Libertarian History/Philosophy

Charles Koch and Brian Hooks on Learning From Your Critics

The libertarian philanthropist and CEO of Stand Together on their new book, Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World


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Over the past 50-plus years, Charles Koch grew his family business, Koch Industries, into one of the largest privately-held companies in America while playing a leading role in creating or supporting the modern libertarian movement and some of its major institutions. Among them: The Cato Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Mercatus Center, and the Charles Koch Foundation, a nonprofit that supports many organizations, including Reason Foundation, which is the publisher of Reason magazine. Along with his brother David, a longtime trustee of the Reason Foundation who passed away last year at the age of 79, the 85-year-old billionaire became not only one of the most successful businessmen in the country but also one of the most controversial, with leftists blaming  "the Koch brothers" for many of our contemporary problems.

Koch has just published Believe in People, a book that seeks to "offer a paradigm shift [that] calls for all of us to move away from the top-down approach to solving the really big problems" by instead "empowering people from the bottom up to act on their unique gifts and contribute to the lives of others."

In a conversation with Koch and his co-author, Brian Hooks, who is the chairman and CEO of Stand Together and the president of the Charles Koch Foundation, Reason's Nick Gillespie discusses the 2020 election, the successes and failures of the libertarian movement, and what Koch and Hooks see as the defining challenges and opportunities in the coming decade.

Coordination producer: Drake Springer

Cameras by Rob Keyes, Benjamin Gaskell, Zach Weissmueller, and Paul Detrick; audio by Kyle Arnold; narrated by Nick Gillespie; edited by Ian Keyser and John Osterhoudt

Photos: AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Mike Burley; Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/Newscom; BO RADER/MCT/Newscom; Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons/Flickr; Gavin Peters/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons; BO RADER/MCT/Newscom; AP Photo/David Zalubowski; Nicholas von Akron/Creative Commons/Flickr.