Charles and David Koch are prolific philanthropists, patronizing art, science, medicine, education, and public policy. Sounds wonderful, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, their libertarian philosophy isn’t an approved variation of self-hatred and hypocritical cant required by the progressive left, so their money can do no good to anyone.
In fact, their charitable gifts are even more suspect than simply hoarding their money in Scrooge McDuck-like towers of gold coins. It seems the only thing progressives hate more than libertarians who don’t care about society, the poor, or minorities is… libertarians who do. How else can you explain the outrage that has accompanied their huge gifts to museums, cancer research, and (most recently) the United Negro College Fund?
Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation just made a donation of 25 million dollars to UNCF. $18.5 million will support a scholarship program, and $6.5 million will support UNCF and member colleges, including $4 million for students whose parents were denied loans. And the left is furious: “#Koch donation to @UNCF tells children everywhere that money is first and integrity is unnecessary.”
Try to follow the logic here: “How dare Charles and David Koch give millions of dollars to help African American students access higher education! Because they’re libertarians! And libertarianism is bad for black people!” Spot any glaring, borderline insane non sequiturs? You can’t take money from people who legitimately earned it because they believe the wrong things about politics.
Even if it were true that thoroughgoing libertarianism disproportionately hurt minorities (although no one seems to feel the need to explain how), these libertarians are doing no such thing. In fact, they go out of their way to argue against policies that unfairly target minorities: the drug war, immigration restrictions, occupational licensing, and so on.
Moreover, their charitable donation here is directly and particularly helping African Americans. If they had refused to work with UNCF, can you imagine the Salon and Huffington Post headlines? “Racist Koch Brothers Don’t Want Blacks to Go to College!” That we live in a world where the opposite headline can inspire outrage seems surreal.
Progressives often attack conservatives and libertarians for “putting profits before people,” but the case of the Koch brothers shows, in no uncertain terms, that they are willing to put politics before people. To me, that seems more petty, perverse, and profoundly disturbing.