Kochland, a warning from history

THE NEW YORKER

Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reviews Christopher Leonard’s book Kochland, a chronicle of “the extraordinary behind-the-scenes influence that Charles and David Koch have exerted to cripple government action on climate change” in the United States and around the world.

I can’t talk about the book, I haven’t read its seven hundred pages. What I can do is accept what Mayer is saying about Leonard’s findings, and form an opinion, pass judgment, on the brother’s Koch.

I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say, by actively funding climate-change denial, the brother’s Koch put their interests and the profits of their companies above the lives of almost every other person on the planet. It’s a position, an arrogance, as unsettling as the “smoking gun” revelation surrounding ExxonMobil, reported earlier in the month by Oliver Milman of The Guardian. The Texas oil giant made “‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s” then systematically denied the science.

The idea anyone could or would deliberately cause harm, actively destroying life on the planet, is so far beyond my comprehension it’s hard for me to fathom.

Actually that’s not true. History is awash with examples of the self-interested, and their abilities to divorce actions from consequences. It’s the logic of faith. I believe in God. I am devout. Therefore everything I do is God’s will.

It’s how everyone from kings to terrorists, moguls to dictators, rationalise their actions.

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