The battle over control of the Cato Institute may not be the kind of story that inflames a lot of passions, but the implications of a Koch brothers are serious enough that it should be.
Cato has specifically accused the Koch brothers of a partisan agenda in the shareholder suit. With Cato’s more devout libertarian positions it becomes clearer why the Koch brothers would want to change the direction of the think tank.
For instance, right now several Cato scholars are opposed to a rush to war with Iran even as Republicans loudly beat that war drum. As Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava report, these independent voices at Cato serve a crucial function in our public policy dialogue, and this is especially true when dealing with issues of war and peace.
If partisans like the Koch brothers take control of Cato then the true libertarian voice of the right will likely evaporate. Cato scholarship is usually antiwar, pro civil liberties and anti-drug war. These positions often find common ground with progressives and result in sound bi-partisan compromise.
It’s the latest in an ongoing battle for control of the American political system. The Koch brothers have worked to systematically install governors in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, pour millions of dark money in the electoral process and now take control of one of the intellectual flagships by the right.