N&O: Reductio ad Kocham

Hey, it turns out that we can discredit the expert consensus — er, we mean the same tired old argument — that Wake County simply isn’t dense enough to support light rail because one of them is linked to something that’s linked to a … (dramatic pause, horrified face, thrill of excitement) … Koch brother!

… one of those experts, Sam Staley, is connected to the Reason Foundation, a think-tank whose board members include oil industry titan David Koch, an ultraconservative political activist and contributor. And Steve Polzin of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, Newsom wrote, represents a center long opposed to rail travel.

The GOP commissioners, including Chairman Joe Bryan and Paul Coble, got exactly what they wanted from their experts, a conclusion that the Triangle isn’t big enough to justify light rail and commuter rail.

I’m not sure, but I think “ultraconservative” is almost the same as an “archconservative,” with the prefix serving as an intensifier in the place of the string of vulgarities that cannot be published. Either way, it’s wrong — Koch is a libertarian, but although defining him properly amid a local snit might serve the purpose of accurate representation in journalism, it would not serve the purpose of promoting a policy position through argument via sputo.

It’s pathetic. Even the “same tired argument” involves an actual argument. Trying to discredit the argument by playing Six Degrees of Separation with some statist’s bogeyman, whose beliefs you still don’t dare characterize properly, is feckless.

Apparently in the Monopoly game of liberal argumentation, invoking the name of Koch (or, for that matter, Pope) is treated like drawing a Get Out of Fail Free card.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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