Save the Cato Institute, Save the World?

CatoJustin Logan writes at Foreign Policy:

Why do think tanks exist? Are they really, as the common phrase goes, “universities without students?” Are they just places where aspiring government officials can do the spadework for their next run at being appointed deputy secretary of something or other? Or perhaps they’ve stepped into the void created by what some have termed the “cult of irrelevance” in the academy, which used to be a source of advice about public policy but has become too abstruse and method-intensive to be of much use to harried policymakers?

I’ve had ample reason to ponder the subject, considering that the think tank at which I work, the Cato Institute, is currently defending itself from a hostile takeover attempt by Charles and David Koch, two billionaire industrialists who are intensely involved in partisan politics. (For those who don’t know, Cato’s mission is to “increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace.” This libertarian orientation frequently puts us at odds with both political parties.)

Here’s the quick and dirty on what’s happening. The Kochs are suing Cato to obtain total control of the institute. They recently began forcing out Cato’s libertarian board members and replacing them with Koch operatives who are financially dependent on and/or otherwise entangled with the Kochs. Two of the people they tried but failed to force onto our board were John Hinderaker, a self-described “neocon” who writes for the hawkish and partisan Powerline blog, and Tony Woodlief, who declared that libertarian foreign-policy scholars “sound like absolute fools” or, alternatively, like “naive sophomores,” and went on to egregiously mischaracterize some of the things libertarians have said about foreign policy in recent decades…

Read more here.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    It’s important for there to be a wide field for pure blue sky research, though I’m not sure CATO fits that bill completely in and of itself.  It has its own well-defined point of view.

    I think the real tragedy is that the public at large don’t take ideas seriously any more.

  • Brovar

    Cato Institute and the Koch Brothers – seems like a perfect match to me. Why is this guy complaining? Koch’s are libertarians, libertarians are corporate shills that don’t care about poor people… like I said, a perfect match!

  • Redacted

    Maybe we should help. Just make sure no one is wearing a hoodie.

  • herzmeister
  • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

    After the OJ Simpson trial? No way, Cato. ;)

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    I never ever imagined that I would have sympathy for the Cato Institute.

    Especially sympathy garnered through an article on FP magazine.

    I think I need to go see my Doc and find out if I’m having a stroke….

  • Mrtchops

    after careful and considered deliberation of the socio-political ramifications of this issue, i have come to the following conclusion… fuck the CATO Institute… fuck it up against the wall with handcuffs on.

  • rtb61

    Take over of the Cato Institute could be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrhic_victory. The Cato Institute is no longer consider a think tank but is a stink tank a place where PR=B$ (lies for profit) are generated. Where the answers are already provided just the manipulated cherry picked data and distorted research needs to be created.Only likely results from the Koch(head) boys taking over Cato, they’re insanely greedy buggers, so they be wanting to pay a whole lot less for the junk science and, I mean a whole lot less, bulk buy bargains.So I am hardly surprised that the junk scientist and the PR=B$ researches are whining, major pay cut combined with no performance, actually winning the general public over PR=B$, means no pay at all.Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of bullshitters ;D.

  • tyf

    They government and evil co-ops need to realize that it just isn’t 1925 anymore  we are not buying it.

  • http://twitter.com/anarcho anarcho

    A while back I did an article on think tanks,  my views remain the same –

    SEPTIC THINK (STINK) TANKS

    http://notinhisname.blogdrive.com/archive/cm-03_cy-2007_m-03_d-31_y-2007_o-0.html

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Not really a loss even if they take it over. The Cato Institute has been shilling the same glop for decades…who cares which faux-libertarian neocon is at the helm? Let’s not do them the excessive kindness of pretending that, mere months ago, before the Koch Bros. intervention, they were somehow wise, just and fair minded champions of truth and liberty. They’ve pretty much been sucking business cock since day one…and their opinions are no longer regarded as relevant by anyone who doesn’t work for an American media outlet. Outside of the Beltway and Wall St…they’re just flapjawed snake oil salesmen with the morals of an alleycat in heat. Fuck em…let the Koch Bros have total control…and then maybe the notion will finally dawn on a few people that they’re being sold a load of horseshit dressed up as intellectualism.