1978 Charles Koch, the Second American Revolution, and “The Business Community: Resisting Regulation”

This essay by Charles Koch is part of a 1978 manifesto of articles called “Toward the Second American Revolution: Libertarian Strategies for Today,” funded by Charles Koch’s support for the Libertarian Review. Koch’s essay was titled, “The Business Community: Resisting Regulation.”

Other contributors to the call for a second American Revolution include close operatives of Koch who were part of the Cato Institute, which Koch had then recently launched and funded: Ed Crane, Leonard Liggio, Murray Rothbard, David Theroux, and Bill Evers. It also included Milton Mueller, who led the Koch-funded “Students for a Libertarian Society,” as noted in Brian Doherty’s book Radicals for Capitalism.

In his essay, Koch urges other CEOs not to “cooperate voluntarily” with government regulators: “instead, resist wherever and to whatever extent you legally can…in the name of justice….”

He claimed in the piece: “We have accepted the fallacious concept that the corporation has a broad ‘social responsibility’ beyond its duty to its shareholders. We have been made to feel ashamed of private ownership and profits, and have been hoodwinked into characterizing government regulation as ‘virtuous’ and in the ‘public interest.’ As a typical example, the Advertising Council, backed by most of the major U.S. corporations, goes so far as to describe regulation as, ‘the promotion of fair economic competition and the protection of public health and safety.’ What simple-minded nonsense!”

For additional context about this Koch essay, see UnKoch My Campus, “Donor Intent of the Koch Network: Leveraging Universities for Self-Interested Policy Change” (2018), and Lisa Graves’ article: “Like His Dad, Charles Koch Was a Bircher” (2014).