Most criticism of the Koch Brothers comes from hyperventilating leftists or hyperpartisan Democrats. Now, we hear some from principled libertarians, concerned that they want to change the focus of one of the nation’s premiere think tanks:
Now, billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are among the institute’s four equal shareholders, are trying to gain full control and remove [Cato President Ed] Crane, for reasons they have not spelled out publicly.
Crane says their goal is to turn it into “yet another political arm of their vast empire.” If so, they will be turning gold into straw. Cato’s value is precisely that it’s not a political entity but an idea factory, where the goal is sound research and intelligent advocacy on important issues. It’s hard for me to imagine that getting rid of Crane, who has steadfastly upheld its mission, will be for the good.
Emphasis added. Cato is a first-rate idea factory, an institution which owes its strength in large part to its independence from the political “wars” of the nation’s capital. Its experts offer sound and principled analysis of public policy, showing how statist solutions tend not to solve social and economic problems, but exaggerate them.
There are a number of free-market advocacy organizations out there, a good number which have grown with the emergence of the Tea Party. Let Cato be Cato. And let other organizations to do the advocacy work that this successful think tank shuns.