The overlooked corruptive power of gov't $$$

February 15, 2006  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

In the Washington Times, American Spectator writer Tom Bethell notes that for all the brouhaha the MSM are raising about writers and think tanks receiving "corrupting" corporate funding, there's little talk of how government funding corrupts.

Bethell observes that we all know of Eisenhower's warning of the rise of the "military industrial complex," but few realize that in the same speech Ike "included a more general warning about the growing reach of a supposedly disinterested government." Said Eisenhower, "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by federal employment, project allocations and the power of money is ever-present and is gravely to be regarded."

"Where science is involved," writes Bethell, "the problem of self-interested research by government agencies is acute, because people are inclined to assume science is apolitical by nature. In practice, however, it is not difficult for scientists to find what they look for and to persuade the public their findings are not just true but scary. Their white coats, microscopes and test tubes give them a measure of immunity from media scrutiny."

The same people who smell a dead rat when ExxonMobil contributes a dime to a group that has reservations about some aspect of global warming and the best way to deal with it don't bat an eyelash at the tremendous amount of government funding that goes to people like James Hansen. Hansen is among the most extreme and influential of the global-warmers. Yet we know that one of the chief aims of government funding is to support those who demand projects that demand more government funding. Thus if ExxonMobil must be seen with suspicion because it produces greenhouse gases, then government must be looked at suspiciously because it produces what government makes best--more government.

Bethell has hit it right on the head. Read the whole essay, regardless of who gave you a grant to do so.