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  • Calling on Conservatives to Join the Giving Pledge

    12/17/2010 2:56:06 PM Posted by Evan Gassman

    By Nicole Hoplin, Director of Foundation Relations 

    Nicole HoplinIn a campaign led by Bill and Melinda Gates, some of America’s billionaires are pledging to give at least half of their fortunes away to charity to “address society’s most pressing problems.”  At this time of year, as we reflect on the needs of those less fortunate, one cannot help but admire their generous commitments.

    And yet, the list of those who have made the pledge and the causes they will likely support with their vast sums of wealth is largely devoid of those who embrace a conservative, free enterprise philosophy (T. Boone Pickens, Tom Monaghan, and a handful of others are the notable exceptions).

    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Ted Turner, three of the most famous signers of the pledge, are all on record urging the government to tax more.  Buffet outright says, “You [government] should raise taxes.”  Contrary to the advice of almost every economist during this difficult economic environment, these three and many of their comrades believe this is the way to improve our country’s prosperity.

    If we cede responsibility for major philanthropic giving to liberals, their important resources will end up changing our country in ways we would not want.  From the problems they see as most pressing to the means of solving those problems, conservatives would be hard-pressed to find many areas of agreement in their approach.

    For example, Mark Zuckerburg, creator of Facebook, recently gave $100 million to the failing Newark, New Jersey, school system.  Over and over, we have witnessed that infusing cash into government-run programs is not often the answer to achieving success.

    Not only does the direct influx of cash into the charities of choice benefit their chosen causes, but when liberals make this pledge, they are serving as an encouragement to others who may be considering taking a similar action.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “the main goal is to set an example over the long term for others to get involved in philanthropy.”

    According to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, those who make the pledge will be invited to join in special dinners where they can swap project ideas.  The inaugural dinner included such infamous liberals as George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, and Ted Turner.  In Soros’ case, he’s done more to advance a liberal, pro-regulation agenda than just about anyone by financing causes including ACORN, Center for American Progress,, President Obama, cap & trade legislation, the cult of global warming, and a litany of other progressive agenda items.

    Funding Fathers PromoIf wealthy liberals are the only ones influencing fellow donors to do the same, we cannot be surprised when conservative causes are being neglected in years to come in favor of liberal, pro-subsidy groups.

    Over the years, conservative philanthropists have done so much to promote our cause and ideas.  A gift from Joseph Coors created The Heritage Foundation which has helped update and press Congress for fiscally sound public policy; the Reagan Ranch was saved for posterity to be used as an educational site dedicated to his principles with a gift from John Engalitcheff Jr; and, more recently, Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Kadish’s support of Citizens United led to the protection of free speech rights in the landmark Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Case. [For more stories on impactful conservative gifts, read Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement by Ron Robinson and Nicole Hoplin.]

    Now, during this special season of giving, conservatives can and should consider making similar commitments to promote and expand our solutions to social problems today.  With conservative causes bolstered, our country will be more free, more secure, and more prosperous.


    • Readers' Comments

    • Can we not politicize the Giving Pledge, please? It's an extraordinary effort to promote philanthropy and will benefit a lot of people. Most of the publicly declared causes cannot remotely be described as political advocacy. If more conservatives do sign on, I hope it would be to fund things like medical research, education, sanitation and other development projects rather than lobbying.
      Posted by Jeremy on 01/03/2011
    • Trouble is, the Government - as in regulations, rules, deecers, laws, and ordinances... IS in our "bedrooms" and every other aspect of life as it is, and will only get MORE involved as Liberals gain power via elections or (more likely) favorable courts. You might enjoy sex like the freest hedon on earth and if that's all that you care about, you're happy. But virtually everything else in life is controlled, from how far apart you can space electric outlets, to how many gallons can flush in your toilet. As for "stem cells" to date NOT A SINGLE disease or malady has been cured using embryonic stem cells, but literally dozens of illnesses have been cured using umbillical cord or adult stem cells. I fail to see how it's "science" to pin one's hopes and billions of tax dollars on the pie in the sky, unproven hope that ONE DAY the benefits of killing an embryo will produce a cure for someone else. If the Medical community is so sure that embryonic stem cells are the holy grail, why can't they attract the billions without tax dollars? If you get past the bias and cliches, you'll find most conservative positions are based on rock solid evidence, science, and logic, NOT on "bible teachings" or "faith-based opinions". Whereas most liberal positions start with "well I just feel like..." or "giving up X habit would be difficult for me so..." or "We don't really know when life begins (assertion without proof) so let's agree to disagree". Being conservative (or rather, converting to conservatism from liberalism) requires solid thinking, not no thought.
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