Image, or reputation, is considered to be a primary component of identity as defined by others and based either on a person’s past and current actions or misperceptions due to a person’s avoidance of public exposure. Many individuals carefully cultivate their public image to preserve a reputation as a respected social entity or in the event they feel that social evaluation portrays them in an incorrect light based what they consider to be faulty criteria. Image is known to be a highly efficient mechanism of social control in society and its influence can either limit or enhance a person’s ability to be competitive in a variety of settings whether it is in business, interpersonal relationships, or to exert control over a population through political influence.
Despite their inordinate control over Republicans in Congress, theocrats, teabaggers, state legislatures, and the entire conservative movement, most Americans really had little, if any, knowledge or opinion about the Koch brothers due to their careful behind the scenes machinations while avoiding public exposure. However, as their sphere of influence and political activities were revealed to the population, the overriding image of the Kochs was one of wealthy industrialists with no regard for the American people, the environment, or democracy they yearn to transform into a loose confederation of theocrats and oligarchs under their control. Since the Kochs’ sole interest, like Christian Dominionists, is absolute control over America, Charles Koch took action to control the image Americans have of him and his brother and penned an op/ed extolling his virtuous 50-year attempt at giving Americans back their freedom he claims African American President Barack Obama has stolen. Like his Republican underlings he resorted to abject lies, misinformation, and propaganda to portray himself as America’s salvation.
Charles Koch’s part “woe is me” and part “I am a god” piece in the Republican Wall Street Journal on Wednesday titled, “Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society” was, by any stretch of the imagination, sheer self-promotion based on one part pure lies and one part un-American libertarian ideology. Koch’s word for democratic government is “collectivism” and he claims collectivists stand for controlling people’s lives and instead of encouraging free and open debate they discredit, intimidate, and engage in character assassination; something he claims he is a daily target of; today will be no different. Charles Koch’s character is steeped in sheer greed, wanton lust for power and control, pathological self-righteousness, and compulsive delusions of grandeur borne of a pathetic overestimation of his self-worth due to wealth; he is the archetype of inherited riches and a prototypical John Bircher. He is also a rank liar and that is not character assassination or up for free and open debate because it is fact.
According to Koch, he, and he alone, understands the principles that enable people to improve their lives and said the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law, and personal freedom are under attack by the government. That is why he, Charles Koch, fights to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans; something he claims to have fought valiantly to restore for more than 50 years. Koch said, “A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value,” and that “any government should fail that disrespects its citizens” he asserted is the “central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration representing the essence of big government and collectivism.”
Charles Koch’s attempt to improve his public image by claiming he is a champion of greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans would be laughable if it were not so pathetically false. Last July Charles launched a campaign to abolish the minimum wage and opposes raising the poverty level wages because according to him workers earning more per hour would drive them deeper into poverty. He also tasked his foundation to produce a commercial telling Americans earning below the federal poverty line to stop complaining because they are part of the richest one-percent in the third world. Koch also funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and State Policy Network that have made robbing public sector workers’ pensions a primary funding source for greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations. The Kochs are also avid supporters of Republican efforts to privatize public schools, Medicare, Social Security, and eviscerate anti-poverty programs for Americans stuck in poverty level jobs. That is not championing greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, it is creating a nation of peasants that is part and parcel of Koch’s vision for America.
The concept of Kochs promoting equality before the law and personal freedom belies their financial and political support for religious right groups abridging women’s personal freedom to choose their own reproductive health and for gays to marry the person they love. Koch organizations wrote amicus briefs in support of Hobby Lobby’s “religious freedom to subjugate women and gays” case the Koch’s SCOTUS acolytes Thomas and Scalia will aid in the eroding “equality before the law” Charles claims Americans should thank him for. Through their legislative arm ALEC, the Kochs have precipitated Republican voting rights restrictions in GOP-controlled states, as well as directing Thomas and Scalia to aid in the conservative ruling striking down the Voting Rights Act last year. There are myriad examples of Kochs’ rampage to restrict 99% of Americans’ personal freedoms, equality before the law, and opportunity for economic success, but this is not a multi-volume tome.
Poor Charles Koch complained that no-one even tries to understand his vision or accurately report the facts about the Kochs. He bemoaned critics who would have Americans believe the brothers are “un-American,” trying to “rig the system,” against “environmental protection,” and eager to “end workplace safety standards” and said the EPA praised the Kochs as “models for their commitment to a cleaner environment.” The Kochs are responsible for heavily funding Republicans gutting environmental regulations and neutering the EPA’s ability to regulate the dirty energy industry, and they have spent hundreds-of-millions of daddy’s inheritance demeaning climate scientists’ and abolishing environmental regulations in states across America.
Charles Koch’s image as a wealthy, greedy, power-hungry liar, and anti-American corporate fascist is well-deserved and his self-promoting “woe is me, I am god” piece only proved that every collectivist armed with reams and reams of publicly-available assertions are not guilty of character assassination, but of doing something the Koch brothers are incapable of; telling the truth. It is highly likely that even dyed-in-the-wool conservatives reading Charles Koch’s mini-screed in the Republican Wall Street Journal likely choked on Koch’s claims, and winced that he wrote “America destroys value and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty and hopelessness” because that is what Koch’s Republicans have wrought on Americans to advance the Koch’s John Birch vision for America. As Koch himself said, he is “dedicated to fighting for that vision” and if he really wants a “free and open debate” with a collectivist who will “discredit, intimidate, and engage in character assassination” then he can suit up with his John Bircher manifesto and be eviscerated by any collectivist armed with five years’ worth of public records proving both Charles and David Koch are un-American lying fascists and this nation’s greatest enemies.