Kamola, Wilson Interview – Podcast December 20, 2021

Should The Free Speech Rights Of Corporations Outweigh Those Of Citizens? In our upside-down culture, money now equals free speech and corporations are people. And, according to our guests, those beliefs are becoming increasingly apparent in our universities and colleges.

In their new book, Free Speech And Koch Money – Manufacturing A Campus Culture War, authors Isaac Kamola and Ralph Wilson examine the Charles Koch libertarian apparatus and its growing influence on campuses throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Kamola says, “Essentially their apparatus is trying to conflate individual liberty with corporate liberties. And to build a large popular movement for individual liberty that they can then convert into political change that affects corporate liberty…in order to do that there has to be a little covert activity. It can’t be direct.”

The Koch-led rightwing campus movement stems from Koch’s belief that his political donations and direct political activity weren’t as effective as he wanted them to be. So, he and his likeminded friends put together a plan to integrate those activities with their philanthropy. Kamola says Koch’s goal is to create a very large, coherent, and efficient political machine.

To a large extent, Koch and his friends have created a culture war to advance their goals by referencing the so-called “cancel culture” and decrying the lack of free speech when college students have protested rightwing speakers.

It begs the question: What constitutes free speech? What are the limits? What if the free speech consists of false and misleading information sponsored by corporate interests?

Wilson believes, “Campuses should not be judged just by the principles of free speech.” He says, “Campuses are places that produce knowledge. And so, to say that campuses are supposed to be open to all ideas, for example, is an overly simplified model…”

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