The Political is Personal: Authoritarianism and Sadism Are Learned At Home – Jeffrey Rubin


In this presentation I will explore from a psychoanalytic perspective the political philosophy of Charles Koch, who runs Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in America and is at the ideological and economic center of a five-decades long clandestine campaign for “limited government” designed to dismantle the state and remake society in his own undemocratic image. Koch admitted his goal was to “tear government out ‘at the root’”. Koch and his cohorts in this stealth crusade against democracy have striven to drastically deregulate business and environmental protections, hold wages, disempower unions, pollute, dictate political issues, and curtail social services for the disadvantaged. I will attempt to demonstrate that Koch’s philosophy and his political agenda to dismantle the state emerge directly from his traumatic experience with devoted albeit absentee parents, an authoritarian and sadistic father, and a fervid Nazi-sympathizing nanny who touted Hitler’s virtues. Decimating the state made Charles feel as if he was no longer endangered or held hostage to the dictates of other people and that might give him a shot at the liberty he prized above all else and a life of his own. The emotional trauma of his upbring that he never faced or integrated he enacted upon the world. Those who are unaware of their past repeat it, as the Koch brothers tragically illustrate.

Short bio:

Jeffrey B. Rubin Ph. D practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy and teaches meditation in New York City and North Salem, New York. He is considered one of the leading integrators of the Western psychotherapeutic and eastern meditative traditions. Dr. Rubin is the author of the new Meditative Psychotherapy ebook and the previous critically acclaimed books, The Art of Flourishing, Psychotherapy and Buddhism, The Good Life and A Psychoanalysis for Our Time. He lectures around the country and has given workshops at the United Nations, the Esalen Institute, the Open Center and the 92nd Street Y. A blogger for Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Rewireme, and Elephant Journal, & The New York Times Magazine. For more information, visit