The Times I Met David Koch

WALTER OLSON, CATO INSTITUTE

People ask if I crossed paths with philanthropist David Koch, whose death is being mourned today, and the answer is yes.

When I resolved to sample New York City’s high culture in my thirties on a modest salary, I went to performances of the popular-priced City Opera in its Lincoln Center home, the David Koch Theater. It gave me joy.

Years later, when I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to pursue cancer treatment, the first building I saw after I parked my car was the giant David Koch Cancer Research Pavilion. It gave me hope.

And everywhere I went in the liberty movement over forty years, where there was a good cause, David Koch seemed to be somewhere in the background giving support, whether it was economic liberty, peace between nations, free trade, freedom to marry, or free speech. It gave me inspiration.

His death leaves the world poorer.


Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. His books include The Rule of Lawyers, on mass litigation, The Excuse Factory, on lawsuits in the workplace, and most recently Schools for Misrule, on the state of the law schools. His first book, The Litigation Explosion, was one of the most widely discussed general-audience books on law of its time. It led the Washington Post to dub him “intellectual guru of tort reform.” He blogs at Overlawyered.com.


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