Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Effective Compassion

Rich People Are Big Meanies Who Just Don’t Care, Right?

In a New York Times op-ed, Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author, declared, “Rich People Just Care Less.” How does he know this? Because studies have been done. So there. Rich people lack empathy, don’t listen to people lower on the social ladder than themselves, and …seem to pay particularly little attention to those with the least power. Continue Reading...

The Public Witness Of Adoption

One the best arguments against the growing tentacles of the social assistance welfare state into the lives of people who are suffering is the practice of the Christian practice of adoption and orphan care. Continue Reading...

Is de Blasio The New Left?

Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast writes a fascinating article about the way the “left” is currently being reshaped. It seems that young adults in the Democratic Party are far more radical than what America saw in the Clinton White House. Continue Reading...

Bonanza’s Adam Cartwright, a Cowboy in Black

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I adapt a section from my latest book focusing on an instance of “cowboy compassion” we find in an episode of Bonanza. I focus on the example of Adam Cartwright, who helps out an economically-depressed family faced with the tyranny of a greedy scrooge, Jedediah Milbank. Continue Reading...

A ‘Golden’ Opportunity for GM Foods

A piece of news analysis over the weekend by Amy Harmon, a national correspondent for the New York Times, captures well the dynamics of the current debates about the merits of genetically-modified organisms (GMO’s). Continue Reading...

Is Augustine Obnoxious, Too?

Earlier this week, Elise noted an essay by Rev. Schall, which asked, “Do Christians Love Poverty?” Michael Sean Winters at the National Catholic Reporter also responded to the piece, with the comment, “Almost everything about this essay is obnoxious.” But I think Winters really misses the central insight of Schall’s piece, which really is an Augustinian point: A person who sorrows for someone who is miserable earns approval for the charity he shows, but if he is genuinely merciful he would far rather there were nothing to sorrow about. Continue Reading...

Worry is a Poverty Trap

There’s some evidence that the distress associated with poverty, such as worry about where your next meal is coming from, can create a negative feedback loop, leaving the poor with fewer non-material resources to leverage against poverty. Continue Reading...