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Murray Defends AEI

Charles Murray on Frum’s departure

David resigned. He could have stayed. But I will tell what is common knowledge around AEI: David got a handsome salary but, for the last few years, has been invisible as a member of the institute. Being a scholar at a think tank (or any institution) is not just a matter of acknowledging your affiliation in your books and op-eds. It’s also a matter of blogging at the institute’s blog, not just your own blog (David had a grand total of 3 posts on AEI’s blog in the year since it began), reviewing colleagues’ drafts, reacting to their ideas, contributing chapters to their books, organizing scholarly events, participating on the institute’s panels, attending the institute’s conferences, helping out with fundraising, serving on in-house committees, giving in-house seminars, and mentoring junior staff. Different scholars are engaged in these activities to different degrees.  

As much as I respect David Frum, I actually hope Murray is right. Places like AEI are a necessary part of the fight against the unthinking wing of the conservative movement. Murray also thinks that Arthur Brooks responding to donor pressure is ridiculous. I don’t think that’s so crazy – but I’ll withhold my judgement on that unless some evidence can be marshaled to support it. 

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