“Limits on free speech is uniquely troubling for the future health of a free society,” wrote Ray Nothstine in an Acton Commentary. “Students become accustomed to having their rights limited, and will be more lethargic in countering possible oppression from a growing and intrusive state.”

Nothstine wrote those words in 2008 — and they’ve proven to be distressingly prophetic. Every year for the past decade limitations on speech by students has been increasing, leading an entire generation to assume such restriction are to be expected.

Fortunately, this country’s founding generation did not take the limitations of their freedoms so lightly. But what if  our constitution had been written like campus speech codes?

 

Luis Hernandez traveled to Acton University from Mexico City, where he works as a pastoral coordinator for Anáhuac Sur University. He is responsible for managing projects and spiritual activities to help both the university students and the surrounding community. He also holds a degree in Industrial Engineering, and frequently travels throughout Mexico helping communities build churches. He was excited to attend Acton University to learn about “ways that communities can take control of their own development.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, July 1, 2016
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A Christian Speaks Up for Capitalism
James D. Gwartney, FEE

In this August 1986 essay, “A Christian Speaks Up for Capitalism,” Jim points out that “capitalism does not force individuals to worship ‘the almighty dollar.’ A person is as free to be an ascetic Christian as to be a hedonist.”

Where Have All The Free Traders Gone?
David Harsanyi, The Federalist

Few Republicans pushed back against Donald Trump’s litany of absurdities regarding international trade. Democrats were no better.

How Government Helps White Criminals
Learn Liberty

In an attempt to help black people and ex-convicts land jobs, policymakers have increased the employment prospects of white ex-convicts.

6 Problems With the Senate’s Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill
Daren Bakst, The Daily Signal

Senate agriculture leaders have come up with misguided legislation that would mandate labels for genetically engineered food (GMO).

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

“Having a heart for the poor isn’t hard. Having a mind for the poor…that’s the challenge.” –Poverty, Inc.

This quote from the documentary Poverty, Inc. highlights the reason why so many people are willing to give their money to foreign aid, without necessarily understanding its harmful effects.  This quote can also shed some light on the recent embrace of socialism by many millennials.

When young people look at the rate of poverty in the U.S. and see that we are not doing as well as  some other developed countries, it is easy for them to place this blame on what they believe is “capitalism.”  If capitalism has caused the U.S. to experience this poverty then it logically follows that people today, especially millennials, would embrace socialism instead of capitalism.

Given that I am a millennial myself, this makes sense to me.  It’s clear that we care about these causes and that we are willing to give our time and money.  That’s the easy part.  We have a heart for the poor. The challenge is having a mind for the poor. (more…)

Pinheiro (3)

Pinheiro lectures at Acton University.

In an Acton University lecture titled “Religious Freedom: The Dawn of the First Amendment,” John Pinheiro sought to give a fuller understanding of the meaning of the First Amendment through its historical context. Contrary to a current widespread belief, religious freedom has not always been valued in the United States and has been almost constantly threatened, even after the ratification of the Constitution.  Pinheiro described the Founders’ fight for religious liberty as both radical and counter-cultural because of the religious conflict and disdain for true religious freedom that existed throughout the history of the United States and continues today.

The historical context of the First Amendment starts with the history of the colonies and the political thought of the time period.  Many of the colonists came to North America seeking freedom from religious persecution and state established churches, most notably the Puritans leaving to escape the Church of England.

At the same time, Enlightenment thinking was developing and gaining acceptance.  The emergence of a belief that religion is opposed to reason and something that humanity will, and should, outgrow meant that it was less consequential which religion people practiced. Toleration of other religions, in that way grew out of a belief that none of them held the final truth, so none was above the other. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, June 30, 2016
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all-in-bastiat“It’s all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me,
what do they teach them at these schools!”
– Digory Kirke in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle

The way Professor Kirk feels about Plato is how I feel about Frederick Bastiat. Whenever I hear someone repeating an economic fallacy online I have a tendency to cry out, “It’s all in Bastiat, all in Bastiat: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!”

Unfortunately, Bastiat, whose 215th birthday is today, is not often taught in schools, whether in high school or college. That’s a shame for he was one of the greatest political and economic thinkers of the 19th century. Bastiat, a farmer turned politician and pamphleteer, had a inimitable gift for explaining economic and political concepts in way that make them not only understandable but seem downright commonsensical.

Bastiat, as Charles Kaupke notes, drew on his Catholic faith and the writings of Adam Smith and John Locke to articulate a vision of limited, efficient government that respects each citizen’s God-given dignity. And as Religion and Liberty adds,

He typified that rare breed of liberal who holds a deep and powerful belief in a personal and transcendent God, and who incorporates this belief in a wide ranging social philosophy centering on the proposition that when left alone society will most clearly display the wisdom and intent of the Creator.

A particular concept of Bastiat’s that has profoundly influenced my thinking is the idea that God arranged the social world. “I believe that He Who arranged the material world,” wrote Bastiat, “was not to remain foreign to the arrangements of the social world.” I wholeheartedly agree. That is why I never tire of arguing about how God created such economic phenomena as the price system and comparative advantage in order to coordinate human flourishing.

There are dozens of ideas in his writings like this one that are worthy of close attention, but here are four particularly important concepts of Bastiat’s that you should know:
(more…)

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Erhard, Ludwig Ludwig Erhard, 1962. UPI—Bettmann/Corbis

While some may find Socialism inviting on the surface, history tells us that it leads to “chaos.” Research Director for Acton Institute, Samuel Gregg, wrote a recent piece for The Stream in which he reveals the reality behind an ideology now gaining popularity. Gregg explains how we can learn both from West Germany’s mistakes and fruitful embrace of free markets.

Amid the havoc wreaked by National Socialism during WWII, there survived a small group of German economists who propelled a vision contrary to Hitler’s socialism. This group included Wilhelm Röpke, Walter Eucken and Franz Böhm. Thanks to the influence of their writings, Ludwig Erhard (“appointed director of economics in 1948 for the zones administered by America and Britain”) championed a “stable currency and free prices.” Nazi holds on economy in West Germany collapsed, and as a result, Germany continues to reap the benefits today. (more…)