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Godfather of Conservative Movement, Michael Joyce, Dies at 63

By Bill Berkowitz  Posted by t_t (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 2 pages)
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Pushing the conservative movement forward meant relying on and supporting a distasteful stable of controversial figures. According to a June 2001 report published by, in October 1996, Kathleen Biddick, Associate Professor in the History Department and the Director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame, spoke at the Gender Studies' Critical Issues Roundtable. In her talk, 'What Price Does It Cost To Silence Queers At U.N.D.?' she described some of the Bradley Foundation's grants to individuals:

Grants to conservative writers included: Dinesh D'Souza for The End of Racism, a book that preposterously claimed there is no more racism in the US because it wouldn't make business sense; Charles Murray for The Bell Curve, an argument for the genetic intellectual inferiority of Blacks [According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Joyce said the foundation never specifically funded the book and did not endorse its conclusions"]; David Brock for The Real Anita Hill "which characterized Anita Hill as 'slightly nutty slightly slutty'" [Brock, who currently heads the liberal watchdog group, Media Matters for America, has since repudiated the book]; and Christina Hoff Sommers for Who Stole Feminism."

Biddick said: "I think you get the drift here -- the Bradley Foundation and its cross-linked affiliates at the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Olin Foundation...seem to derive special pleasure in targeting Blacks, especially Black women."

According to a Right Web profile, Joyce also had his hands firmly planted in foreign policy issues as well: "He helped establish two of William Kristol's outfits, PNAC and the Project for the Republican Future, which helped spearhead the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994."

Shortly after leaving Bradley, Joyce was called upon by President Bush to help rescue the president's then-floundering faith-based initiative. Joyce, an experienced supporter of issues related to "charitable choice," was brought on board "to undertake a private initiative to help get this legislation through," Karl Rove told the Washington Post.

Joyce quickly founded two new organizations and set out to raise millions of dollars. He set up the Washington, DC-based Americans for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprise (ACFE) to "advocate an expansion of charitable choice, tax credits, and other means of bringing faith-centered and community solutions to social ills." US Newswire reported that the second organization, the Phoenix-based Foundation for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprise (FCFE), was intended to "study and promote policies that encourage corporations, philanthropies, private foundations and individuals to provide resources to faith-centered and community groups... [and] encourage the full recognition and the vital role such groups must play in American life and culture."
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The right clearly admired Joyce not only as a disciplined facilitator of funds, but also as a visionary who was willing to speak his mind freely and play hardball politics. In "On Self-Government," an article published in the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review that was adopted from a speech he gave as part of the foundation's 25th anniversary lecture series in 1998, Joyce placed America's moral decline squarely at the feet of "progressive liberalism and its ambitious quest over the past century to build a great 'national community.'"

He possessed a bulldog-like intensity: He once told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "my style was the style of the toddler and the adolescent: fight, fight, fight, rest, get up, fight, fight, fight. No one ever accused me of being pleasant. I made a difference. It was acknowledged by friends and foe."

Shortly after he retired from Bradley, Joyce told an audience at Georgetown University that "At Olin and later at Bradley, our overarching purpose was to use philanthropy to support a war of ideas to defend and help recover the political imagination of the [nation's] founders--the self-evident truth that rights and worth are a legacy of the creator -- not the result of some endless revaluing of values."

Peter Collier pointed out that Joyce "hated the Left and what it had done to this country." According to Collier, when he and Horowitz made their mid-1980s conversion to conservatism and were "looking for funding to start a Second Thoughts Movement to bring together the handful of others who were also refugees from the '60s Left, we stopped in Milwaukee to see Mike, who had just recently begun at Bradley. He supported the Second Thoughts movement and kept supporting us without hesitation in endeavors like Encounter Books."

It was Joyce's vision that pushed the Bradley Foundation, and the conservative movement, forward. In the end, Collier noted, rather than wanting to be known as a philanthropist, Joyce would have liked "to be remembered as an artist (perhaps a trapeze artist, because he worked, ultimately to his peril, without a net) of social change."

Joyce the ideological workhorse, privatization maven, and "artist" without a net, certainly left his mark on the political landscape. But the "godfather of modern philanthropy," also left many of his fellow citizens barely hanging on to a tattered social safety net.
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I live in Milwaukee and have lived through this ma... by Fredkn on Thursday, Mar 9, 2006 at 9:18:46 AM