Evening News Reads: David H. Koch asks…What does it mean to be human?Posted: April 30, 2012
Tonight’s post is going to focus on something I came across while planning my family’s summer vacation in Washington, DC. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the Smithsonian has an exhibit bought and paid for by one half the Tea Party Darlings…The Koch Brothers…David H. Koch.
Yes…the same man who brought…or should I say bought, you Scott Walker!
The same man who has inspired so many post over at Think Progress.
Half of the team of brothers that we have written about here on Sky Dancing.
Feast your eyes on the National Museum of Natural History’s Exhibit on Human Evolution and Climate Change…
David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins: What does it mean to be human?
From the Koch Family Foundation website:
Education & Science
Mr. Koch supports science-related projects including funding of the long-running PBS documentary series, “Nova,” and a science and technology center at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. As the national sponsor of The Bill of Rights Institute’s 2009-2010 high school essay contest, Mr. Koch’s philanthropy helps educate young people about the words and ideas of the nation’s founders. Winners of the “Being An American” contest were honored at a gala held in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Koch’s $15 million gift to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., created the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins that opened spring 2010. The 15,000-square-foot exhibit offers visitors an immersive and interactive museum experience. In 2006, he made a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.
A passionate believer in free societies, Mr. Koch has funded research and education programs that analyze how freedom creates prosperity and advances social progress. He serves on the boards of the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation and Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
Notice the Americans for Prosperity Foundation does not have a link attached to it…well here it is.
Anyway, can you grasp the irony? This is the man who is part of the Dynamic Duo behind the Tea Party and all they stand for…KOCH INFLUENCE BEYOND THE POLITICAL ARENA
David and Charles Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, have donated their money to organizations beyond the political arena. In fact, Koch Industries has donated millions of dollars to non-profit, as well as for profit, organizations and museums.
In a profile by Gary Weiss for portfolio.com, David Koch explained why he donated $100 million to renovate the aging State Theater in Manhattan, home to both the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet. Koch explained that not only could he afford to give, but he attends that theater more than any other theater in the world. Koch is quoted as saying, “I love the whole aspect of it—gorgeous music, fabulous sets…. And, of course, there are beautiful girls.”
The reasons why they donate to these companies are not always quite so apparent as the ballet’s “beautiful girls.”. Weiss suggests that the Kochs’ philanthropy is being used to balance the scales against their ardent politics.
Those politics are deeply rooted in the free market system. Koch explained to Weiss, Taking David Koch at his word suggests that he and his brother are giving because it’s the right thing to do; however, they also donate because it also allows them to further their own political agenda.
Several examples illustrate this point.
Yes, take a gander at those examples…here’s a couple of paragraphs about the Smithsonian exhibit I am focusing on now:
…Koch-sponsored group called Americans for Prosperity. a huge supporter of the Tea Party Movement since its inception.
Koch has also donated money to the arts and museums. He has supported renovations of the Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater building, the dinosaur wing of the American Museum of Natural History, and the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural.
Koch donated $15 million to the Smithsonian to help to create an exhibit on human evolution. The exhibit hall is titled The David H. Koch Hall of Human Evolution. Paleoanthropologist Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program and curator of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, has come under criticism for accepting Koch money.
When questioned about it, Potts called Koch a “philanthropist who is deeply interested in science…. our donors have no control over the content of our science or scholarship of our exhibits. And the same is true in this case. We feel very grateful for David Koch’s contributions to helping, I hope, the American public and us being able to bring science to them.”
Dr. Joseph Romm, editor of Climate Progress and a Senior Fellow at the American Progress, has criticized Potts’ “greenwashing,” noting that the Smithsonian downplays or ignores the risks posed by human-caused climate change in a number of exhibits.
“The exhibit’s main theme is that extreme climate change in the past made humans very adaptable, an interesting theory based on limited data and lots of speculation,” Romm writes at his website. “But its huge flaw is that it it leaves visitors with the distinct impression that human-caused global warming is no big deal — even though our understanding of the grave threat posed by that warming is based on far, far more research and data.”
Romm asserts that Koch has spent over $48.5 million since 1997 to fund the anti-science disinformation machine, calling Koch “an even bigger funder of disinformation on climate science than Exxon Mobil” in an attempt to derail climate change policy.
There apparently was a big stink back a few years ago, folks got wind of the Smithsonian Hall of being “Human and began to write about it, as these series of articles from Think Progress points out. Please note that many of these are from 2010, and some are in PDF formats. (Also since I was in such a hurry to get this post up, I will list these articles in groups.) Anyway, check these out:
For more articles that refer to the questionable funding of the Smithsonian Exhibit, again from 2010:
As for the other kinds of philanthropic activities of the Koch Brothers:
Here is an article in response to the Mayer piece above: Jonathan Chait On The Shameless David Koch, America’s Whiniest Billionaire. | The New Republic
And yet another one: The Long Tentacles of The “Koch-topus” | NationofChange
Now this Nation of Change article mentions a PBS editorial which you can find here: PBS | Ombudsman | Trust but Verify
And then…you have this from Andrew Goldman (so you know where this one is going to go): How Oil Heir and New York Arts Patron David Koch Became the Tea Party’s Wallet — New York Magazine
Koch also funded the Dinosaur wing as well, which also makes for some interesting conversation..but for now, I look forward to seeing this exhibit on Evolution and Climate Change bought by the Koch Agenda moneybags…I wonder, if any of these display’s have a dickless Adam…without Eve…or any mention of neanderthals on the ark…or that the earth is only 6,000 years old…hmmm, or dinosaurs with saddles on them…
What do you think?