Friday, December 02, 2005

Best argument for supporting the Goldwater Institute I've ever seen

I've attended a few Goldwater Institute events, such as hearing P.J. O'Rourke and Ben Stein speak, but I've never actually donated money to them. In my opinion, they're too supportive of the Republican Party in Arizona. Seeing this Len Munsil piece railing against them, however, is the strongest argument in favor of doing so that I've seen.

Munsil's an anti-porn crusader who used to be editor of Arizona State University's State Press back when I was an undergraduate. He refused to print a letter I wrote criticizing factual errors in an editorial he wrote about the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars"), specifically his claim that X-ray lasers do not involve nuclear explosions. He invited me to his office to discuss his decision, but still refused to print my letter or a correction to his erroneous statement. That made me believe he was dishonest, and seeing the arguments he's continued to make since that time has only confirmed my opinion. He typically argues by assertion, not with evidence, as you can see repeated in the piece linked above.

He was extremely exercised by the fact that Republican Governor Jane Dee Hull signed a bill to repeal Arizona's laws against sodomy, oral sex, and cohabitation on May 8, 2001.


cowmix said...

I'll grant you that the Goldwater Institute (GI) advances policy that is preferable to what the cultural conservatives who have hijacked today's AZ Republican party push on a daily basis. So if you are going to kick a few coins to the GI, you really need to make clear what policies of theirs you like. I am not sure that a contribution can be made in a such a surgical fashion.

I personally don't have a lot of knowledge of the GI but off-hand I know that some of their "senior fellows" drive me crazy. I think one of them is a climate change skeptic (that gets $$ from the oil companies). I am also not a fan of Stephen Moore.

BTW.. I am not sure if you have been reading the comments that Ben Stein has been making about Bush and the Plame scandal.. it seems that he has lost it.

cowmix said...

Update: Good lord, Mr Munsil just announced (December 1st, 2005) his intentions to run for governor of Arizona.

Einzige said...

If I still lived in AZ I'd consider going public as his long-time boy-toy.

Lippard said...

I agree with you completely about Stephen Moore and Ben Stein, who both seem to have drunk the Bush Kool-aid.

I tend to like GI's policy statements on education (I was glad to see that the University of Arizona has raised $1 billion in private endowment funding, whereas ASU seems to prefer eating at the public trough or taking funds from wealthy Mormons like Ira Fulton and W.P. Carey in exchange for becoming BYU South). I agree with their stances on the issues that Munsil clashed with them on. I agree with them on eminent domain abuse (though the Institute for Justice is the real leader there, and I actually give them money).

It was actually Munsil running for governor that prompted me to find that GI piece, but I was in such a rush (preparing to leave for Las Vegas for an Internet Infidels board meeting) that I neglected to mention that article.

Lippard said...


Which senior fellows drive you crazy? Balling is the climate change skeptic, and you've mentioned Moore.

I've been a big fan of Randy Barnett since I first heard him speak at an IHS seminar in the late 1980s. I have positive impressions of Vernon Smith's and Gordon Tullock's work (both were at UA and are now at George Mason; Smith is a Nobel laureate and Tullock was a near-miss in 1986 when his colleague James Buchanan got one for public choice theory).

I don't know much about Kors but I like what I've seen from his organization FIRE--they seem principled defenders of freedom of speech.

I know and like the work of David Schmitz (who's back at UA, where he got his Ph.D. in philosophy); his book The Limits of Government is excellent.

I have met Clint Bolick on a number of occasions and like him and most of the litigation work he's done for the Institute for Justice; I strongly disagree with him on a number of issues--he supported John Ashcroft's nomination for AG, saying that he didn't think Ashcroft would act on his views about censorship; he wrote an adulatory reminiscence about Justice William Rehnquist (which was briefly discussed at this blog). I get the impression he may be more of a social conservative than a libertarian (e.g., he's pals with Kenneth Starr, who spoke at an IJ Arizona event).

I tend to disagree with some aspects of libertarian thought on education in that I think there should be federal-level minimum standards (real ones, not the fake ones that Bush has put into effect where each state gets to redefine failure as success), and I'm not completely averse to public funding, but I think the actual provision of educational services should be privatized.