Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute

Bruce Kerry Chapman is an author and former elected and appointed official who serves as Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute, a public policy think tank he founded in Seattle in 1990/91. He also is a fellow in the institute’s Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership. In 2018, Mr. Chapman’s latest book appeared, entitled, Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others. It critiques the growing power of “middlemen” in politics — bureaucracy, media, academics and special interests — and the loss of responsibility by the people’s elected representatives.

Born in Evanston, Illinois (December 1, 1940), Mr. Chapman attended public schools in Monmouth, Illinois and was graduated from Harvard College, with honors, in 1962.  At Harvard, he and George Gilder started a magazine, later moved to Washington, DC, called Advance:  A Journal of Republican Thought. In 1965/66 Mr. Chapman was an editorial writer at The New York Herald Tribune, writing on politics and the military draft. He authored (with George Gilder) The Party That Lost its Head (published 1966), an indictment of the 1964 Goldwater campaign’s abandonment of the civil rights issue and a call for “conservative answers” to public problems, rather than mere opposition to liberal policies.

Mr. Chapman’s book, The Wrong Man in Uniform, (1967), and its paperback successor (Our Unfair and Obsolete Draft), made a popular and influential case against conscription and for an all-volunteer military. In 1969, he authored the report of the Washington State Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Civil Disorders.

Mr. Chapman was an elected member of the Seattle City Council (1971-75), innovating on historic preservation and championing parks development.  As Secretary of State of the State of Washington (1975-81) he headed the state’s Bicentennial committee, promoted the teaching of civics and wrote a statistical report comparing the 50 states. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in the Republican primary of 1980. Appointed by President Reagan as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau (1981-83), he later served on the White House Staff as Deputy Assistant to the President (1983-85), where, among other things, he promoted family policy initiatives. In 1985 he was nominated and confirmed as U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna, where he served until 1988. He was a Hudson Institute fellow in 1989/90 in Indianapolis, before founding Discovery Institute in Seattle.

Mr. Chapman and his wife, Sarah, live in Seattle, where their two grown sons and their families also reside.

Archives

Myth and Reality of Israel’s Success

Allysia Finley of the Wall Street Journal does us all a favor in her column, "Our enemies are the CEO’s…Our comrades are in Gaza," describing the labor Union SEIU units that are seeking to portray Israel’s vital and pathfinding  economy as the product capitalism and colonialism. They get the historical facts wrong, she writes, quoting at length from George Gilder.

The Story of Mental Illness in One Graph

Discovery fellow Robert Marbut provides this telling graph on the correlation of falling support for psychiatric beds and the rise of the mentally ill population in prison. Deinstitutionalization since the ‘60’s went overboard and helped create the current crisis. 

To Fix Homelessness, Stop Fixating On Housing

Homelessness affects cities across the country, but it’s not just a local issue, though media cover it that way. Nor is homelessness mainly about housing; rather, it’s largely about untreated mental illness and drug addiction. Consistently misdiagnosed, homelessness is being wrongly addressed. And the policies that give rise to homelessness largely come from Washington, D.C., not localities. A bill called “Housing PLUS” has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., with 22 sponsors, to start to rectify these policies. A national mental illness crisis has been building since the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill began in the 1960s. Drug addictions also have increased and most surveys show that the “homeless” are often both mentally ill and

To Fix Homelessness, Stop Fixating On Housing

The homeless are often both mentally ill and addicted. Yet the government persists in treating homelessness as almost entirely a housing issue.
Homelessness affects cities across the country, but it’s not just a local issue, though media cover it that way. Nor is homelessness mainly about housing; rather, it’s largely about untreated mental illness and drug addiction.

God’s Grandeur

The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design
We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. Pope Benedict XVI The world — indeed, the universe — is charged with grandeur. Everything speaks of its beauty, power, and purpose — of its exquisite and intelligent design. Yet many scientists today flatly deny that the world was intelligently designed. Even some Christian scientists and theologians downplay or deny the evidence nature supplies of intelligent design, especially in biology. This thought-provoking anthology shows why they are wrong, why it matters, and why intelligent design provides a compelling way to reconcile science and faith in today’s culture. God’s Grandeur challenges the

Republicans Could Lead on Mental Health Treatment

Tucked away in the gun law President Biden just signed is a provision increasing funding for preventive outpatient treatment for mental illness. This is an important step toward solving America’s mental-health crisis but only part of what’s needed.

Republicans Could Lead on Mental Health Treatment

Tucked away in the gun law President Biden just signed is a provision increasing funding for preventive outpatient treatment for mental illness. This is an important step toward solving America’s mental-health crisis but only part of what’s needed.

Republicans Could Lead on Mental Health Treatment

Tucked away in the gun law President Biden just signed is a provision increasing funding for preventive outpatient treatment for mental illness. This is an important step toward solving America’s mental-health crisis but only part of what’s needed.

When Muslims Choose Liberty Over Force

What would it mean to world peace if Muslims with influence were to lead a movement for liberty in religious affairs, as well as in politics? A lot, of course, but what are the chances?

Free Speech, Fair Speech Vs. Woke

Free speech in American life is protected by the First Amendment—when the government is involved—but also by a broader understanding that differing views should be heard and respected in private academic settings, at meetings open to the public, and even in corporate settings.