Elsewhere online
June 06, 2016

Charles Koch’s Giving for Research Fuels Academic Debate

Charles Koch has donated more than $200 million to colleges and universities and plans to accelerate such giving in the coming years, The Washington Post writes in an article examining the billionaire industrialist’s funding of academic research, thinkers who have shaped his approach, and the controversy over his intentions.

The Charles Koch Foundation has underwritten policy institutes and professorships devoted to the study of free enterprise, in line with his libertarian philosophy of free markets and limited government regulation. In an interview with the Post, Mr. Koch said his giving is fueled by a commitment to academic freedom and a “republic of science” built on evidence-based scholarship. Critics contend he is aiming to lay a long-term intellectual foundation for policies that advance his political goals and help his business, Koch Industries.

Of the charge that he is endeavoring to bend academic study to his own benefit, Mr. Koch said, “The opposite is true.” His critics are “the ones campaigning to un-Koch our campuses and stuff,” he added, citing the motto of a national activist effort targeting his giving. “We’re not saying, ‘Un-Marxist our campuses.’ Fine, bring it all on. Let a hundred flowers bloom.”