Classic post from Karen de Coster’s blog (see also David Gordon’s dissection of the Kochtopus):
Friday, July 11, 2008
The amazing Charles “anarchteacher” Burris whips out another analysis that’s worthy of entry into the Libertarian Blogging Hall of Fame.
It was highly amusing to read the New York Times story of billionaire David Koch’s $100 million dollar donation to the New York State Theater.
Mr. Koch, the story asserts, is the richest man in New York City, the financial capitol of America.
Next we will be reading of how this munificent multibillionaire has arranged with Parker Brothers to have his cheeky image placed on the cards of Monopoly, replacing the antiquated caricature of Wall Street mogul J. Pierpont Morgan.
Koch is chairman of the Reason Foundation, publisher of the ersatz-libertarian publication, REASON. In 1980, he was the vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party (back when it was known as “the Party of Principle”).
The NYT account only further dramatizes how far the once “principled” Koch brothers, David and Charles, have tragically fallen in three decades.
Once financial angels of the Libertarian Movement and the nexus of entities referred to by critics as the Kochtopus, now grandiose benefactors of the Republican Party while bailing out the New York City Opera and Ballet.
Its the same old statist song and dance.
At the pinnacle of the Kochs’ libertarian network was to be the Cato Institute.
While the Institute was initially financed by the Kochs’ largess, it was named by economist and historian Murray N. Rothbard for the celebrated libertarian essays, Cato’s Letters, by eighteenth century British authors John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon which later help inspire the American Revolution.
All this is particularly bittersweet to me.
This week marks a special milestone in my life. Its the thirtieth anniversary of the Cato Institute’s first Summer Seminar on Political Economy held at Wake Forrest University in 1978.
It was the intellectual highpoint of my libertarian education.
The heavyweight faculty included Murray N. Rothbard, Arthur A. Ekirch, Walter E. Grinder, Leonard P. Liggio, and Roy A. Childs.
This was before the big Cato Institute split detailed recently by David Gordon in his excellent series of articles at LewRockwell.com.
The curriculum was hardcore Rothbardian — natural rights libertarianism from The Ethics of Liberty, Austrian economics, revisionist history, libertarian class analysis, etc.
The Cato organizers gave us all a ton of excellent books (including Rothbard’s Power and Market) and photocopy reprints of classic articles, including Rothbard’s libertarian strategy memorandum which served as the guideline behind the Institute’s creation.
Rothbard later admitted that these early Seminars were organized as “best and the brightest” talent searches for Cato.
Out of that week-long event emerged future Kochtopus minions such as Tom G. Palmer, Jule R. Herbert, Tyler Cowen, and Sheldon Richman.
The celebrated Dr. Tom G. is known all too well today for his shaded infamy and catty back bitting slurrs regarding the Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Gary North.
After Cato president and CEO Ed Crane stole Herbert’s wife Christina, “Jule the Tool” faded out of the picture into private legal practice in Alabama after a stint in the Reagan administration.
The precocious Tyler Cowen has gone on to be one of the most pliable instruments in the Kochtopus toolbox, especially when it comes to denigrating Austrian economics and the work of Ludwig Von Mises.
Sheldon Richman, it seems, has finally seen the light and is pursuing an independent destiny at the Foundation for Economic Education and the Future of Freedom Foundation, and has emerged as one of our finest libertarian writers.
How far the mighty Cato has fallen.
What was once the principled pinnacle of the Libertarian Movement has sunk below the Beltway waterline of the Potomac.
How pathetic and tragic.
What a waste of talent and treasure.
Lord Acton was right.
The Kochtopus lust for power did indeed corrupt.
From pinnacle to pimps in just three decades.