RUSH/EIB: Charles Koch, of the Koch brothers, has an op-ed today, Wall Street Journal: “I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society.” It’s a great piece. I mean, it’s a personal take. It’s one of those things, it’s unfortunate he has to write it, but it’s the climate in which we live. You could read the whole thing. I could read the whole thing to you. It’s even got a couple of handoffs to the left in it, and I understand why. Well, he talks about all the great liberal things that his company has done so that they can be properly understood. I understand why he throws these things in.
I’ve played golf with Charles Koch and I know all of them. They’re fine people. It’s an amazing thing to watch great people like this be demonized by absolute idiots, led by the leaders of the Democrat Party. What is the facial expression on your — (interruption) Yeah, I played golf with one of the Koch brothers. I played golf with both Koch brothers, but I was only in a foursome with one of them. It was at a charity golf outing for prostate cancer. (whispering) Yeah, I’ve even spoken at a Koch brother event (gasping) high on the peaks of, I think it was Aspen, Colorado. I flew out one afternoon after the program. And it was strange, too.
I flew out there, it’s a five-hour flight, landed, took a tram to the top of the mountain. It was a lot of hours at high altitude. I finished the speech and I went back down the mountain, got on a plane and came home. I did all of this in like 12 hours, whatever it was. It was just like two or three years ago. So I want to share with you parts of this, the headline of the piece: “I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society — I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles — the principles of a free society — that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.”
Now, that’s a powerful open, and it’s right in the face, it’s right between the eyes of the critics who demonize the Koch brothers. “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives.” Not government to improve people’s lives, ’cause that doesn’t happen. I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles. How does it happen, how do people improve themselves? Me, my company, I, he’s writing, have sought to enable this to happen with everybody we come in contact with. There are principles, pillars of a free society that enable people to improve their lives. Raise their standard of living is another way of putting it.
“Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government.” That is also true. The fundamental concepts of liberty, respect, and equality before the law have always, personal freedom has always come under attack in this country. There are always gonna be leftists and Democrats who are afraid of people exercising individual choice and freedom because they will choose things that are not liberal. But this is. And the point that Mr. Koch is making — it may be the first time in my lifetime, I can’t speak for all of American history, but I’m learning it as I write these books on it for kids, and I’m telling you, first time in my life that the people of this country are up against their own government when it comes to their freedom.
Now, look, Congress passes laws, there are always incursions on our freedom, don’t misunderstand, I’m not being naive. But this is unprecedented. We now have an administration which is devoted to this, that is using the government, the power of the government, the sprawl, the spread, the tentacles of the government to intimidate any and all who would exercise personal freedom. And this is unique because now we’re up against the government, not just a special interest group here or a politician there or a group of politicians over there. We’re up against now, a government run by a man who is hell-bent on running everybody’s life. And that’s why, Mr. Koch says, “if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight,” for the fundamental concepts of dignity, self-respect, equality before the law, personal freedom, those principles that enable people to improve their lives.
He says, “I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process. A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value.” A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. “In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.
“More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. ‘The natural progress of things,’ Jefferson wrote, ‘is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’ He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.”
Meaning, it doesn’t matter how many times our programs don’t work. It doesn’t matter how many times our programs fail. It doesn’t matter how much misery our programs cost and cause, it is our intentions that you must examine, our good intentions. We are good people. We are better people than you. We care more. We love more. We are more tolerant and we know what’s better for you than you do, and we want, and we demand, and we will make. And whenever it fails we’re not allowed to examine the details of the failure. We’re always supposed to focus on their good intentions. The promised end, that carrot dangling way out there in the future, all this utopia that they claim to be able to bring, it never happens.
But we’re supposed to let them do whatever they want or need to make it happen, and we’re not to judge their failures as we go but to examine their intentions. “Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. …
“This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th Century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society — and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.
“Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re ‘un-American’ and trying to ‘rig the system,’ that we’re against ‘environmental protection’ or eager to ‘end workplace safety standards.’ These [lies] falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.'”
He lists “some facts about my philosophy and our company: Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits.”
In other words, for you low-information people, Koch Industries is responsible for paying $11.7 billion in salary, wages, and benefits. Further: “About one-third of our US-based employees are union members,” and I would add on my own that they would earn a lot more than they do now if they were not members of union. But, I’m just throwing that in there.
“Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our ‘commitment to a cleaner environment’ and called us ‘a model for other companies.'”
This is one of the throw-ins for the left, one of the responses to their criticism.
“Our refineries…” Yes, Koch Industries refines oil. (Gasp!) Oh, evil! Evil, aren’t they? “Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. … Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them.
