Long time readers of this blog know that I haven’t spent a lot of time taking about the Koch brothers or Citizens United. That’s not because campaign financing is not important. It is. I just always assumed, probably incorrectly, that Americans, even the most TV news captured, would eventually see the relationship between the amount of money spent in a campaign and how negative ads were impacting their voting decisions. Unfortunately, we spend so much time hating each other that we don’t see the influence of money.
Like a lot of social psychology that I don’t completely understand, Americans seem to be impressed with money and the authority it conveys even if the people using it to gain political office are predatory, greedy and selfish and not interested in representing anyone but themselves. As for the learned helplessness of “Well, the world is corrupt, there’s nothing we can do about it”, I blame Fox News and the 700 Club.
I just don’t get the Kochs though. The latest news about them is that they are planning to spend an ungodly amount of money in the 2016 election. The number is something like $899 million dollars. That’s almost a billion dollars that could be poured into fledgling biotech startups and put hundreds of scientists back to work discovering new drugs. Or that money could be used to improve our broadband infrastructure or replace rotting bridges. But no, these dudes are going to spend that money attacking and undermining American values.
At first I thought this had something to do with taxes but when you get to the point where you’re going to spend almost a billion on campaigns, why wouldn’t you just pay the taxes? What am I missing here? In attempting to answer that question, Charles Koch made this nonsensical statement:
“Americans have taken an important step in slowing down the march toward collectivism,” Koch said, according to excerpts released over the weekend. “But as many of you know, we don’t rest on our laurels. We are already back at work and hard at it.”
That the hell is he talking about? The US is about the least collectivist nation in the world. We cut our teeth on American mythology of the rugged individualist succeeding beyond anyone’s wildest expectations with no help from anyone. That’s why we attracted so many immigrants throughout the past two centuries. This was the land of opportunity. But I get the feeling that the Kochs won’t be happy until they eliminate sharing in Kindergarten.
Oh, sure, they’d be the first people who would promote private charity but I have seen the holes in private charity. If by collectivism they mean the ability of Americans to unite against the exploitative profit mining of the rich that has undermined everything from education and good roads to health care and a decent salary, then we’ve got a major problem.
I have now come to the conclusion that this is not just about taxes. It’s about the Koch’s just not liking Americans. They’ve gotten just about everything greedy, selfish people could possibly want but now they want to make sure that no one else gets anything at all.
I don’t consider myself an envious person. No, really, I’m not. I don’t care how many houses a person has or how big it is. Money doesn’t equal taste. You’re never going to impress me with your leased BMW. I have a modest house that needs some work and I’m located near the bus line and that’s fine with me. Years of living in New Jersey with my nice salary that only afforded me a meh middle class lifestyle has made me realize that I just don’t need that much stuff to be successful. Meaningful work that I enjoy is much more important than acquiring stuff even if that means I don’t take a yearly cruise.
But I do wonder why it is that people like the Kochs seem so determined to strip away any security we have in our old age. Why is it we have to worry about the post office going out of business? Why do so many people have to live on food stamps and why are the Koch elected officials so determined to cut food stamps off from people who will just end up having to go to a food pantry to meet their caloric requirements? Who made them Gods to decide how much uniting and risk distribution Americans can do to protect themselves?
Don’t tell me this is about the hard upbringing these two had clearing brush from their father’s ranch when they were younger. There are a lot of people whose parents were hard assed, spirit breaking morons who never let their kids have a moment of fun when they were growing up. Most people don’t become predators without consciences who used their money to deprive other people of a sense of security. We now have to consider the possibility that there is something morally and psychologically disturbed with these two people who would prefer that families suffer and sick and hungry children get substandard educations because they don’t want to share the massive fortunes that they can’t possibly live long enough to enjoy.
How ironic is that? They have enough money to buy anything on earth several times over and what they really want to spend their money on is depriving you of your piece of mind. If there’s not a diagnosis in the DSM for that, there should be.
I just don’t get it. In the Kochs we see people who really hate those of us who are not billionaires. They have contempt for us. That makes their activity in campaigns even more disturbing. They’re getting more subtle as well. There will be new ways that they will use that money to influence people in 2016 and most Americans, I fear, will not even know what hit them. Generally, their strategy has been to make Americans hate each other.
Still, the question needs to be asked: why do the Kochs hate us?