In which I try again to make a rather subtle point to Jonathan Adler:
Look: I agree that for Cato to be a Koch-owned and Koch-controlled entity is likely to destroy Cato as we have known it, and that would be a shame.
I am trying to make the narrower point: the defense of Crane and Cato as we have known it is something that is easy for a Burkean or a communitarian or a social democrat to make, but well-nigh impossible for a libertarian to make.
For example, as I understand Jonathan's argument, it is:
- For Cato to be a Koch-owned and Koch-controlled entity is likely to destroy Cato.
- That would be a shame.
- The shareholders' agreement is a valid contract.
- Libertarians respect valid contrasts.
- According to the shareholders' agreement, when the Niskanen estate is wound up his shares will be bought back by the other shareholders.
- That will make Cato a Koch-owned and a Koch-controlled entity.
- Therefore the only morally-sound use the Kochs can make of their property rights over the Cato Institute is for them to renounce them--or, if they retain ownership, at least grant seisin to Ed Crane.
"This is your property, and you can do what you want with it, but you really should give it all away" is not the most full-throated libertarian defense of private property as the essential foundation of ordered liberty that I can imagine...