Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Christian Social Thought

The ‘end’ of work

In the Q&A part of a session I led at last month’s Acton University on Abraham Kuyper and Leo XIII (based on this recent volume), I was asked about specific areas where the two figures have something concrete to contribute today. Continue Reading...

How God makes a smartphone

“Everybody has a cell phone,” Steve Jobs told John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar, “but I don’t know one person who likes their cell phone.” The frustrated CEO of Apple decided to do something about the problem, which lead to one of the greatest products of the modern age. Continue Reading...

The solution to healthcare is solidarity, not socialism

“The answer to the healthcare conundrum is not be found in Congress or in the White House, or in any draconian centre of usurped power,” says Joseph Pearce, “it is to be found on our own doorstep, in our own homes and in the homes of our neighbors.” Put simply, the principle of subsidiarity rests on the assumption that the rights of small communities—e.g., families, neighbourhoods, private associations, small businesses —should not be violated by the intervention of larger communities—e.g., the state or centralized bureaucracies. Continue Reading...

Are pastors particularly partisan?

A new paper released this week by a pair of political scientists claims, as The New York Times reports, that, “pastors are even more politically divided than the congregants in their denomination.” As the abstract of the paper states: Pastors are important civic leaders within their churches and communities. Continue Reading...

A Christian defense of capitalism

Humanity knows just two theoretical forms of organizing public interactions, says Alex Tokarev. All real socio-economic systems that have evolved through the centuries are a mix of the two opposite ideological concepts: One of the systems uses political coercion. Continue Reading...

What Pope Francis doesn’t understand about speculation

In a recent visit to a steel factory in Italy, Pope Francis said, “One sickness of the economy is the gradual transformation of entrepreneurs into speculators.” “The speculator doesn’t love his business, doesn’t love the workers, but only sees the business and workers as the means to make profit,” the pontiff added. Continue Reading...

Economic freedom eases poverty

“The poor will always be with us, but such a sobering reality does not free us from an obligation to work to alleviate the ravages of poverty,” says Trey Dimsdale. “On the contrary, Jesus’ statement only serves to remind us that every generation will face the question of how best to fulfill our holy obligations to them.” It is clear that many in the present generation have taken notice of the plight of the poor and are moved by genuine compassion to advocate for the poor, provide for their needs and seek to lessen the suffering caused by their circumstances. Continue Reading...

Charles Murray: ‘We need a cultural Great Awakening’

In response to increasing economic disruption and drastic social shifts in American life, Sen. Mike Lee recently launched the Social Capital Project, a multi-year research project dedicated to investigating “the evolving nature, quality, and importance of our associational life.” As I recently noted, the project’s first report highlights the connections between “associational life” and the nation’s economic success, stopping short of specific policy solutions. Continue Reading...

If King Solomon gave a commencement address

The most famous commencement address was never delivered at a graduation. In June 1997 Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, published what seemed like a perennial cliché—the commencement address she would have given if asked—centered around one critical piece of advice: wear sunscreen. 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...