I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself. — Charles G. Koch
Watch what we do, not what we say. — Attorney General John Mitchell at the start of the Nixon Administration.
Charles G. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, one of the richest men in America. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece dated April 2, 2014, he wrote:
Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government.
From this one might conclude that our American Government is under attack by Charles Koch. In fact the Koch family has a long history of anti-government extremism.
The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.
Collectivism? Koch’s father would have said communism, but times have changed. Are Social Security and Medicare collectivism? Is the Clean Water Act collectivism? Is President Obama a socialist, a communist, a collectivist, a threat so dire that tens of millions must be spent to discredit him? Koch thinks so.
The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle.
So to Koch, affordable health care is unjustifiable collectivism, a disaster, a debacle. Mr. Koch fails to note that he has lavishly spent millions promoting his view that Obamacare is a disaster.
Writing in the April 7 New Yorker about the recent West Virginia chemical spill, Evan Osnos explains:
The last remaining Democrat in the state’s (West Virginia) House delegation, the nineteen-term Representative Nick J. Rahall II, is facing his most difficult campaign yet; Americans for Prosperity has spent at least two hundred and forty thousand dollars on ads linking Rahall to health-care reform, including one featuring the line “Obamacare is hurting West Virginia families.”
Americans for Prosperity is a front-group for the Kochs. Charles Koch continues:
Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination.
Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.”
Rather than honestly discussing his views, Koch points the finger at collectivists.
Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”
Yet according to Greenpeace, David and Charles Koch gave $67 million since 1997 to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming. Jane Mayer, writing in the New Yorker, explains:
In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. … The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
Charles Koch continues:
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness.
While Koch insists that his motives are pure, one can’t help but note the attack on our government and on collectivists, which is a smear on his political opponents. Koch’s view is self-serving. People can’t necessarily help themselves to affordable health care, to clean air and water, to retirement income. To say we can’t collectively help each other with necessary government programs like Social Security is to leave many Americans without hope.
© William Hungerford – April 2014