline. A class in biology, for example, might consider feminine ways of analyzing cellular metabolism; a course in music history might study the hidden misogyny in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—actual examples. One accomplishment of the curricular transformationists is to distinguish bad, “masculine” forms of thinking (logic, mathematics, scientific research) from good, “feminine” forms, which subordinate the search for right answers to “inclusiveness” and “wholeness.” At the University of Massachusetts, Boston, the recipient of a Ford curriculum transformation grant, a course is not culturally diverse if it addresses “gender” one week and “social class” the next, according to the university’s diversity coordinator. “We’d want the issues of diversity addressed every week,” she says. Edgar Beckham, a program officer in charge of Ford’s Campus Diversity Initiative, lets his imagination run wild in describing the enormous reach of diversity: “Every domain of institutional activity might be involved,” he says—”buildings, grounds, financial aid.” No domain, in other words, is safe from foundation intervention.

 

 

The big foundations pursue identity politics and multiculturalism just as obsessively in the performing and fine arts. Gone are the days when Ford’s W. McNeil Lowry, described by Lincoln Kirstein as “the single most influential patron of the performing arts the American democratic system has ever produced,” collaborated with such artists as Isaac Stern to find new talent. The large foundations now practice what Robert Brustein, director of the American Repertory Theater, calls “coercive philanthropy,” forcing arts institutions to conform to the foundations’ vision of a multicultural paradise—one that, above all else, builds minority self-esteem.

 

 

“Alison Bernstein, director of Ford’s education and culture division, crystallized the liberal foundation perspective at the end of my interview with her. She had recently attended the New York City Ballet, where the audience, she noted, was “all white.” Yet the success among blacks of Bring In ‘da Noise, Bring In ‘da Funk, the Tony-winning rap and tap tour through the history of black oppression, she said, shows that the “minority audience is out there.” Why, she asked, isn’t the New York City Ballet commissioning a work from Savion Glover, the tap prodigy behind Bring In ‘da Noise?”

 

The third significant area of funding, public interest litigation and advocacy, embodies the foundations’ longstanding goal of producing “social change” by controlling government policy. Foundations bankroll public interest law groups that seek to establish in court rights that democratically elected legislatures have rejected. Foundations thus help sustain judicial activism by supporting one side of the symbiotic relationship between activist judges and social-change-seeking lawyers.

Foundations have used litigation to create and expand the iron trap of bilingual education; they have funded the perversion of the Voting Rights Act into a costly instrument of apartheid; and they lie behind the transformation of due-process rights into an impediment to, rather than a guarantor of, justice. Foundation support for such socially disruptive litigation makes a mockery of the statutory prohibition on lobbying, since foundations can effect policy changes in the courts, under the officially approved banner of “public interest litigation,” that are every bit as dramatic as those that could be achieved in the legislature.

These days, however, foundation-supported lawyers defend the status quo as often as they seek to change it; after all, foundations helped create that status quo. Foundation money is beating back efforts to reform welfare, through such Washington-based think tanks as the Center for Law and Social Policy and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, whose director won a MacArthur “genius” award in 1996. The Ford Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Norman Foundation, and others support the Center for Social Welfare Policy and Law in New York City, a law firm that represented the National Welfare Rights Organization during the 1960s and 1970s, when that organization was conducting its phenomenally successful campaign to legitimate welfare and encourage its spread. Today, the center is using Ford money to sue New York City over its long overdue welfare anti-fraud program. The suit apocalyptically accuses the city of depriving needy people of the “sole means available to them to obtain food, clothing, housing and medical assistance,” as if welfare were the world’s only conceivable means of support.”

 

“No other foundation(The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation) has had as dramatic an impact in shaping the debate over crime and punishment. Says Frank Hartman, executive director of the Kennedy School of Government: “I don’t know what the conversation would be like in [Clark’s] absence.” The foundation has bankrolled the wave of prisoners’ rights suits that have clogged the courts. But more important, Clark has tirelessly sponsored the specious notion that the U.S. incarcerates too many harmless criminals. In 1991 the Clark-supported Sentencing Project published a comparative study criticizing high U.S. incarceration rates, which sociologist Charles Logan likens to an “undergraduate term paper—one that was badly done.” Nevertheless, the study was on page one of newspapers across the country, fueling editorials and congressional speeches about America’s misguided prison policies. As Logan remarks, “Foundations are propaganda machines; that is the basis of their success.”

 

The McConnell Clark Foundation has one spectacular success to show for its effort to change government policies: it has helped make New York City’s homeless policies the most irrational in the nation. The foundation has been the most generous funder of the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Family Rights Project, which has been suing the city for over a decade to require immediate housing of families claiming homelessness in a private apartment with cooking facilities. Should the city fail to place every family that shows up at its doorstep within 24 hours (a requirement without parallel in any other city in the U.S.), Legal Aid sues for contempt, penalties, and—of course—legal fees, on top of the $200,000 McConnell Clark gives it each year

 

 

The Clark-bankrolled project has found an eager partner in the presiding judge, Helen Freedman, who has hit the city with over $6 million in fines. She has ordered the city to pay every allegedly homeless family that has to stay more than 24 hours in a city intake office between $150 and $250 a night—an extraordinary windfall. James Capoziello, former deputy general counsel in the city’s Human Resources Administration, calls the litigation “one of the most asinine instances of judicial misconduct and misuses of the judiciary” he has ever seen. Says one homeless provider in the city: “It is a crime to spend scarce resources for having to sleep on the floor. With $1 million in fines you could run a 50-unit facility for a year.””

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