Conspiracy

Koch Kookery, Kon and Pro: A Roundup

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We are now in the second, more illuminating meta-round of coverage of the recent staggeringly successful spasm of Kochhate launched by the New Yorker's expose on these wealthy, politically active industrial tycoon brothers Charles and David Koch (who give money to the foundation that owns this website, among many other causes).

At the center is Matthew Continetti's well-reported and thoughtful Weekly Standard story, which delivers a calm, sensible, detailed, and accurate picture of these guys' actual role in destroying/saving the country.

Continetti efficiently and thoroughly makes some important points about our public Koch crisis. That, for example, the David Koch prank phone call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proves exactly the opposite of what proggy Kochhaters think it did–that is, that Walker had clearly never before in his life spoken to his alleged puppetmaster-on-the-cheap Koch, who allegedly bought him for less than half a percent of campaign contributions.

Also, that it's an extremely tendentious, not to say ignorant, interpretation of the facts and motivations behind the rise of the Tea Party movement to attribute it primarily to the paid-for machinations of Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity; that portraying the Kochs as pure trust fund babies who only have what their Bircher daddy Fred gave them shows little knowledge of the multipronged industrial giant the brothers made of the relatively small company they inherited; that their policy giving is tiny compared to their total charitable giving, unusual if they are conscious and deliberate puppet masters of American politics; and that it's simply absurd to claim that their long and peculiar history of ideological giving has some direct link to lining their own pockets:

[it was said that] the Kochs' talk about free markets was merely cover for economic self-interest. But if that were true, why doesn't every major corporation full-throatedly support limited government? Are we really to believe that Koch Industries is the only self-interested corporation in America? The reality, of course, is that an easier way to advance corporate self-interest is the one taken by most giant companies: securing monopolies, bailouts, tariffs, subsidies—the opposite of free enterprise. "It'd be much safer economically to sit on the sidelines or curry favor with the Obama administration," said Richard Fink.

It was impossible for the liberal activists to acknowledge that libertarians might actually operate from conviction. Charles and David believed in low taxes, less spending, and limited regulation not because those policies helped them but because they helped everybody. "If I wanted to enhance my riches," said David, "why do I give away almost all my money?"

Continetti is also good at contexualizing the real nature of Koch companies' environmental crimes (not so severe as far as enormous industrial processing concerns go) and OK on their libertarian intellectual background, although a long article on this that fails to mention the names Robert LeFevre (the eccentric pacifist anarchist educator who was the brothers first extended entree to libertarian thinking at his Freedom School in Colorado in the mid-'60s) or Murray Rothbard (the anarchist libertarian economist and philosopher who was central to the Koch libertarian project in the late 1970s before a contentious break) isn't telling the whole story–not that any mere magazine feature could. (For more context on the Kochs as libertarian financiers, see my book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.)

Continetti does start to sound almost like the people he's jousting against when he describes the supposed highly coordinated sinister proggy machine of hate and death that has taken on the Kochs; and he quotes David Koch getting a bit Glenn Beck-y with exaggerated assessments of exactly how much of a commie bastard President Obama is.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon found the Koch brothers' expressions of dismay over the way they've been demonized recently in the Continetti story to be laughable and offensive, an opinion I don't share, but can see that it's probably hard for anyone to feel so sorry for such successful men. Greenwald is good on data showing that David Koch's belief that Obama is a unique representative of Marxist egalitarianism forcing his will on America isn't well-founded.

In other reaction to the piece, Will Wilkinson, who frames himself a proudly former ideological ally and beneficiary of Koch money, in The Economist has some interesting thoughts on how and why progressives can't–and shouldn't–position themselves firmly against the sort of attempts to shift political and social opinions through ideological giving the Kochs represent, since they rely on it so much themselves.

Politico has a lengthy new piece on the Kochbeat up as well, which frames the Continetti piece as part of a sophisticated P.R. blowback from the Kochs. It also details the extent to which the anti-Koch campaign is a concerted effort, not to say conspiracy:

Back in Washington last month, representatives from Common Cause, Greenpeace, Public Citizen and Think Progress huddled with researchers from the Service Employees International Union at SEIU headquarters to figure out how to make the most of the sudden focus on the Kochs. And meeting participants have continued to trade research about the Kochs and strategize via a Koch-related email listserv and a rolling series of conference calls. 

