A Little Nuance Into the Brothers Koch

American Conservative‘s Justin Raimondo has an excellent review of a new Daniel Schulman bio on the Koch Brothers, otherwise known as the Game of Thrones plutocrats out to take over the country. Of course that’s partly true. The brothers’ net worth is over $100 billion and they have poured millions (perhaps billions eventually) into financing libertarian politics in this country. One of them even stood as Vice Presidential candidate in the 1980 election.

However, against this New Yorker article and the constant emails an Obama voter is destined to receive from political action committees (there’s even an anti-Citizens United group named after them), this injects some nuance. These people have become enormously successful for reasons, and though we might wish that enormously successful people would have different values, it’s undeniable that some of the values we distaste are contributors to their enormous success. Realizing this forces us beyond righteous condemnation of individuals toward a more thoughtful analysis of the societal forces that created them.

They also failed spectacularly. They threw pretty much everything they had at Obama in 2012 and he won reelection pretty handily for an incumbent in a not-so-great economy. Rumors of oligarchy, or least an oligarchy under their control, were greatly exaggerated.