The Kochs and the Yippies


This morning Matt Welch noted a disputed anecdote in The Washingtonian's feature on the Cato/Koch battle. That's as good an opportunity as any to bring up another interesting anecdote in the same article:

When [Jeff] Riggenbach suggested recruiting '60s activist Abbie Hoffman for Cato's radio program, [Charles] Koch seemed surprised but didn't say what he thought. "Ed [Crane] had to tell me later how much Charles really hated the idea," Riggenbach says.

Riggenbach tells me that he wasn't proposing this as a one-time thing: He thought Hoffman should be a regular. Several figures on the left, such as Julian Bond, did contribute regularly to the program, which consisted of a daily syndicated 90-second commentary.

People are sometimes surprised when you tell them that a Koch-funded publication gave a platform to Noam Chomsky (who later said the magazine was "the only journal I could publish in as long as it existed"), or that in the lead-up to the 1984 election, David Koch wanted the Libertarian Party to nominate Earl Ravenal, a foreign policy analyst associated with the leftist Institute for Policy Studies. Lord knows how they'd react if there had been an Abbie Hoffman connection too.

Elsewhere in Reason: I wrote about Hoffman here and chatted with Rick Perlstein about him here. I detailed the younger Kochs' links to the left here.

Elsewhere not in Reason: Read National Review's 1979 attack on Cato and the Kochs as some sort of pinko conspiracy here. And hey: Abbie Hoffman might have missed out on that Koch connection (as opposed to a coke connection), but his Yippie comrade Paul Krassner did pop up in the same mag that published Chomsky.