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Right MovesThe Conservative Think Tank in American Political Culture since 1945$
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Jason Stahl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627861

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627861.001.0001

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Think Tanks in a Marketplace of Ideas

Think Tanks in a Marketplace of Ideas

(p.47) 2 Think Tanks in a Marketplace of Ideas
Right Moves

Jason Stahl

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the development of the conservative think tank in the 1970s. During this period of time, conservative think tanks grew greatly in stature as they secured new source of funding from wealthy conservative elites. Those at the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and new conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, used these new funds to promote conservative public policy. However, even more importantly, they used these funds to create a newly dominant understanding of debating all public policy: the marketplace of ideas. Such a discourse placed ideological differences and “balancing” these differences in a public policy marketplace as the highest valued commodity. This mode of public policy debate overtook the liberal technocratic model which had been previously dominant. This chapter shows how, by the end of the 1970s, even formerly liberal think tanks like the Brookings Institution were changing their institution to accommodate this new method of policy debate.

Keywords:   Conservative think tanks, 1970s, Conservative elites, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Marketplace of ideas, Liberal think tanks, Brookings Institution

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