Monday, January 30, 2017

Fear of Authoritarianism Pervades Koch Network Seminar

The Washington Post reports:
Charles Murray, the political scientist best known for his book “The Bell Curve,” spoke Sunday afternoon to 550 donors who have each agreed to give at least $100,000 a year to finance the conservative Koch network. He painted a pessimistic picture of decaying institutions, growing dependency on government assistance and the increasing isolation of the rich from the rest of society.

“Completely apart from the individual person of the president, I think we see an environment that is fertile for authoritarianism in the United States now,” he told some of the country’s most affluent business leaders, as they sipped lemonade and ate salad at a desert resort outside Palm Springs.

“As recently as 1960, both the left and the right were united in general support for what was called the American creed. The American creed was the basics of individualism and freedom and opportunity,” Murray explained. “And what we discovered last year was that the proportion of the American electorate on the right that is still devoted to those American creedal principles is way smaller than I thought it was. I’m not talking about how many doctrinaire libertarians there are. I’m talking about the degree to which people buy into what we’ve always considered, ‘This is what America is all about.’”...

[Brian Hooks, the president of the Charles Koch Foundation], who is co-chairing the seminar, cautioned donors that Trump, too, could lead to a massive backlash. “If things don’t get better, then we should expect history to repeat itself,” he said. “We should expect that the political pendulum will swing with even more force to the other direction the next time. With people even further to the left than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren! There are people right now who are prepared for the next four years to be a failure, people who cannot wait to be there to address the frustrated American people and introduce them to their own vision of radical hope and change. So the stakes are extremely high.”


  1. I don't know if these 'Koch' heads have noticed, but just about any American city run by oh, how do put this, those with a significant African heritage are simply not making the grade when it comes to making what we know of as civilization. I know I'm 'da rasis' and such to point this out, but if anyone can provide contra information I would like to see it. There is only so much you can blame on 'YT' and have some credibility.

    Maybe libertarians like Higgs could elaborate on this issue.

  2. Maybe If the Koch brothers had access to a hardcore libertarian ideologue way back when, they would be able to talk about solutions instead of just hand wringing.

  3. Murray is right that the pendulum will swing the other way, the how hard depends on how far Trump goes. Its weird that Murray is noting that the is a climate of authoritarianism in the air now. Nothing on the campaign trail indicated that Trump was a man for civil liberties (maybe guns but thats a big maybe). Authoritarianism has been in air since FDR and creeping up little by little.