The Corner

Michael Joyce

I never really knew him. I met/saw him a few times around AEI and such when I hung out there. But, his name was always ominpresent in conservative circles. John Miller’s the expert on all this, and others around here knew him personally. But John’s post about the failure of the MSM to really notice his passing raises an interesting point somewhat related to stuff several of us have written around here.

Joyce’s success as a conservative philanthropist was tied to his success as an idea man. He liked ideas, he supported intellectuals and the organizations which sustain them. The left has been trying to copy the model of conservative philanthropy over the last few years, to limited success. And while there are some exceptions — that New America foundation for example — the lefty philanthropists still don’t really seem to get it. They seem more concerned with funding “outreach” and other organizational efforts to get out the vote, rather than getting behind some ideas they actually believe and supporting them even if they are unpopular. I’m sure there are more exceptions to this than I am aware of (I don’t follow this beat that closely). But in general the left’s assumption has been you need a conservative-style infrastructure in order to “get your message out.” In reality, you need a message. Getting it out — particularly for liberals — is the easy part.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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