“I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished,” and you know, if I can make another side observation, it is crony capitalism that Obama is engaging in. And in the process, he’s corrupting various industries or individual companies by luring them into relationships with his administration.
It is those companies doing business with Obama who are rigging the system, who are benefiting from a rigged system, who are enjoying favors that others can’t get. Crony capitalism is an absolute horror, and it is something that we’ve talked about its various elements in the past in this program. It might be productive to explain it in some detail, maybe as the program unfolds today.
“Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves.
“Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal. If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off — not just today, but for generations to come.”
Mr. Koch concludes by saying, “I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.” I’m still intrigued by the way he opened this. “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives,” meaning he’s studied it and is interested in how it happens. And, furthermore, he’s interested in how he can help them make it happen for themselves.
That’s people that work for Koch, people that do business with Koch, people that he knows personally. Something I’ve found about all conservatives is that every one that I know wants everybody to do well, wants everybody to benefit from the grandest opportunity a human being can be presented. To be a United States citizen, or an American, is the greatest human opportunity on this planet.
We conservatives want everybody to do well. We want everybody to improve their lives. We want everybody to raise their standard of living, on their own. Sense of entitlement? No. But achievement and completion, sense of success, knowing what your value is, knowing how much you’re capable of doing. All of these things are what we want from people. We don’t want people to suffer.
We don’t want that. But we certainly want people to do better by doing for themselves. It’s the simple best way. How do people improve their lives? And one thing that we can say without any credible opposition is that government is not the way to improve your life, except (see, and now we’re back) crony capitalism can improve the life of a corporation in a bad, bad way.
RUSH: Crony capitalism. What is it? Well, have you ever heard of Solyndra? Maybe I’ll not use Solyndra. Have you ever heard of the insurance industry, health insurance industry? Have you ever heard of General Electric? Have you ever heard of General Motors? You know, this General Motors thing that’s happening with the CEO being dragged up to testify over the faulty ignition
Why is the government not sitting next to that CEO? The government’s involved in bailing General Motors out. The government was involved in financial decisions. The government was involved in the decision to not highlight that problem so as not to impact sales. Where’s Obama? Why doesn’t he sit next to this woman who’s being held out to dry?
Crony capitalism is when the government gives a company access to the federal Treasury in exchange for support for the Regime, ties a company to the Regime and enables the company not to use its own money to grow. That’s one short definition of it, and Obama has done that a lot, mostly with failed green energy companies involved in wind and solar.
RUSH: We have one call here that’s related to the opening monologue involving the Wall Street Journal op-ed by Charles Koch. This is John in Indianapolis. Hey, John. I’m glad you called. You want to weigh in on this, right?
CALLER: Yeah, Rush. It’s John from Indianapolis via Wisconsin. So dittos from the Midwest, anyway.
RUSH: Wait a second. Wait, wait, hold it. Has your call been screened? Have you talked to Mr. Snerdley?
RUSH: Okay. He’s got you as John from Indianapolis.
CALLER: Yeah, John. Yeah. That’s right. I thought you said Don. I’m sorry.
RUSH: Oh, I might have said Don. Okay. All right.
CALLER: All right.
RUSH: No matter. He can’t hear much better than I can on these cell phones.
CALLER: My comment has to do with a disconnect between right and left on freedoms. And, first of all, I totally agree with what you and Mr. Koch are saying regarding our personal freedoms. We are losing our economic freedoms and our personal freedoms at a rapid pace and it has to be stopped. But the problem we face, in my opinion, is that the left views freedom differently.
They are viewing that the social freedoms that they think are important — such as gay marriage, abortion, pot smoking, that sort of thing — are expanding. So, for them, freedom is expanding. Our (more properly, stated, “conservatives”) economic freedom being lost is to their benefit because we’re funding their social-freedom expansion. My point is that we have to recover our economic freedom and make that point that our freedom is as important or more important than their social freedom.
RUSH: All right. Well, give me an illustration, if you will — and I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about. So give me an example of how we’re losing economic freedom. And then, part two (if you want to tackle it): Why, because the left wants gay marriage and abortion, are we losing economic freedom? What do the two have to do with each other?
CALLER: Well, first of all, I guess the fact that we’re losing our economic freedom. Every time taxes go up, every time regulations go up — every time a business can’t make a hiring decision because a government policy, law, or regulation — we’ve lost that freedom. We don’t have that freedom. So that’s a huge economic cost for the country. It’s reflected in slow economic growth, to the extent that there is any. I don’t know how else I can show that or illustrate that.
