I had hoped it would help me sleep at night and perhaps avoid a little controversy along the way. Luckily for my university, the controversy was not well known, but those who knew what clouds gathered over our campus were well within their rights to be angry. The objective was to recast neoliberal economics in an ethically sound mould capable of carrying out moral good. The rationale was to sugar-coat two generations of nefarious civic actions. The culprits were the infamous Koch Brothers – amongst the highest ranking of bastards you are apt to find in the contemporary era. Plainly put, it was an academic hijacking. Some of the students called to this endeavour would be rewarded with stipend and scholarship. I would, for the first time, accept as a medium of exchange, a form of payment for services rendered, a pile of brand-new books and a weekly dose of Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies.

For the uninitiated, the Koch Brothers is the household moniker given to two of the four sons of Mr Fred C. Koch. Charles and David were kings of the Koch Mountain. By the beginning of the Obama Administration, they had largely succeeded in winning a fight that had lasted most of their adult lives, amongst their other brothers, over control of their daddy’s oil refinery firm – Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned business in the US. For the full pedigree, let’s begin with Fred. He was the Texas born son of immigrants who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Four years after graduating with a degree in chemical engineering he would invent a new process for cracking – a name befitting the convertion of crude oil into gasoline. In an America at the end of the roaring twenties, this development stood the chance of changing the oil game so that smaller players could have a piece of the pie. Naturally, the bigger oil companies did not take kindly to the new kid on the block and buried him in lawsuits. Unable to do much stateside during the years of litigation, Fred moved to the Soviet Union where things were more laxed concerning patent laws and refined oil. Despite his taking advantage of their system, he quickly grew to abhor communism to the core and saw Stalin as the devil incarnate. Assuming he could not make a deal with this devil, he returned to the US and preached an emboldened conservatism dedicated to a small, limited federal government. He also began to believe communism was taking over the highest seats of power in the US, Invasion of the Body Snatchers style. Fred was one of the founders of the John Birch Society, a right leaning political advocacy group that fed on a steady diet of the arch-conservative thinker, William F. Buckley Jr. and conspiracy theories building up the zeitgeist of conservative Republicans in the US that would make Donald Trump President and the country itself the near-boiling mess it stands as to this day. His spawn kept the enterprise going and took it to a whole new level. 

Born in Kansas, Charles and David advanced their father’s agenda using his wealth to fund genuine psychopathic candidates, squelch climate change research endeavours, manipulate legislation to kick open the door for greater laissez-faire capitalism and ultra-conservatism, and solidify Libertarianism in the US. They abandoned former President George W. Bush because he said he was pro-choice and supported same-sex marriage, even though he never acted on these opinions. The power of their purse was legendary, the likes of which are hopefully only seen once in a century or longer.

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