Tuesday, August 27, 2019
What is it about David Koch that inspired such hatred? “We live in the world that he helped build, and it is on fire,” wrote Sarah Jones in New York, denouncing Koch’s “monstrous legacy.” In Esquire, Charles Pierce writes: “Except for his surviving brother, Charles, no man had a worse effect on American politics since the death of John C. Calhoun. Every malignancy currently afflicting us can be traced in one way or another into their wallets, and that’s not even to mention the lasting damage they’ve done to the planet as a whole.”
This is the kind of language that religious cults reserve for heretics and apostates—and in many ways, David and Charles Koch were blasphemers to the liberal orthodoxy. They believed in smaller government and thus criticized the welfare state, excessive taxation, and a great deal of government regulation. At the same time, they criticized America’s wars abroad, along with high levels of defense spending, and were sympathetic to the causes of gay rights and gay marriage. They were consistent in their views across a range of issues, antagonizing liberals but also vexing conservatives. The claim that David Koch was a reflexive right-winger is a caricature of his beliefs.
I agree with the Koch's about 90 percent of the time. David lived a long and very consequential life. He helped bring libertarianism into the mainstream. He'll be missed.