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Koch network stands against Critical Race Theory bans

The libertarian network, a backer of a plethora of conservative causes, believes government bans stifle free debate

Updated: September 30, 2021 - 8:43am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Leaders inside the network of right-leaning organizations built up by the billionaire Koch family are saying they oppose government bans on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools despite not agreeing with what is being taught. 

Evan Feinberg, the executive director of Stand Together Foundation, a Koch-affiliated organization, said that "using government to ban ideas, even those we disagree with, is also counter to core American principles."

Government bans against the teaching of CRT have now been enacted in 11 states and discussion of further action continues to be a central tenet of Republican politics, especially as the 2022 midterm election draws nearer, according to the Associated Press

Last spring, Charlie Ruger, the vice president of philanthropy at the Charles Koch Foundation wrote a letter in The Chronicle of Higher Education arguing that the conservative push to ban CRT stifled free expression and debate. 

"Both learning and research require openness to new ideas and the ability to argue productively. That requires standing against censorship," Ruger wrote. 

The anti-government ban position is inline with the Koch network's libertarian bent – a political philosophy that supports small government, lower taxes, economic deregulation, free speech, academic freedom, and a conservative judiciary.

The Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute have contributed significant sums, mostly by way of grants, to various conservative organizations that are now fighting CRT in classrooms and supporting bans. Though, it is unclear that any of those dollars specifically went to the groups' efforts. 

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