Donate
Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0

David Koch, the billionaire who along with his brother Charles funneled vast wealth into building the infrastructure of the modern right wing, is dead at the age of 79. He had retired from (or was forced out of) his family's politics-and-money business last year. We're supposed to be impressed that he donated a great big $1.3 billion of his massive $42.2 billion fortune to philanthropic causes, but let's not fool ourselves: the man was an American oligarch who helped remake America's politics and economy to serve his own ends, and our only regret at his passing is that as far as we know, Rod Serling will not be constructing a personal hell for him where he will personally experience the less charming effects of unrestrained capitalism, like watching his child die because he can't afford insurance, or perhaps being a Banglasdeshi whose entire family is wiped out by coastal flooding due to global warming.

Instead, his defunct meat will be buried in a grave somewhere that decent people won't even be allowed to piss on, and where's the justice in THAT?


Big surprise, that charitable donation thing is in the first paragraph of the Wall Street Journal's obit, because that was clearly the only thing Koch was known for. (His political donations at least got pride of place in the WSJ headline). He was such a great guy! He helped his brother (the brains of the operation) fund such dark money groups as Americans For Prosperity, Freedom Partners, the "Knowledge and Progress Fund," and others, which all advanced a libertarian vision of total freedom for those with the most money, without any troublesome government to get in the way.

The Kochs are also huge contributors -- but not the sole funders -- of Donors Trust, which Mother Jones has described as the "dark-money ATM of the conservative movement," and that national incubator for terrible legislation at the state level, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Among the network of groups and think tanks the Kochs have funded are such fine nebulous names as

the 60 Plus Association, American Commitment, American Future Fund [...] Americans for Job Security, Americans for Limited Government, Americans for Responsible Leadership, Center for Shared Services, CitizenLink, Concerned Women for America, Generation Opportunity, Public Notice, and The Libre Initiative Trust.

And let's not forget the brothers' copious spending to prevent any action at all on global warming, which will now be far harder and costlier to address because Koch-funded groups spread lies and confusion for decades.

In the 1990s, as the world moved toward an awakening on climate change and the need to address it, the Koch machine moved to block any regulations or price on carbon that would cut into their profits by funding doubt and denial. Greenpeace estimates the brothers spent $127 million from 1997 to 2017 funding 92 organizations that muddied the waters on climate change, a move that helped make international efforts to combat climate change, like the Kyoto Protocol, worthless. They funded a network of overlapping climate denial organizations to kill a 2009 bill that would have created a cap and trade system, a very business-friendly climate solution they rejected on principle.

The Kochs also became increasingly active at the local level, too, because why only turn the planet and national politics into a wasteland? Their web of groups found time to kill a bus system in Nashville, so white ladies wouldn't have to see black people in their neighborhood. It also opposes municipal funding of zoos and public libraries, because those are socialist too.

Still, we hear David Koch funded some art museums and PBS programs, too.

What was his own view of being disgustingly rich? He thought it was a laugh. Here's a bit from Jane Mayer's book Dark Money. Mayer notes that while Charles Koch likes to pretend he earned his money through hard work and brilliance, that wasn't the case for David, who in 2003 told a little joke to his prep school alma mater, Deerfield Academy (to which he donated $25 million, making him a Good Person):

He said, "You might ask: How does David Koch happen to have the wealth to be so generous? Well, let me tell you a story. It all started when I was a little boy. One day, my father gave me an apple. I soon sold it for five dollars and bought two apples and sold them for ten. Then I bought four apples and sold them for twenty. Well, this went on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until my father died and left me three hundred million dollars!"

So in addition to his philanthropy, let's credit him with a modicum of self-awareness about how wealth is created by the most virtuous and hard-working.

Not surprisingly, the wingnuttosphere -- which is already setting aside funds for a vast private orgy when Nancy Pelosi dies -- is simply horrified that The Tolerant Left is saying such mean things about a man who has gone on to his final reward, and don't you know he was a philanthropist? Here's some typical pearl clutching from a Daily Caller alum and flack for the Club for Growth, which has received Koch money but is not a central part of the Koch network.

Dude, don't know who was lecturing you, but at Wonkette, we marked bin Laden's passing by thinking up a drinking game and sharing this classic video:

Osama's dead, baby. Osama's dead. youtu.be

As "proof" that the liberals all spent a week saying we mustn't celebrate a reprehensible person's death, Captain Civility shared screenshots of articles that aren't, you know, actually lecturing any such thing:

The NPR piece was a thinky look at how religious folks -- not necessarily liberals -- say celebrating anyone's death is morally iffy, but it's definitely not a lecture. The other piece, from the New York Times, focused on social scientists' explanations for why such celebrations are in fact entirely human. Again, no lecturing, unless "yeah, that's pretty normal" is a lecture.

Then there were the self-owns, like Ben Shapiro, who is the president of self-owns:


Right.

Now, all of this having been said, let us remind you Terrible Ones that the Commenting Rules remain in effect: Feel free to celebrate the departure of David Koch from this mortal coil, but no, you may not fantasize about how wonderful it would be for others to join him.

So fuck his donations to museums and the arts. David Koch made the world a far worse place, and may his name be anathema to good people everywhere. Perhaps the most fitting tribute would be to unceremoniously dump his coffin into one of the fires consuming the Amazon rainforest, the end.

[NYT / WSJ / Earther / Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0]

Yr. Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. Our recommendation to rich fascists is that if you don't want your death to be celebrated, maybe don't be an asshole fascist while you're alive.

How often would you like to donate?

Select an amount (USD)

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

Donate

How often would you like to donate?

Select an amount (USD)

Newsletter

©2018 by Commie Girl Industries, Inc