One of the most poisonous figures in American politics, and modern American history (and thus world affairs, by extension), has passed. David Koch, one of the two infamous Koch Brothers, is dead at 79.
27 years ago, David Koch was diagnosed with cancer. He beat and held back the disease since then with what his brother, fellow conservative super donor Charles Koch, said was a combination of the best doctors and the best medical research, as well as raw stubbornness. Last year he retired from his role in managing Koch Industries, the chemical mega-giant corporation that David and Charles inherited ownership of in the early 80s, due to ill health.
The lionisation, or at minimal the glossing-over of this man's dangerous legacy by the press and such, is already beginning.
I certainly am not one for speaking ill of the dead for the sake of it. I absolutely am however one for pointing out the important and/or historical records that people leave behind. I am particularly one for demanding we learn the lessons of history, and don't forget those who damaged it.
What then can and should be said about David Koch? Well, he and his brother were (and his brother still remains) two of the richest, most powerful people in the world. At its last measure, Forbes had them both tied as the 11th richest people in the world. David Koch had a wealth of $44.2 billion when he died.
But why is David Koch reviled? Among the usual luxuries, the Koch Brothers have spent decades pouring a vast amount of fortune, somewhere over $1 billion, into the worst, most poisonous, most undemocratic political figures, movements, and ideas in modern American politics.
Specifically right wing American politics.
These two brothers have been at the forefront of the great tidal wave of massive, dark, corporate money in the US electoral system.
They are the very emblem of corruption in a people's government.
Money in Politics is synonymous with Koch.
Through campaign contributions to politicians and PACs, the setting up and operating of mega-influential think tanks, corporate lobbyist groups, and the funding of fake 'grassroots' movements like the Tea Party, as well as essential Alt-Right propaganda shows and institutions like Turning Points USA and others, Koch money is almost everywhere in US right-wing politics.
Take a look then at the state of US politics, right-wing politics in particular, and you'll get an understanding of why David Koch has left behind a legacy to be horrified at.
Trump, the Alt-Right in general, the battering and destruction of protections for and the bedrock policies of worker and working+middle class lives: none of these things could have come into existence and reach the strength they have without the funding and ceaseless efforts of the Koch Brothers.
But why did these two men take such an interest in funding, in encouraging and enabling the continuous radicalisation of the American right?
It's not because they're particularly bigoted, or fanatical about guns, or abortion, or inceldom, or the like. Though I'd take a strong guess they are probably vile to those not like them, whilst being extremely lovelg and generous to those in their 'us', in their circle.
No, they, like almost all political mega donors, particularly right-wing and corporate donors, did these things bbecause they're consumed wholey with greed, a love of wealth, an obsession with opulence, and general twistedness for others.
They ceaselessly crush anyone who gets in the way of the ever-growth of their mountains, and mountains, whordes and whordes, of wealth and fortune.
It needs no explaining here how the rich, for time immemorial, have weaponised the disgust & fears of the masses towards the poor and the 'other', to get those non-rich masses onside, and keep them distracted, as the rich rob those same, now duped people.
And the Koch Brothers lead the way in the modern application of this process.
Poor people don't like tax cuts for the rich. They hate them. So if you want to pass tax cuts for the rich, spend hundreds of millions of dollars on media networks that tell voters that brown people, other and even poorer people, women, gay people, members of other or no religions, etc, are to blame, and you can pass that tax cut under distraction.
That's who the Koch Brothers were and are. And that's what their legacy will remain. Now, it's true and right to mention that David Koch gave tens of millions (out of his billions) to charity in his time.
But what good is that, what recompense is that, when you spend billions to rob the people of their democracy absolutely, and get the people's now corrupted, back-pocketed officials to vote away the few institutions of government that protect and help ordinary people, crushing their lives, and as a result making trillions for you and the rest of the ultra-rich class, as a result?
I'm very sure that David Koch was an extremely lovely person to his own family, his own friends, his own probably wide circle of peers and associates. Or to those who benefited from the charity he sometimes did (I say sometimes because whilst several tens of millions is an unthinkably large amount for you or I, it's nothing for a $44.2 billionaire).
But he was an absolute monster to the rest of society, and along with his brother, as well as the other and remaining super-donors of politics, has been of the architects of the great crises of the world.
That, unfortunately, is the David Koch legacy that will live on.