Cartoon Villains

Apparently there is a vision of capitalism wherein not only are all species without an immediate market value are to be eradicated in the wild, but wherein society is not allowed to raise the last survivors in captivity. This principle is so paramount that it is perfectly okay to utterly distort the facts to achieve it.

Yet a proposal for a modest tax increase to fund the zoo’s programs has attracted the attention of Americans for Prosperity, a national group funded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s vote, residents received AFP mailers that warned of a “money grab” and a 105 percent levy on property taxes that hurts the elderly and disabled.

Their mailer says property taxes will go up 105 percent if the levy is approved. What the flier doesn’t say is that only the already existing zoo levy portion of property taxes will increase. Not the whole tax bill.

As the DailyKos piece says, “the Koch brothers might not be treated like cartoon villains if they didn’t effin’ act like cartoon villains“.


  1. Oh dear, I get to defend the Koch folk again, no-one else will. Your headline - cartoon villains - appears all too appropriate. How can you hope to defeat your enemies if you don't understand them? "society is not allowed to raise the last survivors in captivity" is wrong. They just don't want their tax money spent on it. For all I know they're lying to support their cause, but they aren't trying, as you suggest they are, to ban this; just de-fund it. And yes, there is a difference.

    I knew nothing about AfP until I saw their website, but I could have guessed. They're in favour of "Cutting taxes and government spending in order to halt the encroachment of government in the economic lives of citizens..." and so on. That's not what you want, but its what they want. How do you suggest reconciling these two viewpoints? Or rather, not reconciling, because they can't be, but coexisting in the same country? They get to have their say, you get to have yours. They've got lots of money so they can afford billboards and you can't; well, that's just life I suppose.

    [Pfft, I also posted this without logging in, please throw away that version.]

  2. They are lying, while I'm just spinning a bit. 🙂

    Yes, of course they are fine with private funds training zoologists and funding zoos, for commercial reasons or reasons of generosity. They simply don't think there's any collective obligation to maintain genetic stock. Which of course means in practice it won't be maintained.

  3. Somehow William's logic eludes me. In considering the argument, I have substituted some terms below.

    "The [marauding band of vandals] are in favour of "[raping our women, stealing our livestock and burning our village to the ground]..." and so on. That's not what you want, but its what they want. How do you suggest reconciling these two viewpoints? Or rather, not reconciling, because they can't be... They get to have their say, you get to have yours. They've got lots of [guns] and you [don't]; well, that's just life I suppose."

    One may exclaim "But we have Laws against rape, pillage, arson and shooting people!" But in an actual, you know, democracy where policy reflects the desires and aspirations of the bulk of the citizens, you might expect to have laws against destroying the biosphere that allows humanity to exist. Oh, wait ... we don't live in one of those, we live in an Oligarchy, run by the likes of the Kochs - who thoughtfully have done their best to tilt the playing field entirely in their own economic and ideological favor. See “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens", Gilens, et al.

  4. It's true we appoint surrogates to represent the forces that undermine our best efforts to bring a greater sense of reality to a point where action towards solutions is possible.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Connolley is insufficiently informed as to the history of the Kochs and also appears to have an understandable unfamiliarity with the process of decivilization that is happening across the pond.

    Here's a list of basic reading. One might be inclined to take a shortcut, since the senior Koch learned his trade exploiting Stalin and the family moved on the supporting the John Birch Society and helped fund the emergent Tea Party (who were unaware that they were being manipulated). Their evildoing is neither overstated nor is it trivial. Jane Mayer at The New Yorker pulled together some first-rate investigative reporting.

    Not a day passes when commercial TV does not include an effective advertisement bankrolled by the Kochs in almost every state in the US, and we are in danger of losing the Senate partly because of their efforts.

    Their power and will to selfish cannot be overstated.

    The graphic here is even shorter:
    (mt: it might be worth appending it to the article.)

    Here the reading guide on the billionaire Koch brothers.

  5. Not just the pond at issue; I suspect just living in Cambridgeshire is enough to promote an illusion of a dramatically better ordered world than is actually, unfortunately, the case.

    William is delightful company, and in addition to being smart and critical is a kind and decent soul as well. Admittedly he comes across as rather severe and difficult online sometimes, but that is a useful role.

    I would like to dissuade him from taking contemporary economics seriously as a guide to our problems - he's really my ideal target audience for that - but it's hard to know where to start.

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