Politico also has some details on the big money behind the groups behind the Kochhate:

Since 1999, Common Cause, the Ruckus Society and the Center for American Progress have received a combined $7.2 million from foundations controlled by or linked to Soros, according to an analysis of grant information provided to POLITICO by Common Cause and data from the Internal Revenue Service provided by the Capital Research Center.

The data also show that those foundations have given another $4.6 million to Public Citizen, Brave New Foundation (a non-profit affiliated with Brave New Films) and a few other liberal groups that have been critical of the Kochs, including the Alliance for JusticePeople for the American Way, and Public Campaign. Additionally, some of those groups are beneficiaries of a liberal donor network that meets in secret twice a year – very much like the Koch donor network – though it's impossible to know how much the groups received from those donors.

As I've written before, to call public furor thus started "astroturf" or phony misses the point; people can try to make an idea catch fire, but it only does so if it genuinely meets the emotional or political needs of a mass; and the need to pretend that the only reason anyone is against public unions, taxes, and spending is that evil oil billionaires are paying them or manipulating them is mighty strong out in the rank and file as well as among progressive leadership, in government or the foundations.

NEXT: Tim Cavanaugh Talks Muni Bankruptcy on Fox Businesss News Tuesday 11:15 AM Eastern

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  1. who makes rather too much of the influence Mr Obama’s socialist Kenyan father had on his son.

    It’s not like Obama wrote a book about it or anything.

  2. “…the need to pretend that the only reason anyone is against public unions, taxes, and spending is that evil oil billionaires are paying them or manipulating them is mighty strong out in the rank and file as well as among progressive leadership, in government or the foundations.”

    A good PR campaign for a cause that’s looking a bit threadbare needs a boogie man for focus.
    Kock’s have been funding mostly anti-lefty causes for years, and no one heard of them. It’s only when the left starts realizing the floor’s shifting under them that they start looking under their beds.

    1. Or in the closet. I remember from my kidhood that’s where the monsters lived.

      1. You mean the monsters were all gay?

        1. No silly, monsters are into urolagnia

    2. Actually, a majority of Americans continue to support the right to organize & collectively bargain, and much of entitlement spending. What the Kocks have tapped into is the right-wing freakstorm that blows any time a democrat is electred president. Doesn’t make them evil, or anything like that, but it sure as hell also doesn’t make the freakstorm any more pure.

      1. Or conversely, the freakstorm that erupts on the left any time the right-wing shows some genuine grassroots activism.

        Leftists simply *can’t* believe that “people power” belongs to anyone what them. It’s only supposed to be about the proletariat versus the capitalist establishment. If anyone else does it, it must be some sort of false consciousness.

  3. An aside. Isn’t People for the American Way the most Orwellian name you can give an organization? It’s the think thank equivalent to the Patriot Act.

    1. And “Brave New Foundation”? Ewwww!

      1. Yeah. “Brave New Foundation” has some seriously un-self-aware people in charge of naming. Holy Christ is that a bad name.

      2. It’s Huxley-riffic!

  4. I like the Koch brothers, they support freedom. Some of you libertarians seem to think that freedom is just smoking dope, having abortions, entering the country illegaly, and filming porn.

    And yes, you’ll have my agreement about the dope, abortions, porn, although not the illegal aliens, alas.

    However, freedom is more than that. Freedom is also the ability to establish a business without red tape killing it, freedom is the loser-pay system that discourages junk lawsuit, freedom is lower taxes to keep more of your money, harsh prison sentences to keep offenders from re-offending, and law and order to preserve liberty. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who lives in a gang infested neighborhood, ask them how free they are? Because if you’re too scared to walk at night in your own neighborhood, you’re not really free.

    So I say kudos to the Koches! We need your money, specially with George Soros funding Pradva (Media Matters) and every progressive organization out there.

    Tsunami Sensitivity Censors The Simpsons.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..psons.html

    1. GREGOOOOOO….

    2. Gregory, no one here advocates illegal immigration. We just want to change the system so that it’s easier for people to immigrate here legally.

      Until that happens, we have a poor view of cops and politicians who want to look like Tuff Gais by making life even more difficult for people who only want to come here for a chance at a better shake.

    3. I like the Koch brothers, they support freedom. Some of you libertarians seem to think that freedom is just smoking dope, having abortions, entering the country illegaly, and filming porn.

      That reminds me… I downloaded Dope-Smokin’ Wetback Abortion Clinic Nurses, Vol. 6 from Usenet the other day. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to watch parts 1 through 5 to figure out what’s going on.

