Hugo Grotius vs. ObamaCare

In the seventeenth-century, the Dutch lawyer, magistrate, and scholar Hugo Grotius advanced Protestant natural-law thinking by grounding it in human nature rather than in the divine commands of God. As he claimed, “the mother of right—that is, of natural law—is human nature.” For Grotius, if an action agrees with the rational and social aspects of human nature, it is permissible; if it doesn’t, it is impermissible. Continue Reading...

Complaining to Mary: Should Christian Libertarians Defend Blackmail?

[Note: Since my previous post on Christian libertarianism stirred up an interesting debate, I thought it might be worth adding one more post on the subject before we move on. I think the following thought experiment will help shed light on our previous discussion.] The medieval monk and scholar Caesarius of Heisterbach tells of hearing a lay brother praying to Jesus: “Lord,” the man declared, “if Thou free me not from this temptation I will complain of Thee to Thy mother.” Attempting to blackmail Jesus is, of course, not the best way to seek absolution. Continue Reading...

What is a Christian Libertarian?

Our friends over at AEI have a wonderful website—Values & Capitalism—devoted to many of the same topics we cover here at Acton: faith, economics, poverty, the environment, society. Values & Capitalism, which is capably managed and curated by my buddy Eric Teetsel, is an excellent resource that I recommend to all liberty-loving, virtue promoting Christians (i.e., all good Acton PowerBlog readers). Continue Reading...

Jane Austen, Moral Philosopher

In the latest addition to my Jane Austen Theorem*, Thomas Rodham makes the case for reading Jane Austen as a moral philosopher who proposes “a virtue ethics for bourgeois life, the kind of life that most of us live today.” Continue Reading...

Great Lent and the Ascetic Foundations of Society

Today marks the beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church. Not simply a fast, it is a time for that true asceticism which, according to Fr. Georges Florovsky, “is inspired not by contempt, but by the urge of transformation.” There is something of this true asceticism, even if imperfect and incomplete, at the basis of all human society. Continue Reading...

Cost-Effective Compassion

What are the best ways to help the poor in developing countries? Answering that question is not as straightforward as you might assume, says development economist Bruce Wydick in Christianity Today. Continue Reading...