Archived Posts February 2013 - Page 11 of 21 | Acton PowerBlog

In 2010, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, who lived with their five children in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, were faced with a choice: abandon their Evangelical Christian religious beliefs or lose custody of their children. The Romeikes had withdrawn their children from German public schools in 2006, after becoming concerned that the educational material employed by the school was undermining the tenets of their Christian faith. After accruing the equivalent of $10,000 worth of fines and the forcible removal of their children from the home, they chose to flee their homeland and seek asylum in the United States. They believed our government was more respectful of religious liberties.

german-banThey soon discovered that was not the case.

On January 26, 2010, a federal immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum, ruling they had a reasonable fear of persecution for their beliefs if they returned to their homeland. The judge also denounced the German policy, saying it was, “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans.” However, President Obama’s Justice Department disagreed. They argued that the family should be denied asylum based on their contention that governments may legitimately use its authority to force parents to send their kids to government-sanctioned schools.

To better understand what Attorney-General Holder and his Justice Department are supporting, let’s look at the German policy. The parent-children relationship is defined in Art. 6 § 2 as follows:

800px-Statue_in_Minute_Man_National_Historical_ParkSome politicians are calling for new regulation and restrictions on firearms, but why and how does the Second Amendment strengthen liberty? In a thoughtful post at the Carolina Journal today, Troy Kickler offers this historical assessment:

What did early jurists and constitutional commentators say regarding the Second Amendment? St. George Tucker in View of the Constitution of the United States (1803), the first systematic commentary on the Constitution after its ratification, describes the Second Amendment to be “the true palladium of liberty.”

As the preservation of the statue of Pallas in mythological Troy — the Palladium — needed to be protected for the ancient city’s preservation, so the Virginian believed that the amendment ensured liberty’s protection in the United States. If the nation had a “standing army” — Revolutionary era-Americans’ description for a full-time, professional army — while individual Americans were denied the “right to keep and bear arms,” then “liberty, if not already annihilated,” Tucker wrote, “is on the brink of destruction.”

To Tucker, the Second Amendment is the linchpin that ensures the existence of all the other liberties.

Tucker was not alone. Although U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story believed the national government should have more authority than did Tucker, both jurists interpreted the Second Amendment as liberty’s safeguard. In 1833, Story noted in his influential Commentaries of the Constitution: “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of the republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

These jurists repeated a widespread interpretation that had been practiced by the states. The first state constitutions — which remained unaltered and in effect after the Constitution’s ratification — protected individual rights to possess and bear arms and allowed for a state militia.


There is always much to discuss after a State of the Union address, and Tuesday’s speech is no different. Sam Gregg, Director of Research at the Acton Institute, shared his thoughts:

“The overall theme of the address is that government is there to do stuff for you,” he said.  “He starts out making remarks about America being a country that values free enterprise and rewards individual initiative…and yet he offers proposals for government intervention after intervention after intervention,… and there’s not much there at all about freeing up the labor market or trying to do things like reducing America’s absurdly high level of corporate tax.”

Specifically, Gregg wanted to view the speech through a Catholic lens, using the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity:

Obama, he said, “basically seems to think the government, and specifically the federal government, should be intervening all over the place in the economy. He talks about the administration partnering with a certain number of communities throughout the U.S. You have to say, ‘Well, why does he think the federal government needs to be involved in these situations?’”

Obama said, for example, that his administration will “begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit [economically] towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.”

“Subsidiarity would suggest that surely one should be looking at other communities both in terms of local and state government,” said Gregg, “but also the actual communities themselves, if we’re serious about dealing with some of these problems.”

Read “A Catholic’s Take on Obama’s State of the Union Address” at

Sam Gregg is author of “Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture and How American Can Avoid a European Future”.

Over on the Huffington Post, Andreas Widmer, Acton’s Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship, suggests that Pope Benedict completed the work of John Paul and then laid the groundwork for the New Evangelization but recognized that that project should be headed by someone else:

Before we move on, we need to stop and reflect on what just happened — not just in the past seven years, but the last 70 years. Upon closer examination of the facts, observers will see that this was a strategic decision, and not one done in a moment of weakness or despair.

Every papacy has a “theme” or an “aim.” John Paul II’s pontificate was focused on realigning the implementation of Vatican II and combating communism and materialism. By contrast Benedict’s aim, I believe, was to bring the Church to the doorsteps of what Catholic theologian and thought leader George Weigel calls the next chapter in Church history: Evangelical Catholicism. In order to achieve this goal, Benedict needed to finish the implementation of Vatican II and set the stage for this new chapter in Church life.

