Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Koch Plotters Plot a Meeting

Gawker reports:

The New York Times and Think Progress each obtained a memo sent in September from Koch Industries owner Charles Koch — who, along with brother David, has quietly spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years building a right-wing network of businessmen, think tank scholars, and political operatives — inviting hedge fund managers and industry captains and whomever else to his biannual "retreat." If the Kochs don't want so many people believing conspiracy theories about how they secretly control the country from behind closed doors, then maybe they should write hyperbolic personal pleas like this to their network of friends, because they will get leaked.

According to Think Progress, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove operative/fundraiser David Malek, Denver-based billionaire and owner of, The Weekly Standard, Phil Anschutz, Steve Bechtel, the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, Ed Meese, Peter Schiff and Steve Moore,a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, all attended this gathering last year.

Although the Koches tend to be libertarian leaning (They are behind the Cato Institute) when it does not interfere with their operations at Koch Industries, they have a bizarre anti-Ludwig von Mises bias, to the point that they were furious and tried to stop Lew Rockwell when he launched the Mises Institute.

Murray Rothbard smelled a rat ages ago and ditched these guys. He stuck with Lew.


  1. On the plus side, I believe it was ultimately Koch money that first set me on my trajectory to free market and eventually Austrian/libertarian thinking . . . so sometimes it turns out alright.

  2. What makes you think that the Kochs have "a bizarre anti-Ludwig von Mises bias." They've funded Misesian economic research (especially at GMU) for decades. It's certainly true that they have a very bitter conflict with the Ludwig von Mises *Institute*. But not because of some mysterious beef they have with Ludwig von Mises (who was by then several years dead).

    Rather, what happened is that, the year before the VMI was founded, the Kochs and Ed Crane had an extremely bitter conflict with Rothbard, who until then had been a founding member of the Cato Institute, and the main person writing their position papers. Rothbard was fired from Cato in 1981. Rothbard certainly did not "leave" Cato in order to "stick with Lew"; he was thrown out of Cato against his will (he maintained illegally -- he had "shares" in Cato that the Kochs simply confiscated -- but decided not to fight it in court), and Lew set up the VMI in 1982, after Rothbard was gone from Cato, largely in order to provide a new harbor for Murray and his ideas. The Kochs got pissed off about it because they were pissed off at Rothbard, and because the Institute was founded as a direct challenge to Cato's approach to libertarian advocacy. Not, particularly, because the Institute was named after Ludwig von Mises.

    You can read all about the whole sorry story in Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (Chapter 7-8), or (for Rothbard's side of the story specifically), in Rothbard's "It Usually Ends With Ed Crane."

  3. @Rad Geek

    Have you ever been to the Cato Institute building in Washingtom D.C.? If so would you kindly direct me to any recognition in the building that Ludwig von Mises ever existed. There's an F.A. Hayek Auditorium and a huge portrait of Hayek, but no Mises recignition.

    Better yet, go to the Cato online site. I just did a search of "Hayek" 1930 mentions came up. I did the same for "Mises" one mention came up for a Pdf file (which they must have missed in their scrubbing).

    Oh yeah, they have no problem promoting Mises.