Charles Koch, Gary North, Libertarianism & Holocaust Denial
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 08:28:13 PM EST
Journalist Mark Ames has an important story -- about the roots of much of modern libertarianism in Holocaust denial -- adding a further disturbing dimension to the neo-confederate movement of our time.

His article appears on nsfwcorp, a magazine that sometimes temporarily drops its pay wall on selected stories to show us what we are all missing. (And if Ames's piece is any indication, those of us who don't subscribe are missing a lot.  At this writing, the story is available for free for another 19 hours.)  

Ames traces the ideology of Charles Koch and his "libertarian empire" (seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) to "the rise of the Holocaust denial industry."  Using the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Holocaust Denial Timeline as a guide, Ames shows how Koch funded and led elements of this industry as a young man, in much the way he underwrote and created the government shutdown industry of today.  Among the notable figures with roots in the Koch-funded Holocaust denial industry are economists Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, as well as Christian theocratic theorist and Ron Paul business partner & political adviser, Gary North.

The Holocaust Museum timeline states:    
1966-67: American historian Harry Elmer Barnes publishes articles in the Libertarian periodical Rampart Journal claiming that the Allies overstated the extent of Nazi atrocities in order to justify a war of aggression against the Axis powers.

Ames explains:

The real story behind "the Libertarian periodical Rampart Journal" which published this notable work of Holocaust denial garbage is that the journal was funded and published with the active involvement of a younger Charles Koch. As my print article "Charles Koch's Brain" reveals, in 1964, Charles Koch joined the board of trustees and became a director of the nonprofit which funded Rampart Journal, along with Rampart College and Freedom School, the corporate-backed libertarian indoctrination programs run by Charles Koch's first mentor, Robert LeFevre.

Koch was "converted" to libertarianism in LeFevre's indoctrination camp, originally named "Freedom School," in 1964. It was under LeFevre's influence that Charles cut short his planned career in the nuclear energy sector, and returned to MIT to get a chemical engineering degree (supplanting his original degree in nuclear engineering) so that he could enter the oil business instead. As a 1965 New York Times profile on LeFevre's whites-only Freedom School reported:


Charles de Ganahl Koch of Wichita returned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a degree in chemical engineering after "realizing that staying in the nuclear field would require working for the government over an extended period"...

The 1966 Rampart College promotional booklet features a photo of young Charles Koch holding a shovel ceremonially breaking ground on a planned new Rampart extension building, as his white-haired guru Robert LeFevre stands beside him, smiling. Under Koch's influence and funding, LeFevre started publishing reams of what libertarians call "historical revisionism"--a euphemism for Holocaust denial propaganda--which the Holocaust Museum notes on its timeline.

Ames reports that Gary North emerges as much more of a Holocaust doubter, if not outright denier than has been previously known outside of the far right of the libertarian world.  In a special issue of Reason magazine in 1976 (it too, a Koch funded, Holocaust industry promoting entity) North contributed an article titled  "World War II Revisionism and Vietnam" in which he wrote.

the anonymous author of "The Myth of the Six Million" has presented a solid case against the Establishment's favorite horror story--the supposed moral justification of our entry into the War.

Ames adds that

North went on to cite other Holocaust denial books of the '60s and '70s, including "Did Six Million Really Die" by Richard Harwood, and notorious Holocaust denier Paul Rassinier.

That the new Ron Paul home-school curriculum is co-authored by a Holocaust history revising theocratic theorist in Gary North and a neo-confederate author and a co-founder of the League of the South, Thomas Woods, tells us much about the nature of the anti-government movement Ron Paul has been seeking to forge. Same with Charles Koch. All of which is, I believe, profoundly under-appreciated in our public life.

Murray Rothbard wrote a glowing obituary for Harry Elmer Barnes when he died, describing him as the "the father and the catalyst for all of World War II revisionism."  

This stew of neo-Confederate, Christian Reconstructionist, John Birch Society, and Mises Institute ideology, is like a magnet for many searching for an alternative to the militarism and corporatism of the U.S.  But embracing this camp is like jumping from the frying pan to the fire.  It's a vehicle that the Kochs brothers (tied for 4th richest Americans) and others use to cut off real activism at the knees, and to redirect populist anger to scapegoating and conspiracy theories.

Note that the Koch brothers founded Citizens for a Sound Economy in 1984 and its first chairman was Ron Paul.

CSE first posted a "Tea Party" website in 2002 and later divided into FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 10:13:08 AM EST

Chris Hedges has a really excellent article on TruthDig, which I know you'll want to read if you haven't already.  It ties in very well with this article and especially with the linked Mark Ames article. nd_the_war_on_government_20131006

It's called "The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government" and it begins this way:

"There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on "biblical law," and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and "Christian" America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social "deviants," beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these "deviants" are removed, other "deviants," including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as "nominal Christians"--meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible--will also be ruthlessly repressed."

The one group of "deviants" Chris Hedges doesn't list as members of the Christian right's enemies list are the Jews, although they are implied by the categories of "liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists."

The common denominator between both articles is Senator Ted Cruz, who is inevitably the focus of a lot of attention right now.  According to Chris Hedges:

"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz--whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry--and legions of the senator's wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism."

By providing the information about the little-known Koch/North/Holocaust denial connection, it's as the though the Mark Ames article fills the gap and closes the circle.

by Raksha on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 03:53:37 AM EST

Holocaust revisionism and Libertarianism.

First, true Libertarian philosophy includes social libertarianism which Republicans and Reconstructionists don't adhere to.

Second, while some Libertarians might be Holocaust deniers most of them are not, Koch brothers and their heritage notwithstanding.

by Villabolo on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 09:45:51 PM EST
While I don't know exactly what pecentage of Libetarians are Holocaust deniers, I have recently been doing some parallel research. I started with some fairly obscure blogs that showed racist tendencies and following up their embedded links.  Sooner or later, these links always led me to a Gary North article, if not to something much worse--a hardcore anti-Semitic and/or racist Confederate hate site, usually with theocratic agenda as well.

This article pretty much confirmed what I've been learning on my own.  I wasn't aware that Gary North was a Holocaust denier until I read this, but he is anything but a social libertarian.  His Christian Reconstructionist agenda is well known, and he writes often for Libertarian websites like the Lew Rockwell site.  While you personally might not be a Holocaust denier, many of the self-described Libertarians I have met both in real life and online have been--just too many to be a coincidence.

by Raksha on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 12:54:47 AM EST

It would be interesting to read your research and findings.

by James Estrada Scaminaci on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:22:43 PM EST

stated or implied.  But history matters. And where people, ideas and movements come from also matters.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 03:11:07 AM EST

Am I getting them mixed up?
Ramparts was a rather liberal Catholic mag of the '60s and'70s as i recall. Rampart seems to be another animal entirely.  anyone here remember Ramparts?

by rdrjames on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 11:55:09 PM EST

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:38:34 PM EST

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