His latest column is on the infighting over control of the libertarian Cato Institute:
The Koch brothers’ motive seems clear, to the extent there’s clarity in human motivation. They want to rid the Oval Office of a pest and Congress of the pestilence’s plague-carriers. In their battle against statist disease, the Kochs seem to regard Cato’s individualism as too individualistic. They want a more collective effort to cure collectivism.
Current Cato board chairman Bob Levy met with David Koch and some of Koch’s political advisers last November. According to Levy, “They said that a principal goal was to defeat Barack Obama. The way David put it was, ‘We would like you to provide intellectual ammunition that we can then use at Americans for Prosperity and our allied organizations.’ AFP and others would apply Cato’s work to advance their electoral goals.”
Of course, if David Koch had bothered to read the Cato trove of books, articles, policy analysis, and research on the Obama administration’s bunk and boners, he would have found six-shooter ammunition enough to burst through the swinging doors of the Electoral Goals Saloon and make every sarsaparilla-drinking tenderfoot in the Democratic party dance.
[. . .]
And Cato couldn’t be involved in partisan politics. Everyone there is a libertarian. You might as well command your cat to bring you your pajamas as tell a bunch of libertarians to get on the same political platform. I know these people. Ron Paul is a bien-pensant by comparison. Cato scholars prize contentious thought. Get in a debate with one and you’ll find out he doesn’t even agree with himself.
[. . .]
It can be said, with some justice, that libertarians apply only one measure to every issue. But what a sublime yardstick it is. Libertarians ask, about each thing they encounter in public life, “Does this promote the liberty, responsibility, and dignity of the individual?” Libertarianism can have political implications, but politics is, by definition, mass action. And libertarians don’t believe in the masses. They believe in the individuals huddled in those masses. A pure libertarian is opposed to politics down to the soles of his shoes (or, libertarians being libertarians, down to the bottom of his sandals worn with socks). Libertarianism is contra-political, an emetic dose to be given to politics. As we’ve seen lately, all politics needs one sometimes.
H/T to Walter Olson for the link.