A new biography reveals the Koch brothers' very early role in creating organized climate denial

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/18/kochland.html

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Their core businesses are fossil fuels and logging. Pretty simple reason.

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It is no consultation that they and their progeny will die along with everybody else.

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Nowhere is this more manifest than in the Kochs’ overt and covert campaign against climate science, whose rationalist, empirical conclusion is that urgent, coordinated, non-market action is a hard requirement to avert a catastrophe that could result in the extinction of the human species (which would also result in significant falls in the Kochs’ fortunes). There is no rational version of long-range thinking that says that climate denial will produce a good outcome; the majority of climate denial is centered around the kind of short-termism that Koch deplores, where the returns to capital over a couple quarters are more important than the long-term ruination of firms, enterprises (and civilizations).

Cory, you’re framing a contradiction where there isn’t one.

There’s a stunningly obvious explanation for why the Kochs don’t care about the long-term profits “they’ll” lose to climate catastrophe: because they won’t be losing those profits; they’ll be dead.

Charles is 83. David is 79. Their long-term planning extends to the ends of their own lives, no farther. Their self-interest is exactly that: it extends as far as themselves. The state of the rest of the planet, even the long-term profits of their own heirs? They don’t care.

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When I read these kinds of stories, all I can do is hopelessly feel that, if we had a time machine, these are just more names that would go on the “assassinate these people to save the future” list, but there’s fuck-all we can do in response now except get mad at them (and they really don’t give a shit about that).

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Well written article by Cory. Best in a while.

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There’s thems that like it though.
There is no accounting for kink.

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Vote for pols who call out the Kochs and other billionaires?

Hmm, wonder who that means we should vote for? :thinking:

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I think it’s a little more cynical than that. I think these moneyed-elite arseholes understand quite well what is going on; they just decided that it was inevitable and therefore they needed to claw their way to the top of the human pile by any means necessary, reckoning that while humanity as a whole will lose to climate catastrophe, they will have captured enough wealth and power to assure they themselves won’t really suffer too much. That’s my take, at least.

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The Kochs are one of the best arguments against people living forever.

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You really don’t think that they are planning for the long term of their estates, and for the people that will inherit them? Short-term thinking is a hallmark of the neoliberal era, true enough, but so is individualistic/family thinking over and above the common good and in that case, there is long term thinking and planning going on. It’s about ensuring the long term sustainability of the corporation and/or individual family’s wealth. They don’t see the impact on the world mattering, because as Margaret Thatcher famously said, in their mind, “there is no society” just themselves and their family/corporation.

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Yeah, that’s my default starting position - but it still doesn’t do anything about the Koch bros and what they’ve already done. It’s not illegal to destroy the world, as things stand.

The Hitchhiker’s Travel Guide describes the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as:

“A bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.”

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I think there is little evidence that successful business people are rational actors to a greater extent than is average for humans. There is considerable evidence that very successful business people like the Kochs were in general aided substantially by luck, timing, and the advantages of inherited wealth.

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There was an excellent long interview with the author on NPR’s Fresh Air last week. Here’s a link to the podcast.

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Kansans don’t call the Koch estate “The Bunker” for nothing.

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Jane Mayer is my spirit reporter.

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Yeah failing to consult is probably at the core of the issue.

@OrangeTide

And a later edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica described the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as:

“A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.”

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Things move too fast for books now. It’s too slow, the whole process, to tactically counter emergent threats. We need to shift to a “live” version of investigation - a game-type arrangement, where as the key elements become apparent, awareness is raised and action can be taken. Make it entertaining.
@doctorow been meaning to talk about games ++ with you …

usual suspects… are
waiting for the cliff hanger
…and no turning back

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