A philosophy graduate student writes:
I'm writing to ask for your opinion on the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), and if you see fit, to suggest that you solicit opinions from readers of Leiter Reports.
The IHS offers generous funding to grad students and others who are "pursuing liberty-advancing careers." I've been receiving solicitations like the one below for years now, and I've never responded. To be blunt, they appear to be a bunch of libertarian wingnuts, and I've been writing them off as such.
Am I being unfair? Are they only interested in funding research that vindicates the overwhelming normative weight of "economic freedom," or might they be interested in other sorts of "liberty"? Have they ever funded anything that questions or criticizes the Smith-Hayek-Posner-Rand line of wealth-celebration, or are they, you know, partisan hacks?
I ask because my research concerns liberty, and although I'm not an all-around wealth-celebrator, I could use some cash like any other grad student. So what do you think? Would ideally informed, caring friends permit their academic friends to apply for and/or accept IHS funding?
I'd be grateful for any feedback from you, e.g., "Yes, they are crackpots," or "No, ever heard of the principle of charity? Ad hominem much?" But I think it might also be a useful topic for comments on Leiter Reports, as I'm sure many other grad students receive similar messages from the IHS and wonder whether or not they'd be tainted by Rand cooties if they had anything to do with them.
Signed comments preferred, but all comments MUST include a valid e-mail address (which will not appear).