On Saturday, conservative philanthropist Charles G. Koch explained the motivations behind his multi-million dollar web of affiliated non-profit free market groups. Koch has been maligned for using “dark money” to corrupt American politics, but his stated goals might surprise some detractors. Koch said America is losing its civil society to big government, and he aims to reverse this trend with four key policy goals:
The first one is to change, reverse the policies that are moving us toward a two-tiered society — a society that’s destroying opportunities for the disadvantaged and creating welfare for the wealthy.
The second one is the irresponsible, destructive spending by both parties that is making people’s lives worse.
And the third one is to get government at all levels — that is, local, state and federal — to focus on the government’s primary responsibility to the people to keep America safe instead of being distracted with all sorts of other objectives that undermines that primary obligation of government.
[Finally,] protecting free speech, which is the foundation of a free society. And, as we know, it’s under attack everywhere.
Koch laid these principles out at the Freedom Partners chamber of commerce winter meeting in Indian Wells, Calif. As The Hill reported, his network of organizations spent nearly $400 million in 2015, and is projected to spend $889 million during the 2015-2016 election cycle. This is not just supporting political candidates and initiatives, but funding a chain of interrelated free market groups advocating political change.
Koch’s stated reason for this substantial investment is to restore America’s civil society. “We’re moving more toward a system of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty, in which people, rather than trying to help each other, are pitted against each other,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner. Koch attacked this kind of transformation as “destructive and undermining the American dream.”
Koch explained that he supports “ideas of mutual benefit, of becoming successful by helping other people improve their lives.” He lays out these free-market principles and their value to personal achievement more fully in his recent book Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies.