Category: Events

According to a common political narrative prior to the 2016 elections, progressivism has been ascendent and conservatism has been on an inevitable decline in America in significant part due to demographic changes. Among those changes is the growth of the Latino population, which is assumed to be a natural constituency for progressive politics. In the wake of the election, this may be one among many narratives that need to be re-thought.

Evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments in Latino communities, and they demonstrates a high affinity to a pro-growth, free oriented agenda. Among Hispanics who affiliate with evangelical denominations, 40 percent identify as conservative against just 25 percent who identify as liberal. Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, joined us here at the Acton Institute on November 17th to argue that past failures to garner support for market ideas among Latino populations have not been due to a rejection of those ideas by Latinos; rather, the failures have been the result of a lack of effort to promote the virtues of free-market, pro-liberty ideas within that community.

You can view Garza’s full Acton Lecture Series presentation via the video player below.

On November 3rd, Acton welcomed Victoria C. G. Coates, cultural historian and Ph.D, to talk about her argument that democracy has had a unique capacity to inspire some of the greatest artistic achievements of western civilization. She lays out this thesis in her latest book, David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art. In her Acton Lecture Series address, Coates takes as her case studies Michelangelo’s “David” and Albert Bierstadt’s “Rocky Mountains: Lander’s Peak“, describing the roles each played in their respective civilizations as well as the underlying political meanings of each piece.

You can watch Victoria Coates’ lecture via the video player below.

On October 27, 2016, Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico addressed the audience at the Acton Institute’s 26th Anniversary Dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his remarks, he reflected on the state of American politics and culture, the societal crisis we find ourselves in, and proposed a way forward based on a vision of a free and virtuous society.

You can view his entire address below.

On October 27, 2016, Rev. Paul Scalia addressed the audience at the Acton Institute’s 26th Anniversary Dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan after accepting the 2016 Faith and Freedom Award on behalf of his late father, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

More: We’re happy to share these highlights from Justice Scalia’s 1997 keynote address at Acton’s 7th Anniversary Dinner; his wit and good humor are among his many great qualities that are deeply missed:

Last night, more than 800 men and women attended the Acton Institute 26th Annual Dinner at the J.W. Marriot in downtown Grand Rapids.  The evening was highlighted by the presentation of the 2016 Faith and Freedom Award to the late Justice Antonin G. Scalia, but one person in attendance took note of Father Sirico’s special remarks on the crisis of liberty and the despair it has created.  David Bahnsen, a faculty member of Acton University and longtime friend of Acton, wrote about his perspective of the Annual Dinner in a blog post at On the Corner of National Review. Bahnsen described the experience as a “pivotal refresher for the hundreds upon hundreds of attendees.”

Father Robert Sirico photo from Alejandro Chafuen via Twitter

Rev. Robert Sirico. Photo courtesy of Alejandro Chafuen via Twitter

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On October 13, the fall 2016 Acton Lecture Series continued with a timely address from Benjamin Domenech, publisher of The Federalist and host of The Federalist Radio Hour, who spoke on the rise of American populism.

Domenech looks at the history of populism in America, from Andrew Jackson to William Jennings Bryan, and traces that strain in American politics straight through to the rise of Donald Trump. According to Domenech, the roots of the current populist uprising in America can be traced to the failure of elite institutions to address or even acknowledge the problems and needs of average citizens:

Today, big government and its partner big banks, business, labor, ag, and their armies of lobbyists represent a common enemy to both communities and individuals. Organic communitarianism depends on individual agency and autonomy in the market and in civil society. The breakdown of the ability of our neighborhoods to self govern is collateral damage brought about by the left’s war on individual liberty and the rise of an illiberal technocratic left, those who seek to absorb, marginalize, or extinguish institutions of civil society which compete with them and the state.

Domenech’s address can be viewed in full below.

As fall takes hold, it’s time once again for the Acton Lecture Series to take center stage here at the Acton Institute. Last Thursday, John Wilsey, assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, kicked off our fall 2016 series with a lecture on how to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Wilsey explores ways that Tocqueville’s background shaped him as an author, and the unique insights into American society that Tocqueville shared in his classic work.

Wilsey has produced Democracy in America: A New Abridgment for Students which will be appearing this November, and is also the author of One Nation Under God: An Evangelical Critique of Christian America, and American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea.

You can view his lecture in its entirety via the video player below; to hear his appearance on Radio Free Acton, click here.