When online conformity mobs imitate government coercion

The social-media outrage machine is rather predictable these days. It doesn’t take much for companies and celebrities to offend the cultural consensus, spurring online mobs to respond, in turn: not through peaceful discourse or by turning their attention elsewhere, but by fomenting rage, abuse, and assault on the subject(s) in question. Continue Reading...

The cramped morality of trade protectionism

“If a product is seen only as the opportunity for work, it is certain that the anxieties of protectionists are well founded.” –Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Sophisms Drawing inspiration from a 1847 essay by the inimitable Frédéric Bastiat, economist Donald Boudreaux tackles a popular argument from today’s trade protectionists: namely, “that protectionism is justified if enough consumers or voters are willing to pay higher prices in order to help workers.” The problem, of course, is that such a perspective debases the value of labor to the value of products and vice versa, ignoring the many other relationships and ripple-effects that production and trade are bound to inspire. Continue Reading...

Thoughts on Christians and race-identity issues

Here’s the deal, short and straight to the point, in light of the events in Charlottesville: Christians should not be within ten miles of this race-identity stuff. Something like “white nationalism” cannot be reconciled with the Gospel’s leap across racial and national barriers. Continue Reading...

Why the culture matters for economic flourishing

“Moral ecology is the new frontier of political economy: the culture in which the free society thrives — or destroys itself.” –Michael Novak In assessing and addressing the economic issues of the day, we tend to look first to tangible or mathematical solutions, cutting and re-cutting various economic pies as we ponder different policies and pathways to higher employment, better wages, and all-around material prosperity. Continue Reading...

Arvo Pärt on the economy of wonder

Our society has grown increasingly transactional in its ways of thinking, whether about family, business, education, or politics. Everything we spend, steward, or invest — our money, time, and relationships — must somehow secure an immediate personal return or reward, lest it be cast aside as “wasteful.” As an overarching philosophy of life, such an approach fails not due only due to its narrow individualism, but also to its cramped obsession with scarcity, standing in stark contrast with the lavish abundance and gratuitous generosity of the Gospel. Continue Reading...

Building the moral imagination

“How many people know how to ride a bicycle? How many people can explain how a bicycle works?” asked Michael Miller, research fellow at the Acton Institute, during his lecture on “Moral Imagination” at Acton University. Continue Reading...