Monday, August 15, 2016

The Koch Brothers: Not Really Evil?

   A libertarian friend of mine was telling me about having taken a grant from the Koch brothers to support some research he was doing--and how some of his colleagues freaked out at him for it.  (Note: no one would have said a word if the money had come from, say, Soros...) Anyway, he was also arguing to me that, so far as he could tell, the Kochs were not actually evil. In fact, according to him, not evil at all, but genuinely libertarian. They do, he said, have some positions he disagrees with, and some of their large grants are distributed in a way such that some of the money ends up in the hands of people who might raise eyebrows (AGW skeptics, in case that kind of thing bothers you. It doesn't bother me...but it might bother you.  I say: fund 'em. See what they turn up.)...  But his conclusion: they aren't evil.
   And I'd add: so what if they're evil? Their money's just as green as everybody else's. If you're doing honest research, why care who's funding it? In fact, better to take money from evil organizations than good ones--you take money away from evil projects, use it for good, and leave the money from the good organization available for someone else...  Of course...even speaking like this is shady, as it suggests politicization of scholarship...
   Anyway, since I'm always finding out that I'm wrong about...well, it's starting to look like everything...I thought I'd try to keep an open mind about the Kochs.  Liberals are, so far as I can tell, just about as bad as conservatives about demonizing their enemies. (Not Presidents, though. Conservatives are untouchable there.) So what about the Kochs? What's the straight dope? Well, here's "Eleven Things No One Ever Takes The Time To Point Out About The Kochs."
   This the first thing I've really read on them with an open mind. Later I'll start looking for actual evidence of badness.


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