Ford Foundation logo-realism in action
Posted by aogFriday, 26 December 2003 at 11:59 TrackBack Ping URL

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an editorial on the Ford Foundation. Various government apparats are looking in to what, exactly, the Foundation is funding. In particular, the question is whether the Foundation is funding terrorists.

The editorial points out some funding of various Palestinian NGOs, which refused to sign a pledge that money from the Ford Foundation wouldn’t be used for terrorism. The Foundation dropped support after this and the resulting publicity. Susan Berresford, the head of the Foundation, admitted that the Foundation “did not have a clear picture of the activities, organizations and people involved”. One wonders what they did think it necessary to know about an organzation receiving $1 million a year for which the Foundation was the biggest funder.

My puzzlement is why a Foundation such as this engages in funding things that can’t stand the light of publicity. Isn’t it normally the case that PR flacks work tirelessly to promote awareness of the generousity of charitable organizations? I suspect logo-realism at work here. I believe that the people who made the funding decision just looked at the name based on that alone decided it was a worthwhile organization. In the logo-realist view, if an organization has “human rights” in its title, surely it works to promote human rights. Otherwise we have to believe that the Ford Foundation is doing charity by stealth despite knowing that it will be severely embarrassed if anyone finds out. And as is said, never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

UPDATE: Instapundit latches on to this issue.