Lately, defenders of statism have taken to attacking Charles and David Koch in the same manner as Big Brother’s regime attacked Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984. People will stay with the government that supposedly protects them if they can be convinced that any alternative would be horrible. In the letter below, Don Boudreaux addresses the demonization of the Koch brothers.
Editor, Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20071
It’s unclear if your Post.tv episode “Here’s how you support the Kochs” is meant to condemn or to praise Charles and David Koch. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter – in which case I applaud you for recognizing and making clear that the Koch brothers earn their fortunes by producing useful products used daily by millions of ordinary Americans.
Every Koch-produced product mentioned in your video is one that consumers can choose not to purchase. So the fact that we consumers voluntarily buy these products in large quantities means not only that we improve the Kochs’ well-being but, also and no less, that the Kochs improve our well-being in return. It’s a win-win.
The uncoerced, mutually advantageous market exchanges through which the Kochs earn their wealth stand in stark contrast to the arrangements favored by the Kochs’ “Progressive” opponents. These “Progressive” arrangements involve some people dictating what other people may and may not do, and some people spending, not their own money, but money forcibly taken from others. It’s a win-lose.
How bizarre, therefore, that the Kochs who spend only their own money (and who wish to expand the scope for each of us to spend, as we choose, our own money) are ridiculed as “greedy” and “dangerous” by so many people, such as Sen. Harry Reid, whose overriding goal and achievement in life is to spend other people’s money.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University