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On Private Funding for GMU Econ and Mercatus

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Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had four excellent letters on the trumped-up ‘scandal’ over the funding that GMU Econ and GMU’s Mercatus Center receive from private donors [2].  Here are two of these letters:

Of the thousands of policy briefings I’ve attended, the Mercatus Center’s were among the most practical and informative for a young staffer. Through Mercatus I became a disciple of Russ Roberts, Bruce Yandle and many other economists with a knack for translating arcane research into useful information for policy makers. It would be a shame if George Mason University backed down in the face of intolerant and disingenuous activists who dislike free-market-oriented philanthropists teaming with a free-market-oriented school to teach students the benefits of free markets.

Gordon Larsen
Woodbridge, Va.

 

Instead of wailing about the source of some funding for the conservative/libertarian scholars at George Mason University, why don’t the UnKoch people try to argue that those faculty members are teaching badly or producing disreputable research? The answer is that making such arguments is very difficult, could backfire and wouldn’t grab any headlines. It’s so much easier to run the old “Two Minutes Hate” routine against the Charles Koch Foundation than to make a serious case against the people it helps to fund.

This furor is no different from the tactics used by “progressives” against speakers they dislike on campus—don’t argue with them, but try to silence them.

George Leef
James G. Martin Center
for Academic Renewal
Raleigh, N.C.

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