This is an excellent article in the New Yorker: An excerpt:
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.
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. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” 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.
” The Kochs have given millions of dollars to nonprofit groups that criticize environmental regulation and support lower taxes for industry. Gus diZerega, the former friend, suggested that the Kochs’ youthful idealism about libertarianism had largely devolved into a rationale for corporate self-interest. He said of Charles, “Perhaps he has confused making money with freedom.”
These are also the guys who founded the US libertarian think-tank Cato Institute. When President Obama, in a 2008 speech, described the science on global warming as “beyond dispute,” the Cato Institute took out a full-page ad in the Times to contradict him.
The article also goes on to say that though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently issued a report concluding the evidence for global warming is unequivocal, more Americans are convinced than at any time since 1997 that scientists have exaggerated the seriousness of global warming. “The Kochs promote this statistic on their company’s Web site but do not mention the role that their funding has played in fostering such doubt.”
In a 2002 memo, the Republican political consultant Frank Luntz wrote that so long as “voters believe there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community” the status quo would prevail.
It is perhaps the biggest myth that “libertarians” buy into – that the people they look up to are free-wheeling intellectuals who have no ties to the corporatist world that libertarians actually claim to hate. The Cato institute, the climate change denial industry – everything is funded by these mad-men. They don’t care for rationality, evidence or the planet – only their own bottom line.
The other point I wanted to make was… once you read the article you understand the kind of entrenched money and vested interests he is up against. Shifting the system is neither easy nor quick.
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Filed in: Environmentalism,United States