Home Depot mogul Ken Langone has warned New York’s Cardinal Dolan that rich donors might be reluctant to provide the $180 million needed to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral if the Pope keeps saying mean things about capitalism. “You get more with honey than with vinegar,” Langone told Dolan.
Langone says he’s trying to explain “the vast difference between the pope’s experience in Argentina and how we are in America. … Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country.”
That last idea has become the standard right-wing talking point about the Pope: his limited experience makes him ignorant about economics. Arthur Brooks of the conservative American Enterprise Institute says: “In places like Argentina, what they call free enterprise is a combination of socialism and crony capitalism.” And that’s almost word-for-word what Paul Ryan said:
The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.
I wonder how that spin technique would work for liberals. Catholic women could try to explain how the Pope’s opinions on birth control and abortion are invalid because of “the vast difference between the pope’s experience as a man, and how we are” as women. Why didn’t anybody think of that before?
Of course, if you read Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium (I did), you’ll see there is nothing Argentina-centered about his economic analysis, which is about capitalism itself, not crony capitalism. Francis’ economic thought is right in the middle of a Catholic tradition that goes back to the 1890s and has been re-affirmed by every pope since — Italians, Germans, and Poles alike. It fits the U.S. like a glove.
Lent is a good time for sacrificing. Let us deny ourselves something every day to help others.
|—||Pope Francis, March 5, 2014, via Twitter (via popequotes)|