The self-defeating nature of sin taxes

Rev. Ben Johnson, senior editor at the Acton Institute, wrote a new article for CapX warning bishops of the dangers of encouraging sin taxes. Recently in Poland, a letter written by bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski was read aloud in many Catholic churches, stating that the “state has a ‘responsibility’ to pass laws limiting alcohol’s ‘physical and economic availability,’ and to back them up with ‘ruthless enforcement.'” Johnson, however, asks bishops to take a look at historical records regarding sin taxes and reconsider their stance, explaining how past and present sin taxes have resulted in a burgeoning black market. Continue Reading...

Pope Francis’s attack on ‘libertarian individualism’ not about libertarians

The following essay appeared Friday, May 5, 2017, at Crux. In a recent message by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Social Science he outlines some moral concerns about a phenomenon he sees as invading (his term) “high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools,” namely “libertarian individualism.” On the first day of my philosophy classes, the professor admonished us that if we want to have an intelligent discussion or debate, we must begin by defining our terms. Continue Reading...

Don’t let culture define religious liberty

When a fashion designer recently called for an industry boycott of Melania Trump due to her political beliefs, plenty of progressives called it brave and principled. Yet when Christian wedding photographers express their own disagreements or beliefs, acting on one’s conscience somehow becomes a “sticky issue.” That’s how one student describes it in a series of interviews at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Continue Reading...

Samuel Gregg on secularism in France

“François Fillon” by Thomas Bresson (CC BY 4.0) The influence of Christianity in the French political sphere has been gaining ground in recent months and may be of benefit to believers and non-believers alike according to Acton’s Samuel Gregg. Continue Reading...