Commentary: Living in the Shadow of the Fiscal Cliff

Jordan Ballor looks at the bipartisan lack of discipline in Washington on debt and spending, and the effect on future generations. “Christians, whose citizenship is ultimately not of this world and whose identity and perspective must likewise be eternal and transcendent, should not let our viewpoints be determined by the tyranny of the short-term,” he writes. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Sacrifice and Self-Interest

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I take a look at the relationship between sacrifice and self-interest. One of the common complaints against market economies is that they foster selfishness. But as Paul Heyne points out, it is crucially important to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness: “Many of the most eminent and sophisticated theorists in the economics profession make no effort to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness or between rational behavior and greedy behavior.” The failure to make such a distinction leads to some pretty strange conclusions about the motivations behind human behavior. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: The LBJ Curse on the Black Vote

Because it is right, because it is wise, and because, for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty … Lyndon B. Johnson’s Special Message to Congress, March 16, 1964 Anthony Bradley, commenting on the preference black voters showed for President Obama, points out that Lyndon Baines Johnson’s War on Poverty policies “introduced perverse incentives against saving money, starting businesses, getting married, and they discouraged fathers from being physically and emotionally present for their children — resulting in generational welfare dependence — black voters are lured to choose dependence over liberation.” The full text of his essay follows.  Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Desiccated Christianity

“When Christian institutions attempt to mitigate or compromise this understanding of their mission–often as the result of the political pressure–they morph into shadowy versions of their former selves,” writes Rev. Robert A. Continue Reading...

Sixpence to the Good (of Government)

This week I wrote about the dignity of paying taxes (among other ways of contributing to social flourishing). But as we know, not all taxes are created equal. Indeed, as Antony Davies and James Harrigan write this week at US News, “Politicians are in the business of buying votes with tax breaks and sweetheart deals for their preferred constituencies, and they have to offset these deals by taxing disfavored constituencies at increased rates. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Representation without Taxation?

“No taxation without representation” was a slogan taken up and popularized by this nation’s Founders, and this idea became an important animating principle of the American Revolution. But this was also an era where landowners had the primary responsibilities in civic life; theirs was the land that was taxed and so theirs too should be the rights to vote and be represented. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Vincent de Paul, Welfare Statist?

Historical church figures are being recruited for partisan political purposes, which means it must be election season. In this week’s commentary (published October 10), Acton Research Fellow Kevin E. Schmiesing looks at the case one HuffPo writer makes for St. Continue Reading...