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April 03, 2014 10:04 AM More From the Poor Little Rich Boys

By Ed Kilgore

I’m beginning to think the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page should be renamed the “Floating Pity Party for Plutocracy.” Today Charles Koch avails himself of this not-very-public utility to whine once again about his persecution by “collectivists,” who have forced him, his brother, and his company into becoming “engage[d] in the political process,” as he delicately puts the massive investment of hundreds of millions of dollars (per cycle, and at least) in a vast and deceitful web of organizations designed to create a regime friendly to his remarkably self-interested view of good government.

I bear no personal animus towards the Very Rich, but what I can’t abide is the sort of self-righteousness in which the Kochs seem to specialize.

[T]he fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles.

Really? They have no choice? Is the enormous power the Kochs exert every day over the lives of their employees and over the communities their enterprises affect so painfully inadequate? Do they really have so high an esteem for their own virtue that they believe they earned their wealth and status, that they are morally superior to their political opponents, that the engorgement of their economic empire is co-extensive with the very cause of human freedom?

I suppose we “collectivists” should be grateful that the Kochs vouchsave us a peek behind the veil now and then and remind us of the petulant rage they bring to the task of resisting any public policies that diminish their power. Knowing we “collectively” frustrate them in some small way is gratifying.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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