Monday, March 19, 2012

If the Kochs Prevail and Cato Collapses, It Won't Mean Much

Skip Oliva on Koch-Cato:

When you cut through all the bullshit—90% of which is coming from the Cato side—what you’re left with is two old men who simply refuse to compromise. Charles Koch signed an agreement that he believes Ed Crane refuses to honor. Ed Crane feels he has earned the right to dictate Cato’s future after 35 years at the helm. Complicating matters was a series of poorly drafted legal documents, from the two shareholder agreements to Niskanen’s will. There’s no great ideological battle going on here. And I’m not going to spend another moment pretending otherwise.

Except to say this. If the Kochs prevail and Cato collapses, it won’t be the end of the world. It won’t even be the end of libertarianism. The pro-Cato argument is fueled by this narcissistic belief that libertarianism needs a unified, “credible” spokesman in the nation’s capitol. I didn’t think that was true when I lived in Washington, and now that I’ve liberated myself from that hell-hole, I still don’t think it’s true...

There are thousands of cases where average Americans have had their livelihoods destroyed by government action. They don’t need an independent Cato. They need the intellectual and financial resources to resist. They need libertarians who are willing to fight with them in the trenches. They don’t need an infinite series of policy papers, Capitol hill briefings or panel discussions.


  1. Not to mention that NJ Gov. Chris Christie will be a prominent speaker at their Biennial Dinner on May 4th.

  2. I love Skip, and I don't mean to burst his bubble, but policy papers and panel discussions are a pretty big part of what gives people the intellectual resources to resist.

    I'm not sure where he thinks that ammunition comes from.

  3. I have complained to Crane and Levy that Cato has 'gone mild' (no outrage) on key issues such as the illegal, immoral wars in the mid east (for oil, bases and defense of israel). The recent issue of Cato News showed a cato staffer proudly posing with a US general in Afghan, YUK!
    They claim support of sound money but have invited the liar Greenspan as an honored speaker, and have former Fedder O'Driscoll on their staff.
    Nuff said.

    See my books 'Monetary Revolution USA' and 'Rebuild America Now' at or on my site Comments?
    Regards, Dave

  4. I think the collapse of the old Cato Institute would be a good thing, because so many oldtime libertarians take it to heart.

    Once the "DC's premier libertarian think tank" falls by the waistside, people won't be taking Cato's half-baked libertarianism-lite seriously anymore.

    If only there was something similar happening to _Reason_ magazine.