    4. conservatives, got to love them

      1. I am not a conservative.

    5. What you forgot to mention, Greggy boy, is that the Kochs support the right to do all those things you mentioned in the begining.

      Also…and this is from the heart…..FUCK OFF. You are NOT a libertarian, you are a troll and a blogwhore who won’t stop spamming this site with your blogwhoredom. Do the human race a favor and GO AWAY.

      1. You have no heart, Adonisus, you’re just a wannabe fascist that tells people what to do.

        I am a libertarian, a real libertarian unlike you.

    6. Some of you libertarians seem to think that freedom is just smoking dope, having abortions, entering the country illegaly, and filming porn.

      You make it sound like having some of those kinds of libertarians around is a bad thing.

      1. Well, you saw what happened to Bill Maher.

  5. Because someone has to stick up for the poor downtrodden billionaires!

    1. What a fucking moron…

      1. Wealth envy is our best feature!

    2. Rights are just useful fictions that we can do away with whenever it’s not politically convenient.

  6. I don’t know, the Kochs even admit that they have used influence over government in order to win business deals. They argue that that is the only way that they can maintain their business in the face of other people doing the same thing, but that doesn’t quite pass the sniff test.

    1. Win business deals, or just operate a business? In our current business climate, one needs to go through several layers of governmental bureaucracy at the local, state, and federal levels, just to open a fucking lemonade stand.

      http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com…..usted.html

    2. I don’t know whether to admire them for admitting it, or to think less of them for doing it.

      1. Do you prefer your crooks honest or dishonest?

      2. I think they are saying:

        In light of our current regulatory environment we are forced to use political means to do what we would otherwise do in a free economy.

        That also explains their support of libertarian ideals that would allow them to leave the political sphere and focus on their business interest.

      3. I think they are saying:

        In light of our current regulatory environment we are forced to use political means to do what we would otherwise do in a free economy.

        That also explains their support of libertarian ideals that would allow them to leave the political sphere and focus on their business interest.

        1. You misunderstand me. I don’t fault the Koch Brothers for paying the cost of doing business in America and respect the principle of them working to fix the system so they no longer have to pay the cost of doing business.

          But it does make them “crooks.” However, they are an order of magnitude higher than crooks like, say, Warren Buffett who actively seek to not only game the existing system, but skew it even further in their own favor.

    3. “They argue that that is the only way that they can maintain their business in the face of other people doing the same thing, but that doesn’t quite pass the sniff test.”

      I dunno; do they have a free-market alternative?
      MS had a near zero presence in DC prior to the extortion (oops! “Anti-trust action”); now they waste stockholders’ money buying influence.
      Hell, I pay taxes every day, in spite of my aversion to most of the uses of that money.
      I’d love to find “saints”, but they don’t seem to have much effect in reality.

      1. See MS learned that you gotta pay to play.

    4. It is indefensible. It’s important that libertarians condemn them for it.

    5. You’ve never been in business then. When your competitor is courting Caesar, you go courting Caesar too if you want to stay in the game.

  7. Evil ingenuity is no match for mass stupidity.

    1. I’ll take that bet.

  8. Koch “nemesis” John Cole has a post up at our friend joe from Lowell’s favorite blog about the GE corporate tax credit scandal, and ensuing hardball-playing with its employees. Of course, he blames the whole thing on those whacky free market fundamentalists, taking a swipe at Reason in the process.

    A sampling of the tags:

    Assholes, Free Markets Solve Everything, Fuck The Middle-Class, Fuck The Poor

  9. Why is the spam filter so touchy?

  10. Why is the spam filter so touchy?

  11. Koch nemesis John Cole has a post up about the GE scandal which he, of course, blames on free market libertarians. Extra points for this gratuitous swipe:

    Surely someone knows where the Reason video explaining all this is, so I too can understand this.

    And of course it’s filed under the “Free Markets Solve Everything” tag.

    1. Wtf does a bailout to GE have to do with a Free Market?

      1. “Wtf does a bailout to GE have to do with a Free Market?”

        To a lefty, any problem is “the market”. And up = down, as required.

        1. LOL at his opening line:

          I got nothing

          That’s the most accurate thing he’s written in the last 8 years.

    2. Dude unless it is joe being an idiot in the comments please do not post links to Balloon juice.

  12. Hey, guys, it’s all outlined in my Rules for Radicals.

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

    We’re personalizing the Kochs now, but we’ll end up educating the masses to isolate you so-called freedom-loving libertarians along with them. I’ve no doubt that many of you will eventually join in our two-minute hates. You will love Big Brother. (Oops, that was an Orwellian slip.)

