by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
The quote in the New York Times appeared last Sunday in an article by Nicholas Confessore titled, “Quixotic ’80 Campaign Gave Birth to Kochs’ Powerful Network.” I received several congratulatory calls and emails.
The quote was, In September 1980, at a rally in Los Angeles, Mr. Crane and Charles Koch shared an elevator with Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, a libertarian activist, who overheard Charles Koch grumbling that his brother was dipping into his investments to pay for the effort.
“Charles was horrified that David had actually had to spend capital instead of just some of the interest on some of his money,” said Ms. Pillsbury-Foster, who became a critic of the brothers’ involvement in the libertarian movement.”
The last sentence was likely why no Libertarian called me with cheery best wishes. People who point out inconvenient truths are not popular. But there is more to be told.
The Libertarian Party had real potential as a political movement when it was founded. This ended with the nomination of David Koch as the Vice Presidential candidate at the Bonaventure Hotel in 1979.
Nixon's announcement of Wage and Price Controls, came on August 15th. David Nolan, the LP founder, had started Young Republicans for Goldwater at MIT. Conservatism was dead when the Goldwater Campaign ended.
Libertarianism could fill the niche. But what the Kochs wanted was not freedom, but to become a new generation of unregulated Robber Barons.
Then, and today, for the Kochs, it was all about profits, which they conceal behind the rhetoric of free enterprise. To accomplish this they wanted to own and control the Libertarian Party and, through the manipulations of Ed Crane, believed the sale was final.
But Roger MacBride, adopted great-grandson of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who produced Little House on the Prairie, did not agree. As the guardian and keeper of the Little House books, he understood why power must be local. Individual enterprise, accountability, and doing right to others were his values. Roger knew the Koch strategy lead not to freedom, but servitude.
Honorable people, Americans, once made choices facing the elements, turning their values into action with hard work, innovation, and courage.
When Roger campaigned as the LP candidate for president in 1976 he flew his own plane to events and spent his own money. He did so in support of the many Little House people, Americans, who then, and now, are hungry for freedom.