In Depth

Instant Opinion: David Koch’s ‘sad legacy’ of ‘death and destruction’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 27 August

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Alex Kotch in The Guardian

on the demise of a fear-mongering anarcho-capitalist

Death and destruction: this is David Koch's sad legacy

“It is this cruel mindset that was the real cancer plaguing David Koch. It wouldn’t kill him, but it would spread itself into university curricula, the halls of Congress, regulatory agencies, and the White House. It possessed the unfathomably rich who came before him, and it will infect the opulent oligarchs who come after him. It is the cult of anarcho-capitalism, the faithful worship of the divine free market that has shined so brightly on Koch and his family. If only we could do away with government altogether, we’d become a true utopian society: a handful of corporate monarchs ruling over billions of wretched serfs who toil away until their deaths, faithfully adding zeros to the quarterly revenues of the select few at their own fatal expense.”

2. Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph

on the US president’s faltering approval ratings

Donald Trump needs to act more like a populist if he wants to win again

“Some populists, like the pundit Ann Coulter, now accuse the president of treachery, arguing that mass migration helps the rich and hurts the poor. Some suggest that, for populism to work, it needs to tinker with American capitalism itself. Among those daring to think the unthinkable are tech genius Peter Thiel, Fox host Tucker Carlson, writer JD Vance and Senator Josh Hawley. The senator recently wrote that elite choices and obsession with GDP growth are killing the country, that the opioid epidemic is a cry of ‘loneliness and despair’. Few of these names started out as Trump supporters; several changed their politics in recognition that he understood Middle America better than they did. Most now talk of going beyond the president and, by implication, doing Trumpism better than Trump.”

3. David Brooks in the New York Times

on the blanket surveillance of Hong Kong protesters

The one united struggle for freedom

“Of course, the technology helps the Chinese government too. Years ago, we lived under the illusion that the nimble and decentralized swarms of New Power geeks would be more technologically savvy than the clunky, Old Power hierarchies. That’s not true. China’s Communist government seems to be more technologically advanced than the protesters. There’s a sense the government has the ability to surveil everything. Protesters spend enormous energy trying to go unseen. They don’t use their normal subway cards for fear the state will be able to track their movements. Some protesters have been doxxed, with their private information and photos of their children splashed online. There’s no pro-democracy graffiti in Hong Kong, no posters or T-shirts, no day-to-day sign that anything is happening. When they are not rallying, the protesters evaporate because even the light poles have eyes.”

4. Colin Freeman in The Spectator

on the urban gentrification of millennial buds

How did my children become more middle class than me?

“But inevitably, yes, some of the capital’s culinary habits have rubbed off on me. That caramelised red onion houmous is quite nice, isn’t it? Rocket and ciabatta with a burger, rather than lettuce and a stodgy white roll? Ooh, go on then. The problem is that we pass on those acquired food tastes to our children, and what I see as trendy indulgences, they see as normal. And they are not inhibited about letting the world know. Hence those toe-curling moments — usually in a greasy spoon, non-gastro pub or other blue-collar setting — when they demand their right to organic tomatoes and almond-milk babyccinos. Through the tofu-munching mouths of babes, we are denounced as the bourgeois creatures we really are. If Chairman Mao were alive, he’d be using this system for his Cultural Revolution, despatching offenders like me for re-education at some McDonald’s in Teesside.”

5. Maung Zarni in Al Jazeera

on the endless plight of the Rohingya

Inaction on China and India's crimes emboldens Myanmar

“While these steps are a welcome development, the so-called ‘international community’ continues to fail to protect the rights of the Rohingya and provide them with safety and dignified living conditions. Those who remain in Myanmar continue to be confined to camps and face effectively an apartheid regime which refuses to grant them their rights as citizens. Those in refugee camps in Bangladesh and elsewhere still live in horrendous conditions and continue to face the threat of forced repatriation. The international community has also failed to take the necessary measures to punish and isolate the Myanmar regime for its atrocities. Except for a few travel bans and limited sanctions, there has been no serious action against those in power in Naypyidaw. Increasingly, one of the main causes of this lack of action has been the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment across the world.”

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