MUNCIE, Indiana – The Holidays are a great time to catch up on unfinished articles and clean up emails from the last quarter. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the Ball State campus is quiet as a church mouse since all the kids are back home with families waiting to see what Santa Claus brings them this year. Last-minute shoppers (procrastinators) are cramming the shopping centers, and McGalliard Avenue looks more like a parking lot than a four-lane highway.
As everything begins to shut down for the Holiday upon us, it’s also an excellent time to catch up on ‘favorited articles’ gone unnoticed. One of these articles referenced a Notre Dame professor and the Indiana Policy Review (a libertarian think-tank funded by the Koch brothers). I couldn’t wait to read the connection between the Catholic university and the shills bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers to support their greedy free-market goals. What could they possibly have in common?
The second article was about Pope Francis, who slammed his Vatican Curia this week for suffering from 15 ailments. The Curia is mainly the central administration bureaucrats who run the over one billion-strong Catholic Church. The Associated Press was kind enough to translate the ailments to English which can be found here. Here is the first appropriate ailment when I think of our Indiana Policy Review professor from Notre Dame:
Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.
Unfortunately for John Gaski, an associate business professor at Notre Dame and adjunct scholar for Indiana Policy Review, I first read the Pope’s article. Too bad John didn’t read it instead of writing an article for Indiana newspapers slamming liberals for “messing up the country,” for which he and other Catholics, traditional men, libertarians, or billionaire greedy bastards now have to fix. We’re not sure who he was implying when he said, “We are having to fix up the mess” made by liberals, or more precisely:
Or is this exasperating issue just another manifestation of how the liberal mentality, so typically self-contradictory, is driving this country crazy by inciting irrational, perverse, and downright silly public policies? The perversion, in this case, is to transmogrify the separation doctrine beyond its original meaning. The afore-described conceptual convolution exemplifies a familiar result of liberal policy-making, along with necessitated efforts to disentangle its unintended consequences (per the doctrine of the same name), that is, cleaning up after liberalism’s mess. Such has been this nation’s unfortunate task for decades, even in the religious realm now.
It might need a second or third read to find out what John means since he heavily used his Thesaurus in slamming liberals who he perceives as pushing too hard to separate church and state. We might actually agree with him if we knew what he meant, but the hundred-dollar words caused our heads to hurt.
Had he been more humble, he might have found fault with overzealous Hoosier governors who impose their religious beliefs on others in our state, like Governor Mike Pence leaning on his Evangelical Christian background to take a hard stance against same-sex marriages. These hard-line stances were reversed because they were deemed unconstitutional.
Lucky for John, the Pope already spotted and corrected his ailments when he referred to his “funereal face” (somber, glum, woeful, sad, dreary, or cheerless):
Having a ‘funereal face.’ “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”
Or, in being “boastful”:
Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”
Or, in being “indispensable”:
Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”
As you can see, John should be looking toward the leader of his spiritual organization for guidance instead of relying on his intellectual powers to cast judgment against others he sees as inferior to him. It’s even more ‘sin-ister’ when the Kochs are paying John to share this opinion in Hoosier newspapers. His Catholic upbringing should have taught him more about the message of Christ – “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
We don’t personally know John, but we know Indiana Policy Review (IPR), for which he is a member. IPR is part of the statewide network of libertarian free-market “think tanks” funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, who inherited their fortunes from their father, who made billions in the coal industry. They use their money to buy influence and spread misinformation to the masses through the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, and George Mason’s Mercatus Center. They use the CEO-member ALEC to promote right-wing state policies (bill mills) with republican state legislators across the country. Indiana politics is influenced heavily by these right-wing organizations.
Arthur Laffer writes about Governor Pence’s upcoming tax reform proposal, another paid shill of the Koch brothers employed by ALEC. He’s the founder of the Laffer Curve or supply-side economics, called “Trickle Down” economics – cut taxes on the wealthiest groups, and it will make all of society better off. The problem is we have 40 years of proof it doesn’t work. It made the rich richer and the poor poorer.
So, while John is employed to teach business at Notre Dame, he is also paid by the Koch brothers to write articles for Indiana newspapers. Jesus said, “Man cannot serve two masters.” We can’t serve a higher power like God while serving a lower power like money – greed drives the Kochs to influence politics to favor profit over people and our environment. If you want to know who is fighting the EPA regulations against the dirty coal industry, look no further than Charles and David Koch. When Hoosier politicians open their mouths to speak against President Obama and the EPA, they are being paid by the Kochs to take this stance – Senator Dan Coats and Rep. Luke Messer are infamous Koch puppets.
Had John been formally taught in the Christianity he now defends, he’d fully understand the lesson Pope Francis was teaching about sin or spiritual sickness. He would also know that signing on to work for Indiana Policy Review while working at Notre Dame would create a moral dilemma, or the ailment Pope Francis calls “existential schizophrenia”:
Suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”
Take heed in the wisdom of Jesus – you cannot serve two masters. Indiana Policy Review and Notre Dame are an oxymoron – they don’t work together in the same sentence, John Gaski. Abandon the clamors of material wealth and ego, focus on your true pastoral mission as a witness to the corruption, and hold the lower powers accountable.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.