Archived Posts October 2012 - Page 3 of 16 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 29, 2012

In the Western world there are conservative liberals, liberal liberals, and radical liberals, says David T. Koyzis, but all adhere to the basic principles of liberalism:

The liberalism of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Of Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. After all, the Declaration of Independence is a liberal document, unquestioningly accepting that popular consent stands at the origin of political authority. As Alasdair MacIntyre has put it, in the Western world there are conservative liberals, liberal liberals, and radical liberals, but all adhere to the basic principles of liberalism.

So what accounts for the differences between Democrats and Republicans, between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? What separates them is that each represents a different stage in the larger development of liberalism. Those who do not like what liberalism has become in recent decades have not repudiated it as such but have tried instead to hold onto it and return it to an earlier form—one thought to be purer and closer to its original meaning. I believe liberalism can be traced through five stages of development.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 29, 2012

‘The Weightier Provisions of the Law’
Rob Schwarzwalder, The Gospel Coalition

Finding a course where principle can wed with effective if incomplete action is the holy grail of evangelical political engagement.

Physician Assisted Suicide and the Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Methodios, Fr. Peter Michael Preble’s Blog

For centuries now, all doctors take the Hippocratic Oath promising to practice medicine ethically and honestly, never doing harm to a patient. This proposed law would be impossible to control, and would have serious societal ramifications.

Christianity isn’t dying, cultural Christianity is
Ed Stetzer, Baptist Press

Christian nominalism is nothing new. As soon as any belief system is broadly held, people are motivated to adopt it, even with a low level of connection.

How the Supreme Court Stacked the Deck Against Economic Liberty
Damon W. Root, Reason

A federal price-fixing case highlights the judiciary’s troubling deference to government regulation.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 26, 2012

AEI recently held a contest challenging people to make a video that could articulate a moral case for free markets in two minutes or less. The $40,000 top prize was won by Jared Fuller with this entry, “The Moral Paper Route.”

At AEI’s Values & Capitalism blog, Julia Thompson talks to Fuller about the making of the video.

Blog author: ehilton
Friday, October 26, 2012

Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, notes in a recent NRO article that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has avoided “emotivist nonsense” and presented a clear moral vision for our country.

Among other things, Ryan, ever so politely but unambiguously, underlined the immense damage inflicted by sometimes well-intentioned government welfare programs upon those in need. Yet he did so in a manner that detailed the economic costs but also went beyond a narrowly materialist reckoning. Ryan pointed to the manifold ways in which government programs have undermined the dignity of those in need and constrained their opportunities for human flourishing.

But then Ryan did something else: Identify civil society as the distinctly American way of addressing the challenge of poverty, be it material, moral, or even spiritual in nature. As he noted: “There’s a vast middle ground between the government and the individual. Our families and our neighborhoods, the groups we join and our places of worship — this is where we live our lives. They shape our character, give our lives direction, and help make us a self-governing people.”

Put another way, America has never regarded politics as the be-all and end-all of human existence. Politics has its place, but most human flourishing occurs in other arenas of life. That’s something the Left will never, ever understand.

Read “Ryan’s Way” on National Review Online here.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 26, 2012

Paul Ryan: How Conservatism Helps the Poor
David Azerrad, The Foundry

When it comes to explaining how their policies would help the poor and the disadvantaged, conservatives can all too often be likened to a football team that drives all the way to the one-yard line and then just kneels down.

The Democrats’ Jewish Problem
Harry Stein, City Journal

A new book revisits an uncomfortable—and ongoing—history.

America Needs Entrepreneurship, Not Just Innovation
Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

Innovation is critical, but not enough. More than innovation, we need entrepreneurs who create the businesses, non-profits, and ministries of tomorrow.

Why Christians Shouldn’t be Undecided Voters
Jacqueline Otto, Values & Capitalism

It’s late October in an election year. The leaves in the nation’s capital are turning, and everyone who thought they loved politics realizes just how much they truly hate politics.

Blog author: jballor
Friday, October 26, 2012

Call for Papers: “Intellectual Property and Religious Thought”

University of St. Thomas School of Law, April 5, 2013. The University of St. Thomas will hold a conference titled “Intellectual Property and Religious Thought,” on April 5, 2013, co-sponsored by the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy and The University of St. Thomas Law Journal. The conference will be held at the University of St. Thomas School of Law building in downtown Minneapolis.


Over at The Claremont Institute, Hadley Arkes considers whether religious freedom is a “natural right.” His exploration of the question is lengthy and complex and, as with everything Prof. Arkes writes, worthy of serious consideration. Here is his conclusion:

It may be jarring in some quarters to say it, but it is eminently reasonable to be a theist, and quite as reasonable to understand that not everything done in the name of religion and theism is reasonable and defensible. What else explains the refusal of the law to allow a religious exemption from laws on homicide or theft or evading the laws on child labor or paying social security taxes? But the deeper truth reveals itself when we recognize that the Catholic church has been making natural law arguments in the public arena even as the bishops invoke religious freedom. The bishops invoke the claims of religion, but the uncomfortable truth is that the Church and its allies among Protestants and Jews have become the main sanctuaries for preserving the tradition of moral truths in a society in which the currents of relativism have eroded the academy, the media, and the professions. The Church and the religious stand contra mundum today, and appear so much at odds with the world, not because they, more than others, exalt “beliefs,” but because they have become the last redoubt for the insistent claims of reason. Among our major institutions they have become the main force in declaring publicly the understanding of those moral truths and natural rights that underlay this constitutional order from the beginning.

Without that underlying moral understanding and the doctrines of natural law, it would be impossible to explain a regime in which a system of law is built upon a body of first principles forming a fundamental law (or a “constitution”). Without that accompanying faith it would be hard to explain why we seem to think that human beings, wherever we find them, will have an equal claim to our sympathy and respect; that they are made in the image of something higher; that they are creatures of reason who deserve to be ruled with the rendering reasons for the laws imposed on them. Without all of that, it becomes harder to explain why we can accord to them the standing of “bearers of rights” flowing to them by nature. In short, then, without the moral understanding sustained now mainly by the religious, it would be hard to take seriously the notion that there are natural rights that command our respect because they are grounded in truths about “the human person.” That is the case for religion as a natural right, and the measure of our desperation is that, in the current state of our public life, the bishops find the gravest test of their preparation and learning as they try to explain the matter to their own public in a post-literate age.

(Via: Mirror of Justice)