Posted on June 13, 2020

Defund Conservatism, Inc. to Make America Great Again

Ned Ryun, American Greatness, June 10, 2020

It was fascinating to watch Tucker Carlson call out Heritage Foundation President Kay James for her recent op-ed at Fox News. James added her voice to the politically correct chorus, informing us that racism is “a cancer in America” and “our Achilles’ Heel that has afflicted us for 400 years.” Some people, myself included, would like to know, who are these racists James speaks of? {snip}

To be fair, James condemned the rioting, but she sounded more like an adherent to the questionable New York Times “1619 Project” than a leading conservative who is supposed to believe in the fundamental principles of liberty and opportunity for all to which our nation has cleaved for centuries.


Today some people, myself included, are rightly asking: if Heritage can’t support the most basic tenets of America’s founding and affirm its rise to exceptionalism, what is the point of Heritage at all? They claim to be conservatives, but what have they conserved? Where are their victories?

Their own list of alleged accomplishments is amusing, to say the least. Heritage claims credit for the list of President Donald Trump’s judges—which is funny, as it is common knowledge among conservatives that the list was compiled, analyzed, and vetted by the Federalist Society at the direction of Leonard Leo and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. {snip}


Heritage works hard (so do washing machines) churning out white papers, but are they even good policy? One can argue that at any given time they’ve been pro-immigration, pro-amnesty, pro-China, against fair trade and U.S.-based manufacturing, and neoconservative pro-war advocates. {snip}

{snip} While the Left and statists organize to expand the state and take away freedom (see Minneapolis, New York City, and Lafayette Square with Antifa and Black Lives Matter’s actions of the past two weeks), Heritage is throwing white papers at them. Whoop-de-do!

Heritage’s ineffectiveness, however, is not for lack of funding. A study of their publicly available tax returns between 2001-2018 shows the Heritage Foundation raised $1.25 billion in that timeframe. Yes, kids, that’s billion with a big fat “b.” Heritage is also, as of the filing of its 2018 990 form, sitting on $260 million in cash, investments, buildings, land, and equipment. {snip}

So it’s not only that the organization is ineffective, to the point of even proposing and endorsing terrible ideas, there is also the opportunity cost of money being spent by ineffective people to consider. Money spent on the wrong people with the wrong ideas always gives you the wrong results.

We are at war with the Left over what the future of this republic looks like—or whether it continues to exist at all. In the midst of this crisis, we have Kay James telling us, essentially, that America is still an endemically racist nation. Juxtapose James’ comments with the work of Donald Trump, who hands down is one of the best chances we’ve had in generations of restoring the republic.


Think about that: if you add in all the other think tanks and nonprofits on the center-right, from Heritage to the Kochs, down to think tanks at the state level, it’s probably safe to say conservatives are investing half a billion dollars a year (at least) and the best chance they have ever had at winning didn’t come from those investments. Let that sink in and then ask yourself, what are we really getting for all this money? The answer: not much.

I’m all for smart, effective people making good money. But I adamantly oppose sinecures for ineffective people. In 1976, Ronald Reagan famously talked about Linda Taylor, the “welfare queen” who fraudulently lived off hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. To my way of thinking, the Heritage Foundation and, indeed, most of the so-called think tanks of the center-right are nothing more than the welfare queens of the conservative movement.