July Zeitgeist

July Zeitgeist

July 02, 2013
Originally published in The Washington Post

When Fred Smith founded the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 1984, he originally called it the Competitive Enterprise Center and designed a nice “CEC” logo. But he remembers a transformative conversation with a friend.

“You don’t want to be a ‘center,’ ” the friend said.

“Why not?” Smith asked.

“Centers are where people go to lose weight.”

The “Competitive” and the “Enterprise” are two strong clues that CEI is a pro-business, anti-regulation think tank. But does the “Heritage” in Heritage Foundation tell you that it’s a conservative think tank? Does “Brookings” connote anything at all?