Archived Posts December 2012 - Page 12 of 12 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why the Common Law in America?
Richard Reinsch, Libery Law Blog

Can we understand our Constitution, its central liberty protecting provisions, and can we even properly interpret it without a prior understanding of the common law tradition?

Vatican II as a model for Islamic reform
Lafif Lakhdar,

The adjustment of religion acccording to the facts of the world it lives in–that is, an adjustment to freedom, secularism and democracy.

With @Pontifex, pope reaches out to new kind of followers
Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Even though he won’t be physically sending the tweets, the messages “are pearls of wisdom coming from the heart of the pope’s teaching and coming from his own mind and ideas,” he said.

In Orlando, You Can’t Grow Your Own Garden
Ari Bargil, AFF Doublethink

You know government has grown too big when it bans growing a garden in your own yard. Such is the case in Orlando, but one family is fighting to restore common sense and constitutional boundaries on what the government says you cannot do with your land.

Acton President Rev. Robert Sirico presents the 2012 Novak Award to Prof. Giovanni Patriarca

An overflow crowd, which included two current and one former rector of Rome’s pontifical universities, enthusiastically turned out on November 29 to support the winner of the Acton Institute’s Novak Award.  Students, professors, journalists, entrepreneurs and politicians alike packed the Aula delle Tesi auditorium at the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas to hear Prof. Giovanni Patriarca deliver his lecture  “Against Apathy: Reconstruction of a Cultural Identity”.

The Novak Award, a $10,000 prize named after the American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak, is given annually to a young international professor whose distinguished research advances a deeper understanding of theology’s connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. The recipient delivers a formal presentation at the award ceremony known as the Calihan Lecture. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 3, 2012

Can capital markets be moral? At The Veritas Forum at Cambridge University, Rev. Richard Higginson explains how we should rethink our capital system to avoid problems like the financial crisis.

His five part plan includes:

1. Rediscovering capital virtues like moderation and prudence,

2. Adopting sound policy like reducing debt and spreading risk,

3. Reviewing the purposes and scrutinizing the practices of banking by a reputable international body,

4. Continuing to invest and give as a sign of hope, and

5. Considering long-term investments in ethical enterprises rather than simply maximizing short-term gain

Pin not actual size.

I commented last week on the “textbook bubble” (here) and have commented in the past on the “higher-ed bubble” and the character of American education more generally (see here, here, and here). To briefly summarize, over the last few decades the quality of higher education has diminished while the cost and the number of people receiving college degrees has increased. The cost is being paid for, in large part, through government subsidized loans. But with the drop in quality and increase in quantity, a college degree is not as impressive as it used to be; in many cases it no longer signals to employers what it used to. When a critical mass of those loans goes into default, we will have another housing-bubble-esque crisis on our hands. At the same time, government loans, which are largely indiscriminate with regard to the risk of the applicant and guaranteed on the backs of taxpayers, have incentivized colleges and universities to raise the costs to students for the sake of increased expenditures, inflating the bubble even more. Now, Alex Williams of The New Times reports last Friday,

The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick.

An increasing number of students are realizing that they, to quote Good Will Hunting, do not want to be $150,000 in debt for an education that they could have gotten “for a $1.50 in late charges at the public library.” (more…)

In an interview for Carolina Journal Radio, Acton associate editor Ray Nothstine discusses the links between religion and presidential politics.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 3, 2012

In Praise of Discontentment
Isaac Morehouse, Values & Capitalism

Our desire to improve our conditions is powerful, and our ability to imagine a better life than what we have serves humanity like little else.

The Economics of Income
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

When these shortages eventually go away, relative salaries can be expected to level out. That is the market’s way of telling us that we have “enough” providers of nursing services for the moment.

Turn Distrust Of Millionaires Against The Tax Hikers
Logan Albright, AFF Doublethink

Whenever a politician says something along the lines of “we don’t care about ideology, we care about what works,” get nervous.

Thinking Well About Things (Other Than Politics)
C.C. Pecknold, Ethika Politika

One of our greatest living philosophers, Alasdair MacIntyre, recently gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame titled “Catholic instead of what?”