Category: Interviews


Vernon L. Smith speaks to Samuel Gregg at Acton University.

UPDATE: The full interview is now available online.


In June, Nobel economist Vernon L. Smith gave an Acton University speech titled “Faith and the Compatibility of Science and Religion.” While he was in Grand Rapids, he sat down with Victor V. Claar and went into some of the specifics of his lecture, as well as his vast experience in economics, including experimental economics. Their conversation was recorded as the cover feature for the Fall issue of Religion & Liberty. As a preview for this publication — which will be available soon — enjoy part of the conversation between these two esteemed economists:

Victor Claar: How did you first become interested in economics?

Vernon Smith: Well, I was an undergraduate at Cal Tech. I didn’t even know that economics existed. I was studying physics, chemistry, and mathematics. As a senior, we had a course, Principles of Economics. I was just fascinated by economics. By then, I pretty much decided I probably wouldn’t continue in science or engineering. I hadn’t decided what to do instead. But I took that course, and then I knew what I wanted to do next, which was to go back home: to the University of Kansas. I chose Kansas because that’s where I was from and, being entirely self-supporting, I could take advantage of their low in-state tuition. So I got a master’s degree there in economics. (more…)

Rev. Robert A. Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, joined host Neil Cavuto on Fox News Channel’s The Cost of Freedom this morning to discuss the controversial comments about conservative Catholics and Evangelicals by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and other campaign staffers in a recently released batch of hacked emails from Wikileaks. You can watch the interview below.

Acton Institute Director of Programs and Education Paul Bonicelli joined host Juliet Dragos on WZZM 13 News in Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday to discuss the choice facing evangelical voters in the upcoming 2016 presidential election. You can watch the interview below.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

Acton Institute Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, wrote a piece for The Catholic World Report yesterday talking about Catholics in an age of secular moralism.  Often times, Catholics fall into a trap of reducing their faith to various political, economic, and social agendas, losing sight of what is at the core of true Catholicism.  This is what Gregg calls secular moralism. Gregg explains this “new morality:”

Moralism, however, isn’t limited to the Christian realm. It has many secular counterparts. Prominent among these is morality’s reduction to my voracious support for particular causes. “I am a good person because I favor environmentalism, socialism, liberalism, unions, business, el pueblo, refugees, feminism, the United Nations, pacifism, an end to air-conditioning, nuclear disarmament, etc.”

In this world, other peoples’ badness is determined by the fact that they don’t identify with, or have significant reservations about, for example, the contemporary environmental movement, the European Union, or some of the absurd claims made today under the rubric of human rights. Such individuals are relegated to the outer realms of acceptability and assigned a label. This usually involves words like “hater” or the suffix “phobic.”


Blog author: KHanby
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Samuel Gregg enthusiastically makes a point

Samuel Gregg lecturing at Acton University.

Samuel Gregg’s most recent book For God and Profit continues to receive great reviews.  The most recent comes from author and speaker John Horvat, II at The Stream.  Horvat begins his review by highlighting the way Gregg reconciles the pursuit of profits with Christianity. He says this:

Early in the book, Gregg establishes that profit through finance can be realized “provided that God comes first and that the profit is (1) understood as a means to an end, (2) never seen as an end in itself, and (3) used to serve rather than diminish, what Christians understand as human flourishing.” If these criteria are met (and that is a big “if” in today’s frenetically intemperate economic climate), then finance is a needed social good.

Gregg’s big “if” is the foundation of his theory of sound Christian economics, which must always be seen in a moral context. Inside this framework, economy would certainly be a lot different and more temperate than it is today. However, it would also be much the same.


Acton Institute Director of Programs Paul Bonicelli walked a few blocks down the road here in Grand Rapids, Michigan this morning for an in-studio interview with host Justin Barclay on WOOD Radio’s West Michigan Live. Paul is a recent addition to Acton’s staff and does a fine job of introducing himself, and also provides a preview of Acton’s upcoming fall events calendar. You can listen to the full interview via the audio player below.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

On this day in 1632, one of the greatest champions of liberty and  someone often referred to as the “Father of Liberalism,” John Locke, was born.  Although Locke’s philosophy played a crucial role in the American founding, there is still much that we can learn from his writings today.  Here are 5 things to remember about Locke on his birthday:

  1. Locke offered one of the first and most recognized theories of private property. To this day, many still refer to Locke’s definition when discussing what private property is.  This comes from Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: “Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself.  The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.” (more…)