Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Mario Vargas Lllosa and Socialism

Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel prize winner in literature discusses his rejection of socialism and his embracing of classical liberalism.

The one thing that is unfortunate is that his position at Atlas is funded by the Templeton Foundation. Unlike Llosa, who supports rights for gay people, Templeton is run by conservative religionists. Much of Templeton's money goes into pushing a religious agenda in free market circles. But John Templeton, Jr., was a major funder of the bigoted Mormon-led Proposition 8 in California. Templeton and his wife gave $1 million to promote anti-gay bigotry.

Please understand that there are good people at Atlas who take no cotton to bigotry. But they get tarnished when Templeton funds so many of their projects.

Templeton also had funded a project for Atlas to bring Michael Reagan in a "Leadership fellow." They were pushing Reagan as a speaker for free market think tanks around the world that Templeton would fund. Michael Reagan, unlike his adopted father, Ronald Reagan, is a major anti-gay bigot. Reagan penned a diatribe on morality, and expressing his own issues with his father, for the Southern Baptist Church publishing house. He claimed that gay people would force kids, through bullying, to try homosexuality otherwise they will be labeled bigots. Odd since that is precisely what the fundamentalists like Michael Reagan try to do to gay people.

Michael Reagan and his book were to be touted at a Atlas Foundation conference but ran into problems. One was that the book vendor who agreed to stock the book refused to sell it when he read the book. This was the old Laissez Faire Books, before it was taken over by people who would have no such problems with anti-gay bigotry. This blog has rescinded all previous support to LFB after the new owners took control and changed LFB policy is a decidedly conservative direction.

With the book vendor refusing to sell the book Atlas officials wanted to know why and were told in no uncertain terms why. Staff members grabbed the book, which none had previously read and started scanning it. It took only seconds to find bigoted remarks by Reagan. Atlas board members and officials soon learned of the kerfuffle and quiet discussions were held out of public view. Gay staff members and board members of a decidedly libertarian bent were not impressed. In short order, Atlas removed all references to the program with Reagan and it went down the memory hole.

Atlas did the right thing. And they are run by good people. But taking money from bigoted, conservatives advocates of moralistic government comes with problems. Templeton donations made Atlas less prone to investigate the positions of Michael Reagan. They were truly caught off-guard by the rabid nature of the bigotry in the book. But there is a certain amount of trust and compliance involved when one funder, like Templeton, makes up such a higher percentage of Atlas Foundation funding.

Templeton's first agenda is religion. Any support he has for liberty comes in second, and a very distant second. He will sacrifice freedom on the altar of his faith if necessary. His gift of $1 million to Proposition 8 is indication of that.

That said, Llosa is a true liberal, not a conservative trying to put on classical liberal drag. Llosa said he is an agnostic, wants separation of church and state, supports legalized abortion and supports gay marriage. Now, if Templeton had to throw their money at someone I'd rather see it go to someone who actively opposes their moralistic Big Brotherism.

Labels: ,