Category: General

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 11, 2016
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ThankYouService“Thank you for your service,” they say, as they shake our hands and pat our backs.

We smile and thank them for their gratitude and try to think of something else to talk about. These encounters with strangers happen from time to time, though always on Veteran’s Day. It’s the one time we can count on civilians—a group from which we came but can never fully return—to think about us.

On Veteran’s Day, they think of the men and women who march in the VFW parades. They think of their grandfathers, the gregarious World War II sailors, eager to share sea stories, and their uncles, stolid Vietnam-era airmen reticent to talk about the war. They think of the aunt who served in the Persian Gulf and the neighbor’s son who recently shipped off to Afghanistan.

They think of us when they see us in airport terminals, young soldiers and marines, giving our teary-eyed parents a welcome-home embrace as we return from recruit training. They think of us when they see us on airport tarmacs, older soldiers and marines, kissing our runny-nosed kids goodbye as we leave for missions of peace-keeping or war-making.

They think of us as we are in the movies: marching off to war with stoic resolve and assaulting beachheads with quiet determination. They think of us aligned on parade grounds, weapons and uniforms sparkling in the sun, postures the very picture of discipline.

They think that military service is about combat and heroism and uncommon acts of valor.

But there are things a veteran knows.
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Blog author: d.menjivar
Monday, October 31, 2016
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“The attachment of Luther’s 95 Theses” by Julius Hübne

Today is a momentous day in Western history, the beginning of what would be known as the Protestant Reformation. With Martin Luther’s pinning of the ninety-five thesis in Wittenberg, Germany, he would light a candle that would change theology, philosophy, and the political landscape of Europe and beyond. With a focus on the individual and his or her relation with the Almighty, Luther’s reforms reinvigorated the spiritual aspect a person’s daily work and striving. Luther and his idea of vocation, that one’s calling is not only a spiritual command for the priesthood, but a spiritual command to excellence in a person’s everyday duties would invigorate and create a thriving Western Europe. (more…)

See more at: http://tinyurl.com/hrl94u7

On sale now at the Acton Book Store

The role of economic liberty in contributing to human flourishing and the common good remains deeply underappreciated, even by those who are dedicated to religious liberty.

Samuel Gregg

Gregg is a contributor of One and Indivisible: The Relationship Between Religious and Economic Freedom, on sale now in the Acton Book Shop. Compiled by Kevin Schmiesing, the book contains 13 essays from highly acclaimed authors, speakers, and religious leaders, including Michael Matheson Miller, Anielka Münkel Olson, and Michael Novak. The essays describe the major events and trends that inspired an ambitious three-year program of conferences organized by the Acton Institute designed to bring a wide variety of scholars together to discuss one important theme: What is the relationship between economic and religious freedom? (more…)

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Antonio Gramsci (1922)

In a new article, “The Most Dangerous Socialist in History,” written for The Stream by Acton Institute’s Research Director Samuel Gregg, a socialist ideology running rampant throughout culture today is unveiled. The thoughts of Antonio Gramsci, “an Italian philosopher, journalist and Communist official who spent the last 11 years of his life in Mussolini’s prisons” are eating away at institutions today, calling for university departments and journalism schools to reveal the capitalist rule and “hidden structures of privilege.” Unfortunately, this idea proves “tougher to dismantle than the crude cement blocks of the old Berlin Wall.”

Gregg points out to his readers that Marx and Lenin previously thought that different religions and cultural institutions were mere distractions presented to hide the power wielded by capitalists with tight grips on money and power. According to this Marxist theory, the dismantling of false religion would take place after capitalism was squashed. Gramsci, however, thought that it was through voice of art, literature and education that power was gained and therefore socialist thought should be filtered. Gramsci’s writings called for leftist control of prominent cultural institutions, proposing rhetoric difficult to fight. Gramsci’s ideas are alive today, posing threats to liberty: (more…)

Poverty rates in America’s largest cities; such as Indianapolis, Charlotte, and Detroit; have risen in the last decade. New York City however, stands out as an exception, as its poverty rate has conversely declined. The combined actions and innovations of individuals have proven yet again to be effective in producing economic flourishing. The hope of New York City springs from the ability of people made in the image of God to use their skills and rise up out of poverty.

Believing that poverty is best combated with the rise of the job force, Robert Doar (Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute) stresses that it is not in government which we should rely, but rather in the people.

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School of Athens by Raphael

School of Athens by Raphael

In considering issues of political economy today, it is always prudent to refer to wisdom from the past.  The American Enterprise Institute’s recent publication “Economic Freedom and Human Flourishing: Perspectives from Political Philosophy” is a collection of essays that analyzes the thought of several prominent philosophers on the connection between the title’s two subjects. Many of the quotes below, pulled from six of the nine essays, challenge foundational aspects of classical liberalism and the value of the free market. As Yuval Levin comments at the end of his essay on Edmund Burke, markets can enable human flourishing, but they do not do so perfectly, “And it is precisely the friends of markets who should be most willing to acknowledge that, and to seek for ways to address it…for the sake of liberty and human flourishing.” (more…)

Blog author: CRoberts
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
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Working comprises the bulk of most people’s adult lives. Unfortunately, many people find their work unfulfilling and dread Monday mornings. How can we find meaning and a sense of vocation in even the most mundane work environments?

In a recent article published in The Atlantic, Uri Friedman presents seven helpful pieces of advice given by David Brooks (New York Times columnist) and Arthur Brooks (president of the American Enterprise Institute) in order to shed light on how people can better view their job and find purpose. The difference between attitudes of boredom and laziness versus those of enthusiasm and productivity boils down to one’s motivation to work. Do you work for the paycheck alone? Or do you view your work as contributing to the service of others?

Construction WorkerI found one point especially helpful. Friedman narrates a story:

Arthur Brooks set out on a career as a French horn player. But then he came across Johann Sebastian Bach’s answer to why he’d become a composer: “The aim and final end of all music is nothing less than the glorification of God and the enjoyment of man.” Brooks gradually decided that he could better serve such aims as an economist, with a focus on improving the lives of the poor, than as a musician.

“The happiest people feel like they’re needed,” Brooks said. “The greatest engine of misery in our society is a sense of social and economic superfluousness”—a sense, he added, that is contributing to the anger on display in U.S. politics today.

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