RM
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RM Issue #030709

Soft totalitarianism of the world's NGOs
Elizabeth Nickson
Friday, July 04, 2003

SALTSPRING ISLAND - Last weekend, the international press fell upon Civil Society and tore it to pieces. This raised the same rejoicing in one's shriveled conservative heart, as last week's report that Ted Turner was calling a halt to his funding 'cause he was (so too bad) broke. The ostensible reason for this seemingly universal shriek of protest abroad, was a United Nations report that stated non- governmental organizations must become more accountable or lose their position of trust.

All we could say on the left coast was: Yeah baby. What took you so long?

Think I'll list a few grants. Sorry. Must. Can't resist. Oops! Too many to list. Must consolidate. OK, these grants are for protecting B.C.'s forests and stopping salmon farming which is to say, the money is used to clog up the courts, by funding legal briefs to prevent commercial activity; pay for "science" used to scare people half to death; and finally to "teach" journalists about this "science." This particular money is from the separate Hewlett and Packard Foundations in the States, to environmental NGOs, specifically Suzuki, the Sierra Club, Ecotrust, Forest Ethics, the Tides Foundation, and Oceans Blue all operating in British Columbia, mostly without criticism, oversight, accountability or even notice except for researchers like W.T Stanbury at UBC and Rob Scagel of Pacific Phytometrics. Total amount in 2000 and 2001 to above shitkickers from the Hewlett and Packard foundations -- those precise shitkickers who many credit for shuttering business in rural B.C. -- $8,406,208. From two foundations. Multiply that $8.5-million 20 times, because there are 30 or so such foreign funding outfits operating here, with utter impunity.

So let's be clear. Environmental NGOs and private foreign foundations effectively shut down the forest business in B.C. in the '90s, and are now hell- bent on shuttering what's left of forestry, mining and fisheries. If we dare try to develop our offshore oil and gas to fuel necessary growth? The hootin' and hollerin' and "science" generation will escalate. What I want to know is, are the Hewletts and Packards, and Bullitts and Brainerds and Ford and Rockefeller etc., going to pay for the medical costs of all the Canadian Boomers who are going to move here and age expensively, meanwhile demanding the top medical care? Are they? Because we won't be able to after they get through with us.

This little wrinkle in humanity leaks its poison everywhere. The UN (mother of all NGOs) report continued that NGOs are encouraging small poor countries not to open their markets to trade, because NGOs are inherently suspicious of business and the market. However, the transparency and accountability they demand from corporations and government, they refuse for themselves. Influence -- points out the UN consultancy SustainAbility, who performed the study -- once lost, is almost impossible to get back.

I would go further. Once people know the full effect of NGOs and their private foundation funders, that influence will vanish for a generation. Let me interject that some foundations still hew to the original intent of their founders, and attempt to build, not deconstruct our culture.

That said, the inestimable American journalist, Heather MacDonald, writing for the quarterly, The Manhattan City Journal, has made a methodical study of the capture of the world's great foundations by the activist left. Neal B. Freeman of the Foundation Management Institute of Virginia, equally, calls this capture the ideological heist of the century. MacDonald's "The Burden of Bad Ideas" makes delicious reading, as she systematically reveals that billions of dollars made in the free market, have, over the past 30 years funded the destructive social changes that have led to our schools being unable to teach, made our poor more desperate and numerous, our museums riven by preposterous, historically incorrect revisionism, and finally, and most importantly, our courts hijacked by system-changing leftists bent on cleansing our souls. All this activity seeks social change without using the democratic process.

This soft totalitarianism carries a price tag.

Wondering where the corporate profits are? Wondering why you haven't had a raise in three years? Wondering why growth is sluggish? Wondering why corporate managers are panicking about pensions being funded? Wondering why, if every Third World country desperately wants to grow, and desperately needs to grow, it somehow can't get anything started? It's called risk management. Talk to someone, anyone in the planning and development department of any corporation. Try something, invest somewhere and the NGO crowd falls upon you like the avenging angels of the apocalypse.

Extend their destructive activity in B.C. to every phase of human existence, and what you get is a massive drag upon the economy and all activity that reaches towards prosperity and growth. And funded by the foundations struck by the greatest capitalists of all time: Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Mott, Mellon.

One can only laugh helplessly. Neil Freeman makes the suggestion that all grant applications be read with a mind that the founder of the fortunes that made the grants possible be listening. In February, reports Freeman in the National Review, the Ford Foundation granted US-$500,000 to the National Sexuality Resource Center in San Francisco's scummy Mission district, in order to "make America safe for sexuality." Freeman suggests that the grant applicant, in this case Gilbert Herdt, begin his pitch to the great automaker, "Mr. Ford, may I assume that you're familiar with my classic study, Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia?"

The roar from Detroit would be audible all over the world.

enickson@nationalpost.com



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