The Corner

Yak Privatization

One of the lesser-known accomplishments of the conservative movement has been the creation of state-level think tanks over the last 20 years or so. Today, the NYT pays tribute to them with a piece on Michigan’s Mackinac Center, which is often regarded as the best of the bunch, and its outstanding president, Larry Reed (who is an NRO contributor):

Lawrence W. Reed is one of those people with so much passion for an unusual line of work that he invented a new occupation, and it has helped shape the conservative movement from here to the Himalayas. …

From Midland, Mr. Reed runs Mackinac (pronounced MAK-in-aw), the largest of the right’s state-level policy institutes. The center started its training program eight years ago, and it has alumni in nearly every state and 37 countries, from Uruguay to Nepal. Among them was a Mongolian who went on to become prime minister, putting his free-market training to work by privatizing the national herd of yaks.

Let’s hope that the movement successfully transitions from yaks to public pensions. Also, for more on the Mackinac Center and its kin, read my article in Philanthropy on donors and think tanks–the closing section is on state-level groups and it specifically discusses Larry Reed and his accomplishment.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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