Today we'll explore the inner workings and hidden mechanisms behind the Puppetmaster's remarkable empire. For those unfamiliar with the Show, it's helpful to think of a three ring circus.
In the main ring, of course, is the inimitable John Locke Foundation. Staffed by a core of self-styled free-market extremists, JLF cranks out propaganda like a photocopying machine, regurgitating five sets of pseudo-Libertarian talking points shamelessly. Taxes bad. Freedom good. Public education sucks. Government planning destroys value. Poor people get what they deserve. I say "pseudo" Libertarian because JLF rarely takes on anti-freedom forces in the personal responsibility arena. For example, their silence on America's insane war on drugs is all but deafening.
The second big ring in the Show is the Civitas Institute, a shady organization that operates well across the line of partisan politics, with little more than a wink and a nod to legal requirements. In my view, Civitas is on its way to upstaging the JLF mothership, the latter dealing too frequently to intellectual masturbation, while the former has a take-no-prisoners mentality. The Civitas Circus regularly conducts thoroughly biased public opinion polls with good success in placing selected results on the pages of North Carolina newspapers, most notably the News and Observer.
Finally, of course, there's the sideshow called Americans For Prosperity, a troop of clowns piling endlessly into a taxi cab. AFP is big on bus tours, providing a "grass roots" vehicle, literally, for tea baggers to vent. AFP in North Carolina is led by a dedicated public servant, who is neither a dog nor a busdriver, to my knowledge.
Beyond all that, of course, the Show is full of special treats for those with more narrow interests. Here's a sampling, each well and thoroughly funded by Art Pope's daddy's money.
- A lackluster Anti-environment Environmental Group
- The Pope Center to Dismantle Higher Education
- The North Carolina Revisionist History Project
- Professors For Sale, Cheap
- Vigilantes R Us
The grand irony in all of this puppetry is the fact that almost none of those running, walking, or tap-dancing in the Show, from Stagemanager Hood on down, have ever worked in a real business operating without a sugar daddy to pay the bills. Except for Mr. Pope himself, who inherited his wealth the old-fashioned way, the rest are non-profit pioneers, pure and simple. You gotta give 'em credit for chutzpah, if nothing else.
BlueNC is dedicated to freedom and fairness for the people of North Carolina. If you share that vision, welcome. If your intention is to disrupt our efforts, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.