Holding court at a very exclusive ocean front resort in Southern California last weekend, King Charles Koch made his royal proclamation to his princes, nobles and vassals of the Great American Billionaire Class:

History demonstrates that when the American people get motivated by an issue of justice that they believe is just, extraordinary things can be accomplished. Look at the American Revolution, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement. All of these struck a moral chord with the American people. They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.”

Charles and David Koch have the audacity to compare themselves to Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas, and Susan B. Anthony by spending almost $900 million of their own money in order to buy the 2016 election? The Koch Brothers either think the American people are incredibly stupid across the board, or they’re so delusional that they really believe their own B.S.

The name of the conference was “Unleashing Our Free Society.” Posters for the event featured a quote from Ken Yontz, a Koch disciple and member of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce:

We all want a level playing field, which is necessary for keeping the American Dream alive and attainable for everyone. This is what the Kochs are fighting for. This is why I stand with them.

According to the Kochs’ logic, everything that is wrong with society today – poverty, income inequality and all the problems that stem from these issues – is due to the effects of “Big Government” and too many regulations. There’s a problem, however. Most Americans aren’t buying it, anymore.

This was the main focus of the conference. Charles Koch is still just rational enough to realize that throwing money into elections and trying to buy politicians and legislation isn’t enough to accomplish the elites’ agenda. He acknowledged that:

If we cannot unite the majority of Americans behind the vision, then we’re done for…that, to me, has to be our number one objective….we’ve got to do  a much better job of understanding what matters most to people and then to demonstrate that a free society gives them the best opportunity of achieving that.

A “free society”?  What do you mean, Your Majesty? Are you referring to a society in which capitalism is allowed to operate with absolutely no constraints, in which corporations are given more rights than natural human beings and are permitted to purchase the government of their choosing? Is your vision one of a society in which the wealthy and powerful control the Commons and the 99% must rely on the largesse and charity of Your Royal Highness, his nobles and the aristocracy? Are you thinking of a society in which a poor man can be sent to prison for years for stealing twenty dollars while a rich Wall Street executive steals billions and simply walks away, laughing all the way to the bank, which the taxpayers had to bail out?

Guess what, Chuckie? We’ve tried it your way. For thirty-five long years, we’ve lived under a hyper-capitalist corporate system that operates with few restraints. Not only has it failed miserably (except for you and your kind), it is now threatening our very existence as a species.

Koch says that in order to convince the American public of the “righteousness” of their “cause,” they’re going to have to “raise [their] efforts to the next level.” Well, good luck on that. Based on current polls and the way Bernie Sanders – a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist – has been gathering huge support in such a relatively short time, one suspects that no matter how you package your message, the American People aren’t going to buy it.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.