TIMOTHY NOAH MAY 23, 2012
The American Enterprise Institute has spent the past couple of decades gradually shedding a once-decent reputation for think-tank scholarship--a worthy conservative counterpoint to (and occasional collaborator with) the Brookings Institution--and acquiring a new reputation as a slick assembly line for partisan agitprop. It began under AEI President Christopher DeMuth, whom I once labelled a "hack extraordinaire." But AEI's current president, Arthur C. Brooks, makes DeMuth look like a monk. An avid culture warrior, Brooks in 2010 published a book with the hilariously apocalyptic title The Battle: How The Fight Between Free Enterprise And Big Government Will Shape America's Future. The marketing for his new book, The Road To Freedom: How To Win The Fight For Free Enterprise, includes a video that looks and sounds so uncannily like a political ad that I concluded Brooks doesn't want us to read it or buy it. He wants us to vote for it!