The Idea Behind the Money: Charles Koch

The Koch brothers’ massive political spending is driven by an ideology more nuanced than those of most other moneyed interests.

Yesterday I had an article published in Salon profiling the dangerous political views of Charles Koch:

Capitalist puritans: The Koch brothers are pushing pure economic liberty as the only road to true prosperity — to the detriment of all but the rich

Some important points from the article:

They unabashedly criticize corporate welfare, and rather than blame billionaires for buying government officials, they blame government officials for selling themselves to the highest bidder. “What the government spends to get people to reelect them dwarfs any money spent in a campaign,” asserts Charles.

Charles Koch is a capitalist puritan. Milton Friedman is his Jesus, Friedrich Hayek his Peter. His goal for his influence is to reindoctrinate the country according to the pure theory of capital, the sole principles of which are capitalism and freedom. Pure economic liberty is the only road to true prosperity, while government intervention is the road to serfdom.

But the Kochs are threatening that turn toward critical reform. They are throwing their money at a narrative that is purer than the neoliberal model, but is still based on its basic tenets of unchecked growth and power brokering. And that, in a way, makes it all the more dangerous. Their ideal America is one that inadvertently produces all of the inequality we see today and more, but without the blatant undertones of corruption that have turned people off to the current system.

rugged individualism

The moral of the story: The Kochs are pulling an Ayn Rand, using heroic language (and, in the Koch’s case, boatloads of money) to push the faux-science of economic liberalism in order to preserve the inequality that their business model depends on.



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