If there’s another group that sings from the same page of the hymnbook (that’s a religious reference, lefties) more than liberal journalists, it’s hard to think of one. Last week, prior to being scared (or frightened, or terrified, whichever term they might employ) by the Beck rally, Jane Mayer had another of her articles of dubious worth in the New Yorker about the rich libertarian Koch brothers who financially support (gasp) conservative causes. Then drama critic turned drama queen Frank Rich followed with a commentary about the Koch brothers in the New York Times to make sure everyone on the Upper West Side knew about it.
Reason magazine posted a couple of good smackdowns of the articles this week, illuminating the writers’ indulgence in two of the most common leftist methods of argumentation: hysteria and dishonesty. (Links to the original articles in the Reason responses.)
Working in reverse order of appearance, Matt Welch posts a response to the Rich piece. “Here is the basic and apparently horrifying fact: There are millions of people, including me, including the Kochs, including people who have never heard of the Koch family, who feel some basic bedrock affinity for the notion that that government is best which governs least. There are a thousand disagreements about the details, but that American tradition is real, and sporadically potent. As it gathers strength in advance of November (and hopefully long beyond), it will be interesting–and so, so pleasurable–to watch people continue criticizing what they can’t understand.”
Earlier in the week, a Nick Gillespie article comments on the official Koch Industries response to the New Yorker profile. “Exactly how are the Koch brothers under the radar or underground? They show up every year in the Forbes super-rich lists. Charles Koch wrote a best-selling business book a year or two ago and makes no secret of his belief in free markets and limited government. David Koch ran for vice president of these United States on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980 (where he helped Ed Clark pull over 900,000 votes, by far the highest total gained by the LP). Both are known for a wide range of philanthropic giving, whether to arts and medical outfits or think tanks or political action groups.
Full disclosure: David Koch has been on the board of trustees of Reason Foundation, the publisher of this website, for decades, and his name appears in the masthead of Reason magazine; I have also taught at various programs for the Institute for Humane Studies, which the Kochs fund, and will speak at an Americans for Prosperity event later this week. While I have never had more than brief interaction with either brother, I am perhaps overdue in thanking them on this blog for supporting my career at Reason, where I have argued in favor of gay marriage, drug legalization, non-interventionist foreign policy, open borders, sales in human organs, an end to corporate welfare, and a wide variety of other shamelessly libertarian policies.”