The Outstater

October 13, 2021

Indiana’s Equity Commissar Gets Paid

IT IS PAINFUL to follow the public discussion but somebody has to do it. I can tell you that it is devoid of what most of us would recognize as common sense, let alone that necessary to continue a democratic republic. 

Gov. Eric Holcomb, an always ready example of the haplessly shallow, was defending his decision this week on how to fund the office of the state’s office of equity, inclusion and opportunity, the creation of which he lists as a historic achievement.

A Texas firm reportedly put up $1 million to cover the five-person office and its initial programming. Holcomb’s spokesperson told an approving Indianapolis Star that the cabinet-level seat was created through the extraordinary action of an executive order because of the “importance and urgency of the work.”

The governor’s office cited the Indiana Constitution, which plainly states that all of its prohibitions and requirements are suspended in the event he declares an issue important or urgent.

Just kidding . . . back to the quality of the discussion.

Obviously, one can understand in a limited tactical sense why in a time when corporations are being punished for not being sufficiently anti-racist that a corporation would want to fund a state’s anti-racist commissar. But the “critics” of Holcomb’s action — no conservatives having been consulted — confine themselves to finely shaved ethical points.

Indiana University’s Paul Helmke, a former mayor of Fort Wayne and the deadest ear you will find in Republican politics, told the Star that he cannot recall this ever happening, the assumption being that if Helmke had heard of it happening then it might be okay.

And even if he personally hasn’t heard of it happening, Helmke assures us that everyone involved is “well-intentioned,” citing the Indiana Constitution’s disclaimer that all of its prohibitions and requirements are suspended if everyone is well-intentioned.

Just kidding again.

Finally, Jill Long-Thompson, a former Indiana congresswoman who wrote a book on government ethics and is the deadest ear you will find in Democrat politics, thinks it is a dangerous precedent — but not for reasons you might think. Long-Thompson, missing the point entirely, wants to use taxpayer money because it is such a good idea.

So are we foolish to wish that somewhere it could be recognized that a Republican governor is defending nascent fascism, a form of socialism? 

Both Mussolini and Lenin established state-driven economic models that incorporated market-based mechanisms into government programs. Lenin’s politics are recognized as the first modern-day version of fascism and state-corporatism.

This definition has been swept down the memory hole. Dictionaries now refer to fascism exclusively by its supposed “right-wing” element, actually just the cronies and inside dealers forever present in government systems of all types.

And yes, the distinction may be asking too much of a Republican administration that frets over the political incorrectness of the state name and imagines that 7th-century Afghan cultural norms can be melded into Hoosier society. — tcl


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