A Note On How Conservatives Use Resources

This article in Dissent Magazine asserts that conservative foundations are far more generous and interested in their interns than liberal ones.

This article from Slate from a while ago talks about how conservative foundations might not be part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” simply because the money to go around is so meager.

I want to be clear: I don’t think conservatives invest enough in the next generation: they’re too practical and too ideologically narrow, and money alone is not the measure of an investment. Yes, ISI and the libertarian IHS give out scholarships. How many are given out again? How many students are there in the US? – Yeah, that’s what I thought. –

There’s no active searching for talent, and for me, that’s the problem (hence, the link to the article about conservative media. You’d think people might want to fund it to increase long-term opportunities for talent). All the places that are being complained about by the Dissent author could very easily pay their interns, and organize reading groups and classes and lodging in such a way that people can network. The improvement could happen overnight, and like that, liberals’ commitment to their youth would be assured, and look very much like the conservative commitment now.

I highly recommend that conservatives put money into groups that actively, not passively, seek out talent. Start looking at students who are writing regularly for campus publications, look for students in student government who are thinking about bolder things, look for the student saying smart things in class that’s contrary to the professor’s view, etc. Don’t just assume merit will show itself – in this day and age, the best things, we find over and over again, have a tendency to get buried. An organization or two should absolutely be created to find conservative talent and place it – that’s it. The organization should have no other function than that, otherwise it will start trying to get talent for itself, and will try passive ways of letting talent make itself known. And the organization needs to look beyond those who constantly market themselves. We know full well that there’s too much marketing going on, and that there are people doing substantial work. Why aren’t we trying to find them?

Again, to be explicitly clear, the way conservatives go about “finding talent” is passive (just like the way employers work, which is another ridiculous thing), and there are people who are “doers” who get the same opportunities over and over again because they push for the same sorts of honors, and truth be told, not everyone is going to be motivated by honor. Some people want to be part of a community that actually wants them, and that isn’t eager to weed out based on some arbitrary notion of the best, or give awards one-time-only and then focus on another person entirely. The big problem created by the fact that conservatives don’t look is that there is no sense of a long-term commitment between individuals and the organizations out there. Education isn’t about “here’s your training, now go into the world and use it.” We’re always learning, and the assumption that such a time in our life can actually be wholly stopped for other concerns is outright idiotic. Yet it is the fundamental premise governing relations between the elders in the conservative movement and the youth, no matter how much generosity one provides to interns (and if you look at what I’ve written carefully, you’ll notice you can pretty much make the exact same argument for the old and young in America generally. The general problem is that we don’t care to have communities).

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2 Comments

  1. That becomes a discussion of thought, which I was trying to avoid at this time. When we hear the phrase we understand the words, they are intelligible individually even if we don’t understand that phrase. I understand that “the sky is purple” through its parts, although I have no understanding of a purple sky. See? You are adding a certain amount of skepticism that Anselm did not address, here. There is more to come.

    This was just to get the argument out, and me thinking more critically. It is dense and I fought with it for a while. This was the best way I could begin.

  2. I know you are not being an ass hole. I never meant that. I was just reiterating the point about thought.

    Yeah, I could have let it flow a much better way. But like I said it was just a start. I hope that as I write on subsequent chapters in the Proslogian I will improve the flow.

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