Friday, September 30, 2011

What To Do With A Republican Businessmen's Donation?

Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J.
According to Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J., Catholic social teaching takes the position of a market framed by justice and not the free market the Austrian economists propose. There are also specific conflicts, he said, between Catholic social teaching and the Austrian view of government, unions, taxations, human life and the place of Christianity in the public sector. Kammer said he also found problems in the Austrian economics master's program's funding. He said he believes Loyola would make a mistake by letting the Koch Foundation, the charitable organization derived from Koch Industries, donate such a large sum of money for the master's program. Koch Industries is one of the largest private companies in the United States and owns operations such as pipelines and chemical refineries. It would be a mistake, Kammer said, because of the Koch brothers' controversial political values, which often conflict with the values of Catholic social teaching.
The Koch Foundation would donate a large portion of the $9 million endowment to fund the program, according to the program's proposal. D'Amico said that the College of Business already accepts money from the Koch Foundation to fund the Economics Club.
Link (here) to read the full article at The Maroon of Loyola New Orleans


Sawyer said...

I bet Fr. Fred Kammer approves of President Obama and the Democrat Party. What to do with a Jesuit's ramblings? Ignore them.

TonyD said...

They should take the money. And they should teach Austrian economics.

Austrian economics reflects a value system. That value system can be made explicit in the curriculum – without accepting or rejecting it. Free will is important, and knowledge can inform free will. Justice is not the only consideration. There are many competing values, with many competing means, and with many competing ends.

We are responsible for our decisions. Teaching Austrian economics is akin to teaching about good and evil. Becoming someone who aware of the trade-offs he chooses can be beneficial.

There is no one I’d rather see teach Austrian economics than a Jesuit institution.

Anonymous said...

As someone with more than a passing connection to Loyola New Orleans, I can say that I'd be a bit more sympathetic to Fr. Kammer's views if Austrian economics was the only area that departed from Catholic orthodoxy (if it even really departs from Catholic orthodoxy).

What about this gem, from a course catalog on

PHIL U254 Postmodernism and Feminism 3 crs. - Masculinity and femininity are no longer accepted as fixed positions within ontologies mapped out by man’s objectifying look. Postmodernist deconstruction of traditional engendered representations discloses the exchangeability of genders and thus works toward a liberation of the "engendered subject" in the multitudinous affinities between beings.

Here's another course that I'm sure is faithful to Catholic social teaching:

SOCI A255 The Sociology of Sexualities 3 crs. - This course will examine the social construction of sexuality, sexual identities, and the influence of society on sexuality, including societal attempts at regulating sexuality and the ways gender influences sexual attitudes and behaviors. Particular attention will be given to the emergence of queer identities, politics, and activism. Finally, the course will critically interrogate heterosexism, homophobia, compulsory heterosexuality, and sexual commodification and globalization.

This doesn't even begin to address the general lack of regard for Catholic social teaching as it relates to students on campus.

And perhaps Fr. Kammer has a point, even if it is only to question whether receiving funds from the Koch brothers is prudent. Of course, if associations with controversial political people and groups were important to Loyola, one might rightly ask why they send people to internships (and for medical visits) at Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous said...

The Kochs support the destruction of the environment, the buying of politicians, and the dismantling of the middle class. You should relieve them of their dollars and teach social justice. Sawyer, you are a moron.

Anonymous said...

There is something strange with donors specifying the detailed curriculum of the university. A chair or program in Economics, or in Finance would be fine. It is akin to someone giving a donation to a Medical School for the study of using leaches or bleeding for treatment of infection. Yes, like Austrian economics, interesting phenomena, but hardly worth investment much time or effort of one's education. As I say to many other colleages (I am a professor of Economics), if Thomas Aquinas were alive, he would be the last one proposing to teaching Thomistic philosophy. Disciplines move on. I think universities make serious mistakes when they let donors have an influence on their curriculum.

TonyD said...

Anonymous 12:02,

Ultimately, Catholic orthodoxy is objective, not subjective.

It is from that perspective that I would disagree that those courses you mention depart from orthodoxy.

Just as Catholics defer to the Pope, the Pope defers to God.

I am not saying that – as taught – those courses conform to God’s preferences. I strongly suspect that any Jesuit teaching Austrian economics would emphasize all the wrong values and misunderstand the trade-offs, just as I strongly suspect that the courses you mentioned misconstrue – or fail to represent - God’s values.

I found Jesuit instructors to be the same as non-Jesuit instructors (except in the Religious Studies and Philosophy classes.) In hindsight, they left their Priesthood at the door as they adopted Business and Scientific value systems. So most priests, like most of us, are only capable of subjective orthodoxy – however good their intentions. Objective orthodoxy is a gift – through the grace of God.