The New Leviathan’s Suffocating Grasp


The following article was originally published in Philanthropy magazine. 

The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money-Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America’s Future
by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin
Random House, 2012
320 pp., $27

“Read this and be afraid,” advises Karl Rove in his blurb on the cover of The New Leviathan, a book just published by prominent conservative writer David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin. This new leviathan, the authors note, is a sprawling, intimidating “network of billion-dollar tax-exempt foundations and advocacy think tanks that work in concert with government unions and grassroots radical groups to make up the organizational core of the political left.”

For the thoughtful conservative philanthropist, this volume is indeed a must-read, providing a sense of the challenges facing anyone on the right who wishes to influence public policy. As Horowitz and Laksin point out, the field is in fact dominated by a massive collection of liberal foundations, deploying their resources to cultivate skepticism about the justice of America’s economic and political institutions, aiming to bring ever broader swaths of our public life under government supervision and control.

David Horowitz, now president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles, has long specialized in detailed roadmaps of the left’s serpentine organizational networks, based on his early immersion therein as a Red-diaper baby and, later, as a leading intellectual for the New Left during the 1960s. After renouncing radicalism, Horowitz’s mission has been to help the rest of us see through the appealingly idealistic facades sported by so many foundations and nonprofits on the left, down to the collectivist impulse at their core. The danger highlighted in Horowitz’s new volume is the sheer magnitude of this organizational colossus, which dwarfs the resources conservatives are able to marshal.

In the field of immigration policy, for instance, Horowitz and Laksin note that some 117 progressive groups with annual revenue of over $306 million are working to dismantle strong traditional standards for immigration and citizenship, while only nine groups bringing in $15 million per year defend those standards, leaving left-wing organizations with 22 times the annual revenue of those on the right.

On environmental questions, the ideological imbalance is even more pronounced. In their eye-opening appendices—these alone are worth the price of the book—the authors list no fewer than 552 groups promoting greater government control over the environment with annual revenue of $3.56 billion, compared to a mere 32 groups emphasizing private property and free-market solutions to environmental problems bringing in $96 million per year—an imbalance of over 37 to 1 in favor of the left. In both of these areas, the left’s resource advantage is compounded many times over when government funding is added to the mix, which flows disproportionately to progressive groups even under conservative presidential administrations.

Adding up total philanthropic resources available on either side of the ideological spectrum produces equally startling results. (Please see figures 1 and 2 below.) Horowitz and Laksin count 122 major foundations on the left, holding assets of over $104 billion, compared to 86 conservative foundations, with assets of just over $10 billion—leaving the left a ten-to-one advantage. (After 20 years in philanthropy, my startled response to this second list was: Where have all those conservative foundations been hiding?)

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  • Ar'nun

    If you follow the link, this author then goes on to defend the left and this crazy monopply of the ideology of this country by claiming that moderate Republicans also support some of the issues the left wing Leviathan has now been influencing through generations. And that the leftist shift in many of the groups is the free market. Perhaps, but its more likely with this strong hold these Progressive groups hold that they have been using their financial strong hold to shift the opinion of greater society which would have lead to more moderate Republicans. Stepping back and viewing it all subjectively it is easy to see that the entire country has been gradually shifting since at least the 1920's further and further to the left, Overton Window comes to mind. Ultimately, there are Republicans today who with many of their views would not have been a Republican 40-50 years ago, is the same way many Democrats of yester years would have found the Democrats current day platforms equally desturbing.

  • amused

    Where have the conservative foundations been hiding ? They haven't , in fact you vcan get a complete list and their contributions on a monthly basis going back to the last election at followthemoney.org .
    Btw Conservative groups as a whole 501c's 501[c] [4] ;s and superpacs have got the liberals beat 3 to 1 .
    In Fact just google super pacs and you'll get several non-partisan objective dollar amount assesment of who's been buying elections and where , state by state both Liberal AND Conservative , and which corporations are involved .These statistics MUST be reported to the F.E.C. monthly , so this information is in the public domain and for free . OR you can just be lazy and believe what idealogues and pundits tell you . Karl Rove says " BE AFRAID " …exactly- , that's what's known as FEAR MONGERING , and Rove is hardly a paragon of objective unbiased observation .

  • amused

    “Leviathan “

  • amused

    I like your choice of words David . Leviathan , a Hebrew word ,a.k.a.- "the Beast " .Thought you were an atheist David ? Can't help but think WHO that word was meant for , especially in the context of Rove's ominous warning and your book title …lol…that word will send chills up the spines of the christian right and the fundies . LOL….How apocalyptic of you . Locked in fear .
    The truth will set you free , not scare the poop out of you . $27 bucks for the book huh .

  • Constant

    Don't be stupid, amused. You know damn well where the book title comes from. It is a reference to one of the classic texts on government Utopianism: The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. You know, Hobbes whose influence and writings gave us today the term "social contract".
    What a load of bull.

  • amused

    Dont be too presumptious and assuming Constant , put in the context of the book and the fear mongering by Rove , the word takes on a specific meaning and given Davids political and social positions and those of hiss targeted readership and audiences .
    BTW , there is taught in all prominent buisness schools the notion of a social contract which encompasses ethics ,responsibility in regards to buisness' effects on local surroundings citizens etc . Dont know what Hobbes idea of a "social contract " is , nor do I care . The social contract as it applies to ethics , buisness and society had been established and taught for quite sometime . The fact that hardly anyone adheres to it , doesn't mean it doesn't exist or it isn't taught .

  • amused

    David uses a FACT which BTW applies to BOTH Left and Right visa-vis the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people too , which has given rise to super pacs . To make it clear Conservative versus Liberal and all the baggage each carries , super pacs in and of themselves have put legislation up for sale in this country .
    Put in the context of what Davids Organization is all about and who it attracts and appeals to , it is clear that a psuedo-religious/ moral spin is what the book seeks propagate – Right = Good / Left =Evil.It is thus easy to conclude that the super pacs of the Right are "thoughtfull conservatives " and those of the Left are destructive forces whose purpose is to put all men under the yoke of government …..and YOU TALK ABOUT A LOAD OF BULL ???

  • amused

    If you buy the premise of this book , then you are a poorly ionformed individual , and I suggest you Google Super Pacs They are indeed the "sprawling , intimidating network " of 501c's and 501[c] [4] 's , whose sole purpose is to get their respective candidates in office , which inturn puts them in a position visa-vis "their candidates when elected " to get favorable legislation passed . In this the Right is no better than the Left . This information as I said is in the public domain and readily available for free . Every one of them is listed as Conservative or Liberal and their monthly amounts . In addition individual contributors of $5000 or more are listed . Add 'em up and you will fimnd that the Right OUT-FUNDRAISES the Left 3 to 1 . However you can ignore the facts and be influenced by the book , just cough up $27 bucks , and as Karl Rove says ….BE AFRAID …WOOOoooooooo .