July Zeitgeist

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?