1983-1984 David Koch: the “Most Radical and Extreme Positions” Viable Are from the Clark/Koch 1980 Platform

This document is a collection of correspondence between David Koch and the Libertarian Party between 1983 and 1984. In one particular exchange with David Bergland, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 1984, Koch objects to the Party urging that Libertarian ideas be adopted immediately versus phased in, asserting:

“The effect of the hard core Libertarian approach in my opinion will result in a tremendous reduction in financial support, a great fall-off in media coverage and publicity, and a major loss of support by many responsible people in this country who are beginning to be stimulated by our ideas.”

Koch also wrote: “I think that the most radical and extreme positions that are possible for the Libertarian Presidential candidate to advocate at this time and still be taken seriously are those approximately what we put forth by Ed Clark and myself during our campaign in 1980.”

Koch asserted that he felt “advocating instantaneous implementation of the Libertarian platform” was “totally unrealistic” and told Bergland that, if he did so, “I predict the electorate will see you as irresponsible, a radical, and will not take you seriously.”

Koch also writes in his letter to Bergland that:

  • “If you choose to take positions similar to those Clark and I advocated then I will support you and the party financially. However, if you choose to be more extreme, then I will have to disassociate myself in every way from your endeavor. I do not choose to be seen as ridiculous and impractically radical.”
  • “Please consider carefully before deciding what course you will follow. As you know, I have spent millions of dollars over many years supporting the Libertarian movement. If you choose hard line strategy it will be a very severe and demoralizing blow to me.”

In a separate correspondence from Bill Evers, National Campaign Manager for the Libertarian Party, to David Koch, Evers offers to send Koch advance copies of Bergland campaign literature. He also notes Koch’s support for local Libertarian Party campaigns stating:

“I’m writing to thank you again for your assistance to the Cassandra Moore campaign–assistance which I have kept private within libertarian circles. As I recall, you do not wish to be known as a donor to local races.”