Archive for December 2nd, 2008

Do think tanks follow God or mammon?

The latest issue of the Australian Journal of Political Science contains an article called ‘Conservative Think Tanks and Public Politics’, by Marcus Smith and Peter Marden. They are against the former and claim to be in favour of the latter.

Smith and Marden don’t seem to able to decide whether think tanks are driven by God or mammon (the possibility that people who work in think-tanks might be sincerely interested in good public policy is not even considered).

The first part of the article is a conventional (left-wing) narrative of how business interests created think-tanks to serve their financial interests. But then it switches to God, arguing that the Christian Right is increasingly influential in the ‘networks of interests associated with conservative think thanks’. According to Smith and Marden, the Christian Right argues that ‘Australia has fallen victim to a culture of permissiveness, rampant materialism, and instant gratification.’ Why commercial interests would want to support opponents of these excellent business opportunities is never made clear.
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