Category: General

There’s more to voting than tallying up the number of yays and nays. Although you’d never guess it by the numbingly perfunctory attitude taken toward voting by most Americans—especially in this late hour—who see it either as the highest duty of a good citizen, or as an inconvenient inevitability.

What makes voting worth it, anyway? Is it the possibility of shaping our nation’s future? The opportunity to express our deepest-held principles? Or is it worth it precisely because not doing it would be a civic or moral failure that we wish to avoid?

A recent conversation at Ethika Politika draws some of these questions together. Responding broadly to my characterization of Alasdair MacIntyre’s now somewhat popular case for non-voting, Acton’s own Dylan Pahman offers a perspective that emphasizes real-life consequences stemming from our attitude toward civic choices. Pahman takes as a philosophical basis for this approach William James’s idea of genuine options, suggesting that voting meets all the criteria, and that to not vote is, strictly speaking, not a real option.

As the defensor MacIntyri, here—at least for the sake of argument—I submit that Pahman’s analysis, while logically consistent, introduces a false assumption about the nature of morals vis-à-vis public life. In other words, I think that favoring a “duty to consider the consequences” need not take precedence over—and certainly needn’t extinguish—one’s “focus upon the personal, moral value of voting.” What are personal morals, after all, if not deeply connected to reality?

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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 12, 2012
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School Choice Marches Forward
Jonathan Butcher, EcucationNext

2011 a year of new laws and new lawsuits

Bartholomew I: Witnessing Together To The Message Of Salvation
Vatican Information Service

During the course of this morning’s ceremony in St. Peter’s Square for the opening of the Year of Faith, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I pronounced an address, extracts of which are given below.

Baptist Colleges Sue Obama Admin Over HHS-Abortion Mandate
Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com

Further proving that opposition to the Obama administration’s HHS mandate is not limited to Catholic groups, two Baptist-affiliated colleges filed their own lawsuit today against the HHS mandate that promotes abortion.

Communist China Manages Christian Charity
Jillian Kay Melchior, Doublethink Online

Beijing may be reluctantly warming up to Christianity, if its recent overtures toward religious charities are any indication.

Don’t miss out on your chance to apply for a scholarship for the spring 2013 semester!

If you or someone you know would like to be considered for a Calihan Academic Fellowship, the deadline to submit application materials is Monday, October 15. Eligible candidates include graduate students or seminarians pursuing fields such as theology, philosophy, economics, or related themes promoted by the Acton Institute. Visit the Calihan Academic Fellowship page on Acton’s website for more detailed information on eligibility and the application process. Contact Michelle at mhornak@acton.org with any scholarship-related questions.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 11, 2012
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C.S. Lewis may not have written specifically about economics, but as Harold B. Jones Jr. explains, there’s reason to consider him a defender of the free market:

. . . C. S. Lewis had much in common with the great free-market thinkers of his time. He is discovered on careful examination to have been writing about many of the same issues as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and on these issues to have been in perfect agreement with them. The dates are worth considering. Bureaucracy, one of Mises’s critiques of governmental economic intervention, came out in 1944. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom came out the same year. Lewis had released The Abolition of Man only a year before, and in the year that followed his That Hideous Strength made its debut. All these books were written to defend the idea of the individual human being as the locus of rational choice and moral responsibility. Mises and Hayek wrote as economists and Lewis as a lay theologian, but all three wrote to challenge the assault on human nature in the name of a false ideal.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 11, 2012
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The Economics of John Calvin
Timothy Terrell, Economics for Everybody

Ask someone what Calvinism has to do with economics, and you’ll probably get a blank stare.

European Parliament holds seminar on Discrimination of Christians in Europe
Russian Orthodox Church

Organized together by parliamentarians from the European People’s Party, the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists and the Catholic Commission of Bishops’ Conferences, the EU seminar gathered together several hundred participants from among European deputies, experts in the religious and legal field, politicians, public figures and clergy.

Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer
Chris Horst, Christianity Today

Steve Hill and Jim Howey’s leadership style is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies.

Working Towards Hope and A Future
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

As Christians, we know that we are working in the Kingdom of Christ through our families, our churches and our work. God is building his kingdom, and uses us as the hands and feet of this enterprise.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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Religious Freedom at the Ballot Box
Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary

Just as significant [as the HHS mandate] is a referendum battle in Florida that will not only help determine the future of religious liberty in this country, but whether we are capable of facing up to our troubled past.

The Four Twisted Truths of Marx
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

The father of communism, Karl Marx, announced his object in life was to “dethrone God and destroy capitalism”. If Marx really wanted to dethrone God, shouldn’t it be disturbing that some Christians support his ideology?

In Texas, Cheerleaders’ Signs of Faith at Issue
Manny Fernandez, New York Times

School district officials ordered the cheerleaders to stop putting Bible verses on the banners, because they believed doing so violated the law on religious expression at public school events.

What Kills Small Businesses? Let’s Ask Them
Ron Faucheux, The Atlantic

Burdensome government regulations and a hyperactive legal culture topped the list of scourges in this new survey.

Blog author: Mindy Hirst
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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When my kids go to the pediatrician it is a mad house while we are waiting for the doctor to come in. All three of my kids are doing the random dance. The oldest is behind the bench inspecting the lamp, the youngest is hopping from one book to another spread out on the floor and the boy is using the bean bag chair as a fort.

When the doctor comes in, they all start talking to her at once as if she had six ears and three brains all equally engaged in each of their conversations. I am not totally convinced that this isn’t the case. One by one she checks their eyes, their ears, their walks, asks questions, listens intently and seems completely at home in the din of the kid-noise.

Then comes the blessed moments when she checks their hearts. She puts the stethoscope into her ears, gently rests the chestpiece on their bodies and closes her eyes. The room goes silent. Everyone is entranced by the peace that fills the room, and I always wonder what is going on in that moment. Is she counting? What is she listening for?

Recently, we did an interview with Dr. Pam Casson, pediatrician, asking her about what being On Call in Culture meant for her. In it she explained these special moments in the office. I was at once touched but unsurprised at what she shared. In those moments, she was talking to God. Of course she was! It made so much sense. She said that she asks God for two things: to capture that child’s heart and to allow her to hear any abnormalities.

We have been talking about how when we do our work well we are blessing the world. But in these moments, Pam has discovered how to offer a double blessing to the world God has put her in. Not only is she treating or maintaining the health of her patients, but she is looking toward their spiritual health as well.