Democratic rainmaker and columnist James Carville on Tuesday penned a column for the insidery political paper The Hill. The article attacked Florida State University and its ties to libertarian sugar daddies the Koch Brothers.
Fair point, though the timing was unfortunate -- not the greatest day to attack FSU. On Thursday, the university was rocked with a horrific library shooting.
After throwing off some customary graphs about football and Jameis Winston, Carville's shortish column zeros in on its meat: the school's economic department and the conflicts of interest between the tenure of certain libertarian professors and funding from the Kochs. In particular, he highlights the reporting of David Levinthal at the Center for Public Integrity.
Levinthal obtained an internal memo from Florida State's economics department written by Department Chairman Bruce Benson. Benson, a self-described "libertarian anarchist," was required to stay on for three more years as department chairman if the Koch Foundation was going to donate. He notes in the memo that he had told his wife he was going to step down.
They allowed the Koch brothers to buy off the economics department. Let me quote Benson directly: as the internal memo states, "As we all know, there are no free lunches. Everything comes with costs. In the case, the money for faculty lines and graduate students is coming from a group of funding organizations with strong libertarian views. These organizations have an explicit agenda. They want to expose students to what they believe are vital concepts about the benefits of the market and the dangers of the government failure, and they want to support and mentor students who share their views."
Here is where Benson really gets to his point: "Therefore, they are trying to convince us to hire faculty who will provide that exposure and mentoring. If we are not willing to hire such faculty, they are not willing to fund us."
Carville's point is that the school is basically whoring out to the agenda of certain donors.
Carville and The Hill couldn't have seen the shooting coming, but they might at least have amended the piece or thrown some kind of addendum rather than seem tone-deaf to the shooting.
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