Category: News and Events

Blog author: sstanley
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ADAMS231011_2__2034469cWriting for Public Discourse, Samuel Gregg has some rather negative predictions about the European Union in a new piece titled, “The end of Europe.” Gregg begins by quoting France’s leader during World War II, General Charles de Gaulle. In his Mémoires d’Espoir, de Gaulle saw Europe as having “a spiritual and cultural heritage.” He wrote that “the same Christian origins and the same way of life, linked to one another since time immemorial by countless ties of thought, art, science, politics and trade.” The current crisis in Europe reflects de Gaulle’s insights. European governments have abandoned their Judaeo-Christian origins and have placed their faith in bureaucracies whose authority stretches beyond country borders, but who are guaranteed to further European decline.

Gregg states that there are essentially three concepts to consider regarding Europe’s current issues: (more…)

Do Google Earth satellite images point to more grim news from inside North Korea? According to an article from United Press International (UPI), Curtis Melvin of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University noticed a substantial difference in satellite images of a North Korean prison camp from 2013 to some taken last month:

[A]erial snapshots from Oct. 15 indicated considerable changes have been made to Camp No. 16.

Melvin said the new changes included dams, hydroelectric power plants, apartments for the camp’s guards, an athletic field, a mine and fish farms. These facilities were not visible in satellite imagery taken in 2013.

The latest construction appears to indicate that North Korea is planning for an increase in the population of inmates detained at Camp No. 16 … In 2014, Amnesty International said in a statement the camp imprisons about 20,000 people and the prisoners are forced to work in very treacherous conditions. [emphasis added]

Camp No. 16, also known as Hwasong or Myonggan concentration camp or Kwan-li-so (Penal-labor colony) No. 16. Camp No. 16 is a prison-labor colony where detainees are expected to work for life with no hope of being released and it is the largest of all the penal-labor camps in North Korea. The UPI piece points out that it was one of five political prisons where up to an estimated 120,000 people are punished for various “crimes against the state.” Despite testimonies of defectors who survived these camps and later escaped North Korea, Pyongyang denies the existence of camps and has officially accused all the witnesses of lying. (more…)

Amoo, de Roy, Ofori, Agyepong, Boakye, Unknown, Unknown (3) - Copy

Acton University 2015 Attendees

We are now 211 days from the opening day of Acton University 2016! is updated, full of brand new information, and ready to go for next year’s conference, held at The De Vos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 14-17, 2016.

Registration will be open from today until May 20, 2016 at Midnight EST. That sounds like a lot of time, but don’t delay! We are offering two price points this year: $500 for students (either full or part-time, but currently enrolled in school at the time of Acton University) and $750 for regular attendees. If you’re on the fence about attending, read testimonials from past participants and why AU is a sound investment.

Some new things this year:

The four keynote speakers will be: (more…)



The recent “Vatileaks” scandal is almost entirely an Italian problem, according to Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton. In a recent article for The Stream, Jayabalan describes his own experience moving to Italy and dealing with some of the corruption and problems he immediately faced, and how this culture ultimately caused the Vatileaks controversy:

When I first moved [to Italy] to work for the Vatican, my boss told me the hardest part of the transfer would be finding a place to live. “How could that possibly be in a European capital?” I thought. Well, it turns out that Vatican salaries, while tax-free and much sought after in Italy, are not very high and not enough to pay for an apartment on one’s own. The Vatican does own many apartments and rents them at affordable prices, but I was told they are nearly impossible to get. Not only must you be “raccamandato” but have a very influential Italian “protettore,” which mine was not. (He was merely a saintly man who survived 13 years in a communist prison.)

So I was left to fend for myself and, thanks be to God, I was able to find something affordable and centrally-located. But the fact that the Vatican apartments are not available to its foreign employees ought to be a scandal on its own. The Italians look after their own, even in the Vatican. (more…)

Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith in the studio

Yesterday at The Federalist, I examined the claims of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during last week’s GOP primary debate that the “mainstream media” is dominated by “liberal bias.”

While there is some truth to this claim, as I point out in my article, the data paints a more complicated picture: Conservative outlets such as Fox News and (editorially) the Wall Street Journal outperform the closest left-leaning ones, CNN and the New York Times, by wide margins.

I write,

It would be fair to counter that cable news is not the only source on television, and not even the most-watched. Fox has no evening news like ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS. The fact that, according to a recent study by the American Press Institute, “Democrats are more trusting of news from the three broadcast networks and the newswires, while Republicans are more trusting of news from cable” suggests the slant there tends to favor the Left.

However, people divide their news consumption today between mediums. That same study notes, “The 24-hour cable channels … are the source most often cited for four of the topics probed: politics, international news, business and the economy, and social issues.” So when it comes to political issues, the most common source, 24-hour cable news, is fairly evenly divided: Fox News generally has a Nielsen rating about equal to CNN’s and MSNBC’s combined.

A bit later on, I return to this point: (more…)

Blog author: sstanley
Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Russell Kirk

Writing for the Morning Sun, Acton’s frequent contributor Bruce Walker, discusses Russell Kirk, calling him a “Christian Humanist.” Walker argues that not only was Kirk a talented writer, but he also understood other Christian humanists and was able to clarify some of their works and theories:

Kirk may not have been the first, but was the scholar best able to identify [T. S.] Eliot’s nameless targets in the poem “The Hollow Men” as H.G. Wells, Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell, whom Kirk derided as “the intellectual enemies of the permanent things, those who wander amusingly into contrived corridors of the spirit – and beguile others, less gifted, after them.” It’s no doubt Kirk would’ve included John Dewey in Eliot’s gallery of progressive roguery. Kirk and Eliot both as well would no doubt exercise similar negative opinions on the entirety of the “I F[rea]king Love Science” trendiness of contemporary public “intellectuals” Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson whose subjective scientism (an ideology distinguished from objective science) is, in Eliot’s words: “Shape without form, shade with colour,/Paralyzed force, gesture without motion,” their whispering voices “quiet and meaningless/As wind in dry grass/Or rats’ feet over broken glass/In our dry cellar.” (more…)

1. Introduction

Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium[1] (EG) is not a text on economy: it is a fine and substantial magisterial reflection about the topic of evangelization in our days, a most extensive subject whose analysis exceeds the humble purposes of this article, and must await a later occasion.

However, Francis’ diagnosis of current circumstances holds some judgments on economic issues that have once again caused admiration and adhesion among free market critics, as well as concern or outright rejection among free market advocates. It is not, of course, the first time this happens. The same happened with Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, Mater et Magistra, 1961, Populorum Progressio, 1967, Laborem Excercens, 1981, and Solicitudo Rei Socialis, 1988. When talking about the content of those documents, I have always done the same: I have clarified semantic nuances and have drawn a distinction between the general principles of the Church’s Social Doctrine and its prudential applications.[2] In this case, I will further add an attempt at dialogue between the horizon of the Austrian School of Economics (ASE) and the one wherefrom Francis writes.