Private vs. Public Schools

One of the flashpoints in school choice debates is the performance of public schools as compared to private. A while back a Department of Education study drew attention by claiming that, when certain socio-economic factors were controlled, there wasn’t much of a difference between achievement by public and private school students. Continue Reading...

You Know the Old Joke

This story makes me think of an old joke. Stafford, TX has a population of 19,227 people and 51 churches. The city council is making noise about preventing any more churches from opening up because, as tax-exempt organizations, they are threatening the viability of the local government. Continue Reading...

Thar She Blows

Might these be the new “Cuisinarts of the sea”? This story, “Energy from the Restless Sea,” in today’s NYT examines the efforts of experimental inventors to find machines that excel in “harnessing the perpetual motion of the ocean and turning it into a commodity in high demand: energy.” There are a variety of designs and types of machines, so of course not all of them are a danger to chop up hapless fish. Continue Reading...

Are You Ready or Really Ready?

vs. Almost everyone has been critical of the government’s methods when it comes to disaster preparedness and response. We here at Acton also tend to be very focused on the importance of private enterprise when it comes to dealing with local problems. Continue Reading...

The ‘Moral’ Minimum Wage Increase Hurts Teens and Minorities

Religious activists are stumping for a minimum wage increase as a way to help the disadvantaged. But do they understand the economics? Anthony Bradley observes that government-mandated pay hikes “actually hurt teens and low-skilled minorities in the long run because minimum wage jobs are usually entry-level positions filled by employees with limited work experience and few job skills.” Read the full commentary here. Continue Reading...

The New Suburbanism

How many of you would like to live here? Tom Monaghan has received a lot of attention for his plans to create a community in Florida in conjunction with the founding of a new Roman Catholic university: “The accompanying town will provide single- and multi-family housing in a wide range of styles and prices, along with commercial and office facilities to accommodate the businesses and organizations needed to support this major academic institution.” Here’s what Katie Couric had to say in an interview with Monaghan about the town (MP3 audio here, RealMedia here, WindowsMedia here): Some of the values, depending on your perspective… may be deemed wholesome, but in other ways, I think, people will see this community as eschewing diversity and promoting intolerance….Do you think the tenets of the community might result in de facto segregation as a result of some of the beliefs that are being espoused by the majority of the residents there?…You can understand how people would hear some of these things and be like, wow, this is really infringing on civil liberties and freedom of speech and right to privacy and all sorts of basic tenets that this country was founded on. Continue Reading...

Coulter on Christianity and the Welfare State

In this Beliefnet interview conducted by Charlotte Allen, conservative firebrand Ann Coulter references the work of Acton senior fellow Marvin Olasky: Is it possible to be a good Christian and sincerely believe, as Jim Wallis does, that a bigger welfare state and higher taxes to fund it is the best way in a complex modern society for us to fulfill our Gospel obligation to help the poor? Continue Reading...

‘We get Viagra. They get malaria.’

At least, the title of this post is typical of the mantra against the practices of drug pharmaceutical companies, according to Peter W. Huber’s “Of Pills and Profits: In Defense of Big Pharma,” in Commentary magazine (HT: Arts & Letters Daily). Continue Reading...

Sin and Extreme Sports

You may know that a traditional way of interpreting the Ten Commandments involves articulating both the explicit negative prohibitions as well as the implicit positive duties. So, for example, the sixth commandment prohibiting murder is understood in the Heidelberg Catechism to answer the question, “Is it enough then that we do not kill our neighbor in any such way?” by saying, “No. Continue Reading...

Krauthammer on Proportionality

“‘Disproportionate’ in What Moral Universe?” asks Charles Krauthammer in today’s Washington Post. He continues: When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel “proportionate” attack on a Japanese naval base. Continue Reading...