The pandemic and the continuing attack on democracy and public education
By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / November 30, 2021
Nancy MacLean’s Incredible Book Democracy in Chains documents Charles Koch’s anti-democratic and anti-public education program as well as his relationship to Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan (Democracy in Chains page 184).
She quotes Buchanan speaking of their common libertarian program: “The project must aim at the practical removal of the sacrosanct assigned to majority rule. MacLean writes of Buchanan: “The collective enemy he was building included almost everyone in education except academic economists” (Democracy in Chains page 119).
She also noted that Koch-funded politician Dick Armey called for an end to public education which he called “the most socialized industry in the world” (page 196). Today’s pandemic attack on public education is simply the continuation of a more than half-century long crusade to end it. Koch’s money still goes into the cause.
that of Christophe Léonard Kochland is the story of Charles Koch beginning with obtaining two engineering degrees from MIT. For those who don’t know him and his late younger brother David, this book is a wonderful tutorial.
In 1966, after five years working for his father, Charles became CEO of a company then known as Rock Island Oil & Refining Company. After the death of his father Fred in 1967, Charles took a disparate set of assets – a cattle ranch, a minority stake in an oil refinery, and a gas collecting business – and brought them together in the company that the family renamed Koch Industries in honor of their father. It is now the second largest private company in the world.
Unfortunately, it was the work of Austrian economists and philosophers Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek that attracted Koch. He has been described as a libertarian and a conservative, but “classic liberal” is a more apt description. Leonard observed: “Hayek, in particular, put forward a radical concept of capitalism and the role that markets should play in society, and his thinking had a lasting effect on Charles Koch” (Kochland page 42). …
The pandemic attack
In the spring of 2020, a campaign to ignore school safety concerns associated with the novel corona virus was launched. The former president and his secretary of education began to demand the immediate opening of schools for full-time face-to-face education. There was a nationwide response from the Republican Party that included the creation of Astroturf parent organizations protesting across the country for the reopening of schools. The health of school staff or the likelihood of children bringing COVID home to vulnerable family members was of little concern.
This spring, the attack on public schools took a dark and violent turn. School board members were yelled at and threatened for asking students to wear masks. The charges have escalated to include supposedly teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) and providing children with inappropriate books like Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My Real Story.
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