Jerry Pournelle, Russell Kirk Conservative: RIP

Jerry Pournelle passed away in early September and is memorialized in this week’s “Upstream” segment of the Radio Free Acton podcast. An accomplished man in many fields in both the public and private sectors, he perhaps is best known as the author and co-author of a shelf-full of science-fiction novels. Continue Reading...

How Christopher Columbus helped bring the School of Salamanca to the Americas

Every Columbus Day gives rise to endless debates and recriminations over the impact of Christopher Columbus’ expedition upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. No honest observer can dismiss the injustices perpetrated after Columbus’ landing (nor before it), but one benefit of his voyage has been forgotten: It inadvertently exposed the Americas to the School of Salamanca. Continue Reading...

The Importance of Incompetence

An illustration of the Peter Principle. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.   Today at Public Discourse, I argue that in addition to idealism and self-interest, incompetence needs to be recognized as a more important factor in politics: [U]nless we add incompetence as a category of analysis, we will tend to view every victory for our own team as a triumph of justice or freedom or equality (idealism), and every failure the result of deep and convoluted corruption (self-interest). 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...

Ben Sasse on Christian witness in an age of disruption

In an age of continuous economic disruption and social fragmentation, what can possibly hold society together? Many are quick to turn to politics for such answers, pushing for increased price controls, trade barriers, and subsidies to prevent or mitigate the effects of such change. Continue Reading...