Read more . . .

(Via: Mirror of Justice)

During Tuesday’s State of the Union, President Obama called for an increase in preschool education in order to prepare workers in the future:

…none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.

And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.

But today, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.

Setting aside the fact that our country has no money to expand such programs, let’s look at the idea of preschool education itself. Head Start, the government’s preschool program, was an outgrowth of Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”, and began in the 1960s. It exists in all 50 states and has served over 1 million children. We have, then, almost 40 years of data on the effectiveness of this type of education for three- and four-year olds.

It doesn’t work.

Over $160 billion dollars have been “invested” in Head Start, and the results are in:

 …children who attended Head Start are essentially indistinguishable from a control group of students who didn’t.What’s so damning is that this study used the best possible method to review the program: It looked at a nationally representative sample of 5,000 children who were randomly assigned to either the Head Start (“treatment”) group or to the non-Head Start (“control”) group.

Andrew J. Coulson of the Cato Institute calls Head Start a “tragic waste of money”, and states there is no category – academics, social skills, emotional development, health – where children in Head Start did better than those who had not attended a non-Head Start program.

Even the government knows this is true. The Department of Health and Human Services has admitted “by third grade, the $8 billion Head Start program had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants. On a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on children.”

Increasing government preschool programs is sentimental mythology: we have to do something for the children, even if it doesn’t work. It makes us feel better. It’s a bad idea, Mr. President. It was a bad idea 40 years ago, and it’s a bad idea now. We don’t dare waste one more penny in our debt-laden nation, and we certainly can’t afford to continue to use our kids as guinea pigs in an experiment that fails them, and fails our nation.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Least of These
Anthony Esolen, Public Discourse

Our government has failed to admit that its own selfishness is the root of many societal problems it has tried to address.

Is There a Place for Liberal Arts in Business?
Laura Entis, Inc.

Math and science education is all the rage these days, but is there still room for liberal arts in the business world? Here’s a case for why it’s useful.

Presenting the Case for School Choice
Jason Stverak, Roll Call

America’s education system is floundering, and expanding funding incentives for other educational environments can help.

The Eight Most Common Myths about Wealth, Poverty, and Free Enterprise
Jay Richards, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

When we take the time to learn basic economic facts, we are exploring an area of God’s dominion that he has given us to cultivate. When we engage with economic truths, we practice loving the Lord with all our mind.

Blog author: abradley
Thursday, February 14, 2013

It is arguable that celebrated rapper Lil’ Wayne has completely lost his mind. In his newly released, grossly pathetic song “Karate Chop” the rapper spits in the face of the family of civil rights martyr Emmett Till by juxtaposing a reference to sexual conquest with the brutal race-driven murder of the teenager in 1955. In the song “Karate Chop (Remix),” Lil’ Wayne says that he intends to “Beat that p**sy up like Emmett Till.”

For those unfamiliar with the story, Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi at the age of 14 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. After being kidnapped, he was beaten for several hours. His murderers then gouged out one of his eyes before shooting him and tossing into the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck so his body wouldn’t float up to the surface. The plan failed and his body was discovered a few days later by two boys fishing. The incident launched a national outcry for justice when the truth about Mississippi racism was put on display when Till’s mother insisted that her son have an open casket funeral.

It is difficult to make sense of what was going through the minds of all those associated with the song. And who at Epic Records thought it was a good idea to release this song? Lil’ Wayne’s music continues to hold its place as an enemy of civil society. Syracuse University professor Dr. Boyce Watkins rightly observes,

Hip-hop music is one of the most powerful and persuasive art forms in the history of the world, and it is now being used to enslave the minds of young black people so that they might become food for the prison industrial complex. Lil Wayne’s reference to Till is just the latest effort to dumb down black America and to produce messages that are nothing short of disgustingly toxic.

As an African American, L.A. Reid, chairman and CEO of Epic Records, should not only be ashamed of his organization for releasing the song but he should be prepared for significant market response. The entire song is a celebration of debauchery and immorality, and the fact that Lil’ Wayne’s music has fans at all, reveals how debase American culture is today. Moreover, given the fact that Wayne’s music is popular among teens and young adults of all races and economic classes and that Lil’ Wayne will continue fill stadiums for concerts might be a signal for my America’s new nickname is slowly becoming “Gomorrah.” As we can see the market is reflecting the moral commitments of American consumers. Lil’ Wayne’s music will only go away when American consumers refuse to support filth.