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Muammar D. el-Rockefeller?

Here’s a letter to the New York Times (HT Dan Griswold):

Regardless of the ethics of the L.S.E. accepting money from the Qaddafi Foundation, it is obscene for Professor Meghnad Desai to try to justify the L.S.E.’s actions by saying that “Academic research needs money – Rockefeller was a robber baron once, but we take his money” (“London School of Economics Wrestles With Qaddafi Donation,” March 1).

John D. Rockefeller earned every cent of his wealth honestly and peacefully – mostly by creating unprecedented efficiencies in the production and distribution of kerosene, the chief product extracted from petroleum during the 19th century.  Rockefeller’s efficiencies drove the price of kerosene down from 26 cents per gallon in 1870 (the year Rockefeller founded Standard Oil) to 5.9 cents per gallon in 1897 (the year Rockefeller retired from Standard).  Rockefeller never once held a gun to anyone’s head, much less dispatched goons and terrorists to kill untold numbers of innocent people.

The only people ‘harmed’ by Rockefeller were his competitors (such as Franklin Tarbell, father of Ida) who failed to keep up with Standard’s innovations and cost-reducing techniques.  Meanwhile, Rockefeller improved the lives of literally tens of millions of people – not to mention also saving whales.

The Qaddafis, in contrast, are thieving, tyrannical, and murderous brutes.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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