The word oligarchy is getting lots of coverage these days as more and more of us are realizing how close we are to becoming a nation of many ruled by a few, unelected, elitist individuals.
A recent Al Jazeera article uncovers the great lengths the few will go to in order to control the many. The Koch brothers, known for the exorbitant amounts of money they spend on buying politicians, have apparently stepped up their game and are also flooding higher education institutions to promote and indoctrinate the sacred cow of free market capitalism.
I’ll argue that they are demonstrating exactly how a free market is really a myth we consumers should finally come to terms with. The idea that the brothers understand the power of indoctrinating young minds and are therefore skewing the future economic landscape in favor of elitist advantages is cause for concern. Milton Friedman did much the same thing in his Chicago School of Economics and his prodigy went on to destroy entire national economic systems, including our own (see Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” and John Perkins “Hoodwinked”).
The brothers aren’t just supporting colleges though. “The Kochs’ giving, however, has a laser-like focus on a specific, politically relevant discipline — free market economics — unmatched by other political mega-donors.” They are actively recruiting, courting, and wooing young minds into their mythological free market world. Minds who are unaware that they themselves are a defiance of the free market system: when we live in a time where money can skew curriculum and potentially reshape the future without regard to objectivity, logic, or democracy, we’ve reached a whole new level of manipulation.
Here are some of the ways the brothers are creeping our future:
At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, for example, documents show the foundation wanted more than just academic excellence for its money. It wanted information about students it could potentially use for its own benefit — and influence over information officials at the public university disseminated about the Charles Koch Foundation.
It sought, for one, the names and email addresses — “preferably not ending in .edu” — of any student who participated in a Koch-sponsored class, reading group, club or fellowship. The stated purpose: “to notify students of opportunities” through both the Charles Koch Foundation and the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.
With this kind of activity, we may be living in a Kocheconomy before the millennials see their grandkids, not a free market economy. This is what an oligarchy looks like. Hopefully we are paying very close attention to our current presidential candidates and will choose the only one willing to stand up to the oligarchy and expose the free market for the myth that it is, our democracy depends upon it. #vote2016