Ch. 2: Academic White Supremacy
Part 2: The People
Charles Koch Funds Mises Institute Scholars
In a 2017 interview, the Mises Institute’s media officer Tho Bishop boasted:
We’re the one libertarian think tank out there that doesn’t take money from the Kochs. You see that constantly play out, . . .‘oh all these things are just to push some Koch agenda.’ Well again, we’re not funded by a single billionaire, though we will take your money (Tho Bishop interview, July 2017).
Bishop is correct that there have not been direct contributions from the Charles Koch Foundation to the Mises Institute, excluding the possibility of anonymous funding from the Kochs through their anonymous pass-through, DonorsTrust. Between 2004 and 2016, the Mises Institute counts nearly a dozen donations totaling $43,100 from DonorsTrust.
Several Mises Institute board members are frequent attendees of Koch’s donor summits, including Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Bob Luddy.
Kochs’ Faculty Connection
Mises scholars do take money from the Kochs, in alarming amounts.
At least twenty faculty members listed as Mises Institute “faculty,” either “senior fellows” or “associated scholars,” directly received or administered academic funding from the Charles Koch Foundation since 2005.
The amount of CKF financial support is considerable. Only counting donations where a Mises scholar is the direct recipient, or “Principal Investigator,” the Koch foundation has provided at least $12,469,679 to campus programs run by ten Mises scholars between 2005 and 2016. Mises scholars currently direct three of Koch’s multi-million dollar free-market campus centers.
The Koch foundation has spent $14,603,755 on programs run by, or supporting, nineteen Mises scholars on fifteen campuses between 2005-16.
The above figure is an underestimate of the Koch funding supporting Mises scholars. It does not account for campuses with Mises Institute scholars whose direct CKF funding could not be confirmed or estimated, due to a lack of publicly-available information.
This figure omits any CKF funding to George Mason University, as such a large sum (over $100 million) would skew the data. Several of the founders of the Mises Institute and League of the South were students, faculty, or fellows at George Mason or the Institute for Humane Studies, and many contributors to Mises Institute publications are GMU faculty and students (see more below).
It is worth noting that nearly all of these campuses are trending upwards as of 2016. On average, Koch payments to these campuses went up $150,090 from 2015 to 2016.
APEE’s Mises Scholars
While many Mises scholars are directly funded by the Koch foundation, At least thirteen are also active members of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE), Koch’s free-market academic association, including several past APEE presidents and officers. APEE’s central role in the Koch foundation’s academic network: establishing free market centers, mentoring students, and generating weaponizable research, was most recently revealed in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
For example, Bruce Benson, Koch funded economist, former APEE president, and Mises scholar, presented at the Mises Institute’s conference on “Secession, State, and Economy,” alongside the director and founding member of the LOS Insitute, Clyde Wilson, as well as LOS faculty member Thomas DiLorenzo.
In 2003, on Lew Rockwell’s website LewRockwell.com, Bruce Benson and (anti-civil rights economist) Walter Block described how they helped bridge the worlds of APEE and the Mises Institute. Both professors have run multi-year Koch funded programs at their universities.
Other Mises scholars include officers of APEE and its Journal of Private Enterprise, including past presidents* such as Benjamin Powell*, Edward Stringham*, Bruce Benson*, Peter Calcagno, and Alexandre Padilla. Others Mises Institute scholars are APEE members, conference presenters, and award honorees (see table).
Thomas DiLorenzo, League of the South and Mises Institute scholar, won APEE’s 1991 Distinguished Scholar Award. His book,The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, is still listed on APEE’s recommended books by past award winners. Other recipients of APEE honors include white nationalist Charles Murray. Murray is a consistent presenter at Charles Koch’s donor seminars (as recently as 2017), and is cited twice in Charles Koch’s book, the Science of Success (see more below).
[In Part 3 of this chapter, we examine how The Charles Koch foundation's campus programs are serving to train and recruit the next generation of radical anarcho-capitalists, with the help of the Mises Institute.]