Charles Koch's power trip: Billionaire libertarian sees no problem in buying the sort of government he prefers

Oligarchy is good so long as I get what I pay for, explains oligarch

Published November 3, 2015 6:08PM (EST)


The Koch brothers, Charles and David, sat down for a WORLD EXCLUSIVE interview with the vacant power worshippers of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this week, and in the process the billionaire libertarian weirdos made some “news.” Asked by Joe Scarborough if he’d found a Republican presidential candidate whom he could line up behind, Charles Koch responded, oddly: “Not in great measure.” This non-endorsement of nobody was reported as newsvery, very important news – because a very rich man said it, and wealthy people are enjoying ever tighter control over our politics. Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post wrote a great piece yesterday detailing the absurdity of Marco Rubio’s “accomplishment” in snagging the endorsement of another billionaire, Paul Singer, who couldn’t actually explain why he liked Rubio, but was lavished with press attention because this is what happens in an oligarchy.

And as it turns out, the problem of creeping oligarchism came up during the Koch brothers’ interview on “Morning Joe.” Scarborough asked Charles Koch about a recent New York Times analysis that found that just 158 super-wealthy, mostly conservative families were responsible for nearly half of the money donated thus far in the presidential race. “That’s not a way to run a democracy, is it?” Scarborough asked. Koch responded by saying: Actually, oligarchy can be very good!

“See, to me it depends on – to what end?” Koch explained. “If it’s to get policies that will create, open up opportunities for people and get rid of all this corporatism and corporate welfare wherein, what, seven out of the richest counties in the country are around Washington, DC? … that just isn’t random, it’s because the government is picking winners and losers. And you want to be a winner more than you do a loser so you give to slant it your way.”

So Charles Koch, when asked if it’s a problem that massively rich individuals are purchasing their preferred policy outcomes, says it’s not necessarily a problem so long as it results in his preferred policy outcomes. His definition of acceptable oligarchism is that he gets what he pays for. “I would love something in return,” Koch explained later in the interview. “I would love to have the government stop this corporate welfare.” He either doesn’t really understand the problem, or can’t be bothered to care. It’s probably a combination of both.

The utter lack of self-awareness here is staggering. Koch is vehemently opposed to government arbitrarily “picking winners and losers.” At the same time, he’s so thoroughly convinced of the correctness of his own worldview that he sees no real problem in a small, hyper-elite cadre of billionaires flooding the political system with cash to prop-up their hand-picked candidates and mold the government into something that more closely resembles their vision. Charles Koch will pick the winners and losers, not the government, thank you very much.

The arrogance on display here is also quite remarkable. Koch’s confidence that his vision for the country is indisputably correct is derived from two sources: his wealth, and the attention people pay to him because of his wealth. And he’s open about the fact that he’s trying to buy the government of his preference because he doesn’t have any reason to hide it. The entire system has been corrupted to give those who can spend the most the greatest amounts of influence, so why should Charles Koch, David Koch, or any other would-be oligarch be shy about their intentions?

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By Simon Maloy

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