RUSH: Okay, no. That’s good. You can’t build a house where you want to without going through all kinds of hoops and Shinola. You’ve gotta get a regulation for this to do that. When taxes go up, you have less money. You gotta pay this person off; pay that person off. No, that’s a great explanation of how economic freedom has been taken over and limited by government. Now, do you want to tackle the second part? What does it have to do with the left?
CALLER: Well, first of all, I think it has to do with an electorate where a substantial number of people are not pulling the wagon. They’re in the wagon. By that, I mean, they’re getting from government welfare and things of that nature, and they are free to do those other things most of us don’t really care about. I’m specifically talking about pot smoking and I’ll just lump it into a category of expanded social freedoms.
By the way, with regard to abortion: Their freedom to commit abortion ends the freedom of the baby. So I think that’s a mixed sword, and I wish we could have that debate. My ultimate point is to the left… Look, regardless of how you or I might feel about it, Rush, I believe they are running on the gay marriage thing. Regardless of what we think about it. My argument to them is, “Okay, you’ve won your battle. Now our freedom is important to us.”
I remember one time a couple of years ago you made a very brilliant point about the freedom to smoke. You said you may not like smoking, but every time you limit the freedoms you don’t like, they’re gonna come after your freedom, too. And that’s what’s going on now. The left doesn’t like our economic freedom and they come after it. They’re taking it away, and they’re gonna kill the goose that laid the golden egg. My argument to them is, “No, this is gonna stop.”
RUSH: Well, but they don’t…
RUSH: No, wait. They don’t think they’re killing the golden goose ’cause to them that’s the government.
CALLER: That’s true. I agree with that. I agree.
RUSH: That’s the problem. The basic problem of the golden goose is not the private sector. The golden goose is where the private sector criminals live, and people need to be punished. Government — and good stewards of Big Government growing government, people who are gonna tax the rich and give everybody else the money — that’s the golden goose.
CALLER: Yep. I agree.
RUSH: I mentioned the other day I did an interview with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for the Limbaugh Letter, and it was a great interview. My favorite kind. I only had to ask 2-1/2 questions. He just launched. Guy is excellent. He said something really provocative about the left. He said, “Everything they want, everything they go to the mats for, everything they fight to the death on is related to sex.
“It’s you not judging them or telling them they can’t. Everything.” Now, he didn’t specifically explain what pot legalization would have to do with it but he was talking primarily about all the arguments we’re having over abortion and contraception, abortifacients, and making the Catholic Church pay for it. These people are sex-crazed fiends. (My words, not his.)
He said that everything is oriented toward the sex and not being judged by anybody for it. They are not interested in our freedoms. Like you say, John, “Okay, we’ve lost the gay marriage debate.” If we’ve lost it, then they’ve won it. Okay, so that’s the tradeoff. If we want economic freedom, lower taxes, they are still hell-bent on denying us whatever economic freedom we want.
Because if it doesn’t comport to what they want, we’re an enemy. There is no common ground. They don’t see any common ground — and there isn’t any, by the way. And there’s no desire to reach any. One of the big differences between us and them is we are perfectly willing, or have been, to coexist with ’em. They do not have any desire.
They are totally devoted, oriented toward eliminating and punishing severely anybody who disagrees, anybody who opposes. They’re living lives where they feel constantly in peril and threatened. There’s a reason for that, by the way, but I’m not gonna delve into with too much detail. It’s called “conscience.” Occasionally they have some, and they don’t want it. They don’t want to have conscience.
They don’t want to get pangs or attacks of it. They don’t want to think that it matters or exists. This manifests itself throughout all of politics. That’s why when I hear Republicans say, “We’ve got to across the aisle, and I’m the guy can do it. I’ll cross the aisle, work with Democrats, and show the government that it can work,” I cringe. They’re not interested in that.
That’s a sucker’s move, it’s a sucker’s bet, and they’re not interested in it at any level — politically, socially, what have you — on the left. But it’s interesting question. I mean, they want their total expansion of their social freedom, and what do we do? What are we told? We’re told, “Get the social issues out of our politics! It’s killing us.” Okay, fine.
So we’re supposed to get rid of any mention of abortion, otherwise we’ll lose elections. Just let ’em have it. We’re supposed to get rid of any mention gay marriage; let ’em have it. Any mention of it, just let ’em have it. “We gotta get rid of the social issues!” More and more Republicans think “the social issues” are killing the party. The problem is that the moral fiber of the country is evaporating.
Now we’re back to talking about, “How does one improve one’s life? How does one go about achieving a better life — a more meaningful, productive, full life.” We all only get one. Can you achieve a productive, meaningful, full life with no moral code in it? You can’t. No matter how hard you want to try, no matter what kind of utopia you imagine, you can’t. That’s one of the many battles that are underway.