    1. Saul…baby….you know I love your work but I had to do a deal with…well you know….more relevant folks! You won’t be pitching anymore…you’ll be catching! Sorry babe it’s a tough business! I know you’ll understand….atta babe!

    2. No Alinsky needed for the Koch demonisation. The left just took old right-wing articles about Soros and replaced the name.

      1. The strange part is that it is George Soros himself who is orchestrating the creation of the new boogieman.

  13. From the Greenwald piece:

    I mostly regard them as little more than a symbol of the death of democratic values in the U.S. — the way in which the possession of vast financial resources is an absolute prerequisite to making any impact on the national political process.

    Who knew Palin was a billionaire?

    It’s not the Koch’s money that’s the problem, it’s their support of places that challenge the lefty money scam.

    Notice that the ideas are never addressed.

    As for lining their own pockets, didn’t Soros invest in Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.? And didn’t Obama just give a speech in Brazil praising the companies’ efforts? (from the WAPO):

    President Obama joined political and business leaders in Brasilia in hailing the fact that their newly discovered offshore petroleum reserves might be twice as large as those in the United States. Americans “want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers,” Mr. Obama said.

    Now, the lefties will attempt to pull a comparison with Glenn Beck’s assertion of a timely development loan to Brasil, but, in reality, that doesn’t have anything to do with market price of the shares.

    I’m just pointing out the difficulty in locating a conspiratorial boogeyman when it’s your side that’s lining their own pockets.

    1. Greenwald is generally pretty solid on civil rights but like most lefties is absolutely clueless at the direct relationship between the size of the state and its pH vis-?-vis civil rights.

    2. Sir, are you suggesting that we also play the corporate rent seeking game?
      Don’t you know that we are and always have been the party for the working man? Just ask Barbara Streisand!

      1. Barbra barbra barbra striesand. Duck sauce.

        1. I thought that was duck butter …..you know like that you step in.

    3. There’s something I’ve been noticing in both the comments and articles on this site. It seems like there’s an aversion to following political money when it comes to donations and influence-buying. What’s the problem with following the money? Why is it conspiratorial to wonder how millions — billions — of dollars dumped into campaign coffers might lead to political favors being phoned in?

      Is it a bad faith distinction that I’m missing, or what? Or is it the overwrougt hyperbole that usually follows these accusations? I don’t see how questioning Soros is off-limits, nor do I see how wondering about the Kochs is the sign of a tin foil hat.

      It must take a finer mind than mine…

      1. Money is not the source of favors. The “mixed economy” is.

        1. I get what you’re saying. But I’m not trying to have a political discussion divorced from today’s reality. Therefore, declaring a root cause doesn’t alleviate the current situation.

          This was not a complaint that sought to diminish the smears going around, but as long as a mixed economy is the predominant system, why is it considered a little strange to watch how people can use that influence? The whole point of decentralizing power was so there wouldn’t be mechanisms through which corruption might flourish. Heck, we didn’t hand out corporate charters so freely until the late nineteenth century because we were so averse to government grants and aggregations of power. Why should we now not question — on both sides — when money and power are found dancing together, possibly doing each other favors?*

          *credit to R C Dean for one of his axioms

          1. Declaring a root cause doesn’t alleviate the current situation.

            Yes it does…we know what the problem is and we have a solution to solve it.

            Hunting down the money is irrelevant in accomplishing that solution.

            By the way that last part answered your previous question on why there is an aversion.

            1. I’m not trying to have a political discussion divorced from today’s reality

              That’s what I said, which allows me to make this point: Following the money also means following the mixed economy and its actors, if you get my drift.

              Pragmatically, I think you’re going to wind up with less freedom if you’re hunting down the mixed economy as an abstract concept, rather than hunting down actual money and how it interacts with the system we have.

              Look, I think we all agree on this stuff. I’m just wondering why we’re pooh-poohing somewhat legitimate grievances.

              And with that, I must go. This is really late, but I’ll check this tomorrow.

      2. It’s typically associated with a lot of sloppy thinking and bad faith arguments, to the point of being farcical. The idea, for example, that the only reason why I could possibly oppose the war on drugs is that it is bad for the sale of Koch made plastics is just stupid.

        And it’s never supplied symmetrically. If someone is arguing for government intervention, government employees, vendors, and other special pleaders are assumed to be unconflicted by the “follow the money gang.

        1. Frequently marred by doesn’t mean it’s not a place to look. I understand your points, and that’s what I’m getting at with “bad faith” and “hyperbole.” Why wouldn’t you look for the money? Symmetrically.

          We do it all the time when it comes to things like copyright law and the RIAA and MPAA, or wind farms and green donors/policy makers…

          But we can’t do it for Soros or the Kochs? Makes no sense. Other people warping the argument doesn’t mean the argument isn’t worth having. Is there a bigger issue today than the private/public employment movement between Washington and the lobbyists/big firms that have donated wads of cash to the government?

          1. Two things.
            A: I love it that eccentric billionaires try to buy my attention by funding think tanks. I don’t want to discourage that.
            2: it is good story writing to follow the money when there is a simple closed circuit, as in redevelopment, green energy scams, … and reason writes those stories. But Soros funding med MJ initiatives doesn’t have an obvious relationship to his investments so it’s bogus to follow that money.
            D: From a libertarian perspective, so many sources are dirty, that following the money would be just blah Nasa, blah FDA, blah government funded university. We would be completely unengaged with the world if we covered our ears whenever we encountered people funded with dirty money.

            1. 1) I love think tanks. It’s been the only way to circumvent a completely disingenuous statist press and a left-wing academia.

              2) That’s interesting about “closed circuits” as opposed to crazy lines on a blackboard, going hither and thither.

              3) I agree. It would get overwhelming.

              I’d just noticed a tone here about it, probably because it was the Kochs, and that’s a sore subject.

      3. I think it’s an awareness that too many people will immediately jump from “money can buy favors” to the idea that curbing political speech will somehow decorrupt the political process, which is scary from a libertarian/true liberal perspective.

        There will still be plenty of ways for insiders to bribe insiders (revolving door, stock tips, etc.), but people that just want to straightforwardly spend their resources on political speech to make their case to the public will be impeded. And the lunacy of thinking that bought-off politicians will work in good faith to fix the system is worth noting.

        1. So then it becomes a sort of hierarchical policy argument, rather than a “you’re delusional” type of thing. In other words, the gains made from “following the money” are trumped by the bad policy and bad faith that comes afterwards. But we attribute — at least here, it seems — bad faith to the actual process of pretty evident questions that are just due diligence.

          I think political speech is important. Buy commercials. I also agree about the “revolving door,” which you put more artfully than I did in the post above. I think the revolving door is the biggest problem we see in domestic policy today, and the amount of money, plus the cloistered nature of it, leads to the conspiracy theories we deride so quickly and dismissively.

          1. True conspiracy theories cannot be proven. They can be disproven, but that doesn’t matter to the true believers, because conspiracy theories are never about a search for truthful information.

            They’re an outlet for those who do NOT want the truth. An absolution, of sorts, from the responsibility of action.

            The sad fact is that large scams that benefit many are not that well hidden. They’re fairly obvious, and that doesn’t sell to the people who need to deny reality.

      4. Big Government has enormous power to *uck up people’s lives. (I’ll let you put the letter of your choice in place of the asterisk.)

        It’s logical to expect that people will go to great lengths to ensure that Big Government is *ucking up somebody else’s life.

        The obvious solution is to make it so that Big Government has less power to *uck up people’s lives.

      5. I think it’s a distrction. The larger issue is the structure of the incentives that leads people to donate money in exchange for favors. Following specific exchanges of money for specific favors just gets you lost in trivial details. What you need to focus on is how the overall level of complexity in the laws, tax code, and regulatory code, invites corruption of and currying of political favors.

        Blaming people for responding to the incentives they are presented with is stupid. Instead of going after specific individuals and their “greed”, you change the incentives so their greed leads them somewhere else. Say, into making genuinely useful products and selling them to willing consumers.

  14. Since being brainwashed by the Kochtopus, my life is MUCH better.

    I just bought a Jeep this weekend. With CASH MONEY. For this, I have the Koch Brothers 12 Step Program to Clarity? to thank. I didn’t need it – my wife and I just WANTED one. So we bought one. Simple as that. Thanks, Koch Brothers 12 Step Program to Clarity?!

    Come on over, everyone. Come to good living. Learn to love Big Business.

    1. holy shit, you posted your stupid ‘jeep paid with cash’ twice.

  15. Koch Nazis, Koch Nazis everywhere
    And our democracy was said to shrink
    Koch Nazis, Koch Nazis everyhwhere
    But not a pause to think.

  16. Isn’t Reason subsidized by the Kochtopus ? Frankly, Brian, your book was crappy and tenth rate intellectually speaking. You got everything wrong on Rand because you relied on the sociopaths Brandens for your info, you missed the whole point of historical revisionism, you missed the reasons for Rothbard’s repudiation of the Kochtopus, in short, Brian, you are a big, fat self-serving turd.
    CATO sold out long ago and probably financed Reason’s smear attacks on Ron Paul.
    “Gay” anything, give me a break ! We don’t need euphemisms for sexual perversion. It, like narcotics, should be legal but that’s it.

    1. You couldn’t even read the entire first paragraph of this post. Hate blinds you.

    2. This is a spoof post, right? I’m beginning to fully understand why people hate Rand and her acolytes around here. Seems like everyone that knew her eventually got kicked out of her cabal and publicly smeared.

      The author of this post frequently writes about the release of Atlas Shrugged, lends more than a friendly voice, and takes crap from the other side (meaning: anarchists and Rothbardians) for doing so. He’s hardly a “turd.”

      Wait, I know, let’s make sure authorized hagiographies are the only things printed about Ayn. That would be intellectually honest and historically accurate. It would also be in keeping with free inquiry.

      1. I’m beginning to fully understand why people hate Rand….

        BECAUSE SHE WOULDN’T USE A FUCKING EDITOR!

        1. Too long? Her or me…?

          David Foster Wallace wants a word with you, by the way.

    3. Seems like there’s still some animosity between the Rockwell/Mises camps and the Cato/Reason camps.

      Can’t we all just get along?

      – Rodney King

  17. “Isn’t Reason subsidized by the Kochtopus ?”

    Right up there, first paragraph of the article, dumbass.

  18. Just to add,

    David Koch take on Obama was frankly ridiculous. It really was Beck-like. Obama is just your run of the mill crony capitalist.

  19. I’m a libertarian capitalist pig-dog but billionaires who whine about being attacked and criticized leaves a bad taste in my mouth –

    1. Why? Because they are billionaires? Would it make any difference if they were merely millionaires?

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/…..tml?page=1

  20. The conspiracy theorists believe that the desire for liberty can only be produced via sinister means. Since the fight for freedom is centuries old, does that mean the Illuminati are the ones pushing for freedom, it makes perfect sense, the path to world domination is by supporting freedom, how else can people be ruled, can’t rule them if they are not free.

  21. Somehow I think that if the Kochs didn’t exist, the left would have to invent them.

  22. “[it was said that] the Kochs’ talk about free markets was merely cover for economic self-interest. But if that were true, why doesn’t every major corporation full-throatedly support limited government?”

    That rebuttal doesn’t work. It’s possible to support a free market out of self interest and it’s possible to support limited government on principle. That one supports these things (as most of us reading here do) neither proves (or disproves) one is principled nor proves (or disproves) that one is self-interested.

    Consider the newly-hired worker who asserts a principled, meritocratic case against seniority increasing compensation. We can’t (yet) know if his position will change after his situation changes. He could be purely self-interested, or he might be principled. IMO, the Kochs’ political positions (with which I largely agree) do not contravene their self interest. Would they campaign as ardently if a freer market worked decisively to their competitors’ advantage? Unknown.

  23. If someone takes a shot at one of the Koch brothers, I wonder how many progreessives will condemn the use of inflammatory rhetoric to target your political opponents.

    And how many will secretly hope that the shot is successful.

  24. A week ago an otherwise fairly-rational coworker went off on his personal Koch-hating diatribe, about how they were so rich and evil, and because they didn’t MAKE their own money that they should be prevented from having any influence on politics. I asked him if he would feel the same way about restricting Teresa Heinz and John Keery, since they each got their money the really old fashioned way: by marrying into it.

    He changed the subject.

  25. “In other reaction to the piece, Will Wilkinson, who frames himself a proudly former ideological ally and beneficiary of Koch money, in The Economist has some interesting thoughts on how and why progressives can’t–and shouldn’t–position themselves firmly against the sort of attempts to shift political and social opinions through ideological giving the Kochs represent, since they rely on it so much themselves.”

    Does Reason dock your pay for every period you use?
    : P

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  27. alleged puppetmaster-on-the-cheap Koch, who allegedly bought him for less than half a

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