Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who Are the Koch Brothers?

The Koch brothers and their organization, the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation, have made headlines in the past few weeks. The New Yorker identifies them as fighting a war against Obama while Democratic bloggers have insinuated that they are the powers behind the Tea Party and many Republican officeholders. They imply a less than savory connection between business, money, and politics.

The Koch brothers are successful businessmen on a large scale, investing in consumer products, energy, food, and other fields. With their money, they have established a non party foundation to, as they put it, advance the science of liberty.

There is nothing wrong with big business and nothing wrong with big money, so long as we have a competitive capitalist system. Big Business actually benefits and gets richer as a result of big government and its intervention into the economic system because taxes and regulations stifle competition. The Koch Foundation preaches not just economic conservatism, but a near-libertarianism that usually does not favor the dominant producers in the market. They also favor natural rights based law, which has been used in the past to elevate individual property owmers' rights over the ambitions of big business. In other words, the Koch brothers believe in a level economic field where no one gets government support or intervention. It's clear that the Koch brothers, in an Ayn Rand world, would rather be the Rearden Steel than the Twentieth Century Motors (whose fictional business model has been loosely copied by General Motors and General Electric.)

Democratic bloggers have proved that the Koch brothers have a connection with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. So what? Wisconsin wants to cut the size of its government to benefit the taxpayers. Unions are standing in their way. Why wouldn't the Koch's support this initiative? And oh, by the way, attention paid to Wisconsin has covered the fact that several states are copying this measure themselves.

The Koch Foundation itself is about education. It wants to teach the basics of a free market economy in a republican style government (not the Republican Party, but our balanced system of republican government.) They support free market and natural rights ideals and create a large group of people who can put those beliefs into practice. Support of these ideals will offset the overwhelming bias towards statism and leftism seen on many college campuses.

Left wing establishmentarians have put their crosshairs on the Koch Foundation and are trying to sully its name. It's pretty hard for people who want higher taxes and less freedom to tarnish the image of a group of people who fight for nothing less than rights and liberty.

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