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Will Wilkinson on Charles and David Koch

Will Wilkinson – one of the blogosphere’s most fascinating voices – weighs in intelligently, at the Economist.com, on the ideological efforts of Charles and David Koch.  Here’s a key ‘graf:

I don’t think many people understand how little these institutions [Cato Institute, Institute for Humane Studies, and the Mercatus Center] depend on the Kochs’ continued generosity. Of the brothers, Charles is the ideas man, and his idea has always been to build a set of complementary institutions which, once mature, can thrive without his (or his brother’s) financial help. That said, I have no doubt that these institutions either would not have existed, or would have existed in a very different form, were it not for the Kochs’ institution-building philanthropy. Having committed about a decade of my life to a few of these institutions, I’d like to think that those labouring within them have had some affect on American culture and politics—have had some small success in increasing awareness of and strengthening the public case for the value of individual rights, free markets, limited government, and peace. I don’t think there’s been a huge effect, but surely there’s been an effect.

FYI, here’s a three-year-old column that I wrote in my effort to put to rest the silly and lazy “Progressive” notion that my GMU colleagues and I are shills for industry.

UPDATE: Here’s Brian Doherty at Reason’s Hit & Run on this matter.