The eXiled’s Mark Ames published a lengthy takedown over the weekend of the billionaire Koch brothers’ (who are also the primary financial backers of the Tea Party movement) efforts to create a true-believer libertarian media empire. Ames repeatedly slams the Koch-funded, LA-based magazine Reason, the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, as well as The Atlantic’s Meghan McArdle, who’s husband Peter Suderman works at Reason. But the main focus of Ames’ wrath is former Cato Institute fellow and recent Economist writer Will Wilkinson, who has spent his entire media career under the Koch umbrella, and the last two years since the economic collapse denying the existence of a growing American income inequality between the rich and poor.
Ames describes him thusly:
The biography of Will Wilkinson, like that of just about every member of the libertarian nomenklatura, is so caricatured, so totally devoid of surprises and curve-balls, that you almost have to admire how tightly controlled the Libertarian Assembly Line is–the only equivalent that comes to mind is the Soviet Union’s Communist Party vetting machine: from Young Pioneer to Komsomol to Communist Party member, they constantly vetted, tested and promoted the most useful shills, along with the elite’s children, to create a power-elite class that lasted 80 years, at the expense of the rest of the suffering country. As an example of just how robotic and predictable the libertarian nomenklatura is, and how similar they are to their old Commie counterparts, guess what thinker changed Will Wilkinson’s life? Actually, don’t try guessing: Ayn Rand, that’s the answer every time, just as Lenin was the answer every time in the Soviet Union.
Wilkinson isn’t exactly a consequential target in and of himself, but the piece is interesting in its analysis of the Koch brothers’ efforts to create a loyal corps of libertarian true believer journos.
As one commenter on The eXiled’s site put it, “If only I read Ayn Rand instead of Hunter Thompson, maybe I could have been a propagandist for the power elite too. Seems it pays better than well read malcontent.”