Duke is getting Koch money: That should worry you
We are only a couple of weeks removed from Silent Sam coming down in Chapel Hill; it has been just over a year since Duke University removed the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Duke Chapel’s entrance; and the University’s history department is currently working to rename the building where it’s housed, currently named after industrialist and white supremacist Julian Carr.
Yet, even as students, faculty, and community members in the Triangle work to rid our campuses and communities of the painful scourge of white supremacy, other industrialist donors are quietly advancing a radical anti-civil rights ideology that may cause future generations to feel the kind of shame that Silent Sam and Julian Carr induce in ours.
Duke has recently announced that it is accepting $5 million from the Charles Koch Foundation for the “Center for the History of Political Economy,” a center initially established with funding from Koch network donor and anti-public crusader Art Pope.
Earlier this year, UnKoch My Campus exposed a network of neo-confederate academics across the nation receiving over $14 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, including professors with ties to the white supremacist group League of the South. These academics are advancing a market-fundamentalist, anti-civil rights ideology that is also fueling the violent Alt-Right: the Austrian school of economics.
Despite its neutral-sounding name, Duke’s Center for the History of Political Economy is a stronghold for Austrian economics, a philosophy advocated perhaps most famously by Friedrich Hayek, who, among other things, argued for limiting democracy, who collaborated with the murderous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and who called people from Egypt and India “detestable” because they were “fundamentally dishonest.”
Accepting Koch money and influence at Duke is a dangerous step—and a slap in the face to anti-racist efforts and to the work of community activists, dedicated faculty and courageous students who have been working to build inclusive, democratic learning environment at Duke and in the Triangle.
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