Robert Lawson on Koch ‘n Cato

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From Skip Oliva:

I have a long-standing relationship with the Cato Institute. They have been partners on the publication of the EFW index since 1996. I have published a couple articles in the Cato Journal, and students of mine have interned there. On a personal level, I am pleased to call many current and former Cato staffers my friends.

I have also developed a relationship with the Charles Koch Foundation in the last few years, which helped fund my research at Auburn and now SMU. I have lectured for the Koch Associates program. Students of mine have worked for the Foundation. I recently shot two short videos with their assistance. On a personal level, I am pleased to call many current and former Koch staffers my friends.

So I am saddened by this whole thing on many levels. Like a lot of people, I wish this wasn’t happening. But it is. I don’t understand the animosity between the Kochs and Ed Crane, though I certainly understand the loyalty of the Cato folks to Ed Crane, who has championed liberty for so many decades. Personally, I don’t care who “wins” this battle though.

I am however worried about the damage being done to the libertarian movement, especially by the rhetoric on the part of the Cato supporters. They claim the “independence” of the Cato Institute is threatened by the Kochs. Do they not realize that each time they make this claim, they (a) INSULT friends at GMU, Mercatus, IHS, and hundreds of scholars elsewhere (like me) who have benefited from Koch Foundation assistance but who do not feel any loss of independence in their own research agendas?, and (b) provide fodder for the Left’s tired (and untrue) claim that we are all just corporate stooges?

Go ahead and defend your boss and your jobs if you must, but in doing so, don’t call into question my independence. (Thanks to David Gordon)

12:13 pm on March 22, 2012