Archived Posts July 2013 - Page 3 of 14 | Acton PowerBlog

No Vans Land tells the inspiring story of a small business owner taking on New York’s City Hall. Hector came here from Jamaica for opportunity. But like too many others, he has been forced to constantly defend himself against government attempts to restrict his business and protect powerful interests. The Charles Koch Institute’s new film project, Honest Enterprise, shines a light on the burden put on immigrant entrepreneurs like Hector by the federal, stand, and local governments.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, July 26, 2013
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Freedom Is Good for You
Ronald Bailey, Reason

Science proves overwhelmingly that economic freedom helps women, children, and other living things.

Metropolitan Hilarion believes that Western countries tend to dictatorship
Interfax

Modern Western states move to absolute dictatorship, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion believes.

What Everyone Ought to Know About Breadwinner Moms
Rachel Taylor, The Foundry

The Heritage Foundation and the Independent Women’s Forum hosted “Breadwinner Moms: Truth Behind the Trend” yesterday to discuss the issues surrounding the rise of high-earning never-married and family-supporting women.

Government Spends Four Times the Amount Necessary to End Poverty in America
T. Kurt Jaros, Values & Capitalism

Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute recently wrote that the US Census Bureau “estimates that our current welfare spending totals four times what would be necessary just to give all the poor the cash to bring them up to the poverty line, eliminating all poverty in America.”

the_abyss_of_inequality_3075151Earlier this week I claimed you rarely hear progressives argue that income inequality is a problem since for them it just is an injustice. But there’s another reason you rarely hear them make arguments about why income inequality is morally wrong: their actual arguments are terrible.

CNN columnist John D. Sutter recently asked four people — Nigel Warburton, a freelance philosopher and writer; Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute; Thomas Pogge, director of the Global Justice Program at Yale; and Kentaro Toyama, researcher at the University of California at Berkeley — to answer the question