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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 01, 2014

 
What keeps rich libertarians up at night?

by digby

I've got a piece up today at Salon about the Koch Brothers and Richard Stephenson, extremely wealthy plutocrats who describe themselves as hardcore, committed libertarians. And yet they are backing theocrats and war hawks for office. Hmmmm:
Earlier this week, ace researcher Lee Fang did a little digging and found that for all their alleged commitment to libertarianism, the Koch Brothers are helping to elect a whole lot of right-wing theocrats and national security hawks, which seems just a little bit hypocritical. After all, everyone says that this libertarian influence in the GOP is bound to create a new and different party which will inevitably become more socially tolerant and less given to imperial ambition. Fang lays out example after example of Koch groups backing conservative extremists whose idea of freedom and liberty consists of a strong commitment to ensuring that gays and women are denied full human rights. And many of these fine folks aren’t too concerned about due process for “certain” people who don’t deserve all those human rights to which Real Americans are entitled. (And foreigners always deserve what they get. Especially the French.)

This should not be too surprising to anyone who’s been following the rise of the Koch brothers since they burst on the scene in the 1970s. They were at that time, as much younger men, committed to forming a viable Libertarian Party, and created the Cato Institute as its philosophical and ideological home base. David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980 and campaigned for full abortion rights and the decriminalization of drugs, homosexuality and prostitution, while calling Ronald Reagan nothing more than a liberal squish. But no one should be shocked to find out that these billionaires really had one big priority: themselves. Charles Koch spelled it out as early as 1974 when he was formulating the rationale for a Libertarian party:
“The development of a well-financed cadre of sound proponents of the free enterprise philosophy is the most critical need facing us today.”
I actually think they do believe in libertarianism. There's no evidence that they are secret theocrats or care about who someone sleeps with. They haven't been big backers of the MIC or military adventures overseas. But that's not what what keeps them up at night. Individual rights are really neat and I'm sure they genuinely believe the government shouldn't intrude on them. But they decided to take over the GOP rather than the Democratic Party where all those ideas are valued and where there already exists already a large coalition that agrees with them on those issues. No, they chose to take over the Republican Party because that's where the low tax, low regulation, pro-business, anti-environmental coalition exists. That's what they really care about.

The question is whether they will fight for anything they believe in when the other members of this cozy coalition they're building in the GOP decides it might like something they really care about. I'm going to guess that as long as these Big Money Boyz get what they want, they'll go along. They certainly have shown themselves willing to do it so far.

Read on ... 
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