Over at the Huffington Post, Dan Froomkin states succinctly the difference between serious libertarianism and the conservatism of the Koch brothers:
The Cato Institute is a Washington think tank with a long history of rigorous scholarship in the name of championing individual liberty It’s known for taking positions outside the conservative mainstream on issues like civil liberties, the war on drugs and U.S. militarism, regardless of the political consequences.
Charles and David Koch, by contrast, are all about winning. Their massive underwriting of bellicose Tea Party groups and super PACs appears to have three main goals: ousting President Barack Obama, busting unions, and reducing the tax and regulatory burden on companies like their own.
I don’t see the Kochs’ plan as bold as much as avaricious, and Froomkin would probably agree. Their machinations are not just any kind of bold.
But if the Kochs have been bold, it’s at the expense of rigor. If one hears another time that stopping Pres. Obama is about stopping socialism, one will have heard it for the thousandth time.
Froomkin cites David Koch’s admission that he, Koch, believed “that the Republican Party, however flawed, represented the best chance of stopping the current rush to socialism…”
Obama’s not a socialist, but in outlook a conventional progressive, and genuine socialism simply isn’t in the cards (for which we may all be grateful). It’s simply dumbing down our politics, and battening on others’ ignorance, to call efforts against Obama a war against socialism. No one knowledgeable need pretend to be ignorant to slake the Kochs’ thirst for the grandiose.
Libertarianism is not, and never has been, simply a subspecies of the GOP, of Democrats, or any other party. Americans for Prosperity, however much many of us once hoped otherwise, is little more than a GOP front group.
We are our own movement, a tradition with liberty at its core, hopeful friends to all, but subservient to none.
The Kochs, once part of libertarianism, are no longer so. We owe them no deference for their past contributions when their present actions are so injurious to the liberty movement.