Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments

Kevin noted earlier this week that the UK has issued a paper bill featuring Adam Smith. I also received notice this week that the Adam Smith Review is planning a conference in January of 2009, celebrating the semiquincentennial (250th) anniversary of the publication of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. Continue Reading...

‘Great Firewall’ Not Great Enough

According to published reports, China is planning on adding new censorship regulations covering blogs and webcasts (HT). President Hu Jintao says the government needs to take these steps to “purify” the Internet, leading to “a more healthy and active Internet environment,” according to the Xinhua news agency. Continue Reading...

Turnabout is Fair Play?

The nation which hosted a large conference welcoming Holocaust deniers last year is now full of righteous indignation over historical inaccuracies in the film ‘300’. As Azadeh Moaveni reports from her daily travels in Tehran, “Iranians buzzed with resentment at the film’s depictions of Persians, adamant that the movie was secretly funded by the U.S. Continue Reading...

Global Warming and Population Control

From the “we had to destroy the village to save it” department, check out this item from the Huffington Post by Dave Johnson, “A Global Warming Suggestion: Fewer Babies.” It’s pretty indefatigable logic: if there are no people to be affected by environmental catastrophe, then the problem has been avoided. Continue Reading...

Evangelical Environmentalism’s Moral Imperative

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I examine recent events surrounding the conflict amongst evangelicals over global warming political activism. In “Evangelical Environmentalism’s Moral Imperative,” I compare the shape of the argument to the debate over the last decade on the topic of poverty. Continue Reading...

Adam Smith, the British Grant (or Jackson)

The title of this post is not intended to imply anything by way of comparison between Smith and the American gentlemen. It is only to report that the United Kingdom has launched a new 20£ note sporting the visage of the Father of Economics. Continue Reading...

Private Education and Global Health

Check out the links from this piece by Joe Knippenberg at No Left Turns, which make the case that “small-scale support for private slum schools—through scholarship programs, backing for school-voucher schemes, or subsidized microfinance—might do far more good than a big aid push directed at government-run education.” Combine that with the insights from this recent NBER paper, “The Effects of Education on Health,” which examines the “well known, large, and persistent association between education and health,” and you could reach the conclusion that private education in the developing world could do much to raise the level of global health. Continue Reading...

Acton Wins Third Templeton Freedom Award

The Acton Institute won first place in the Free Market Solutions to Poverty category in the 2007 Templeton Freedom Awards competition. The award, managed by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, recognized Acton for its use of the “power of the popular media to challenge common beliefs about how to alleviate poverty.” Using the tagline, “Don’t Just Care, Think!,” the Acton project used documentaries, short films, public service announcements, print ads, and other educational materials to make the case that good intentions alone will not help the world’s poor. Continue Reading...

A ‘Red-Letter’ Hermeneutic

Speaking of a “red-letter hermeneutic,” for which I criticize Vince Isner of the National Council of Churches, Tony Campolo says that the new group of evangelical activists, who “transcend” partisan politics, has decided to go by the name of “Red-Letter Christians.” “By calling ourselves Red-Letter Christians, we are alluding to the fact that in several versions of the Bible, the words of Jesus are printed in red. Continue Reading...

Orestes Brownson Revisited

John Henry Newman called him “by far the greatest thinker America has ever produced,” but I venture to say very few Americans have ever heard of Orestes Brownson. (Acton devotees, of course, are unusually well informed and have seen him featured among our “Liberal Tradition” biographies.) Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., recently deceased, wrote a biography of Brownson some seventy years ago, but there had been little interest in the nineteenth-century Catholic convert from transcendentalism since then—until recently. Continue Reading...