Jul 31, 2016

Charles Koch’s Vision for a Brighter Future

Post by Derek Yale

Colorado Springs, CO – Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce is hosting its biannual Network donor meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel this weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. This weekend’s theme is “A Brighter Future: Reversing America’s Decline, Opening Opportunity for All.”

Charles Koch welcomed guests, including more than 100 first-time attendees, on Saturday evening by laying out his vision for a path to a brighter future in a free and open society. Below is the transcript of his remarks as delivered.

I want to welcome all of you. Thank you for being here. As you know, our goal on this seminar is to bring a brighter future to everyone. And I mean that – to everyone.

But we’ve got to recognize that we have an uphill battle. It flies in the face of the situation in America today. When I think of how to describe that, I can’t think of a better way than the opening lines in The Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

What we see throughout the country is the majority of Americans are focused on the worst of times. That’s why there’s a deep concern throughout the country. What they’re focused on is an increasingly stagnant, two-tiered society, with the rich and politically connected doing well and most everybody else stuck down below.

To me, it’s no wonder that people have lost their optimism, that they’re frustrated and disillusioned. I think in large part that’s because many of the key institutions in our society are failing. That’s just not government – government’s a big part of it – but there are much bigger failings that are driving that: failings in education, failings in communities, failings in business.

So people are looking for answers. Unfortunately, by and large, they’re looking in the wrong places. They’re looking to politicians. To me, the answers they’re getting are frightening, because, these answers will make matters worse. As we’ve seen, with some of these solutions, it would not just make them a little worse, but much worse.

What this seminar is about is offering Americans a different path – a path to a brighter future, a path to the best of times that we all hope for.

Our way of doing that – our goal – is to unite people from all walks of life, to work for what we call a free and open society. A society of opportunity, of free speech, free exchange, and what we call permissionless innovation, rather than getting permission to bring on life-enhancing improvements. This would be a society where people succeed not by rigging the system, but by helping others improve their lives.

I believe we can bring about a better society than anybody ever thought possible.

This is the focus of the seminar. I recognize, reluctantly, that politics needs to be a part of this strategy. But we have to keep in mind – it’s just one piece. If we just focus on politics, we’re going to continue to lose, we’re going to continue to deteriorate.

It would be great if politicians were supporting us in these efforts, and a few are. But, by and large, they aren’t. The good news is that we have built this network for just such a condition. That puts us in a position to make progress in spite of the current political situation, where, in some cases, we don’t really have good options.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this will be easy, or instant pudding, as the saying goes. We’ve got to remember the test isn’t in the pudding; the test of the pudding is in the eating. We want to have good eating here, so we’ve got to deal with a lot of issues.

To deal with them, we’re going to need to match the size of the challenge with equal amounts of courage and commitment. I put courage first for good reason, because it takes courage to take some of these problems on. But I also believe that, together, we can bring about a brighter future for all Americans.

This is a long journey. I thank you all for being with us on it. Let’s make our time together count. Thank you all, and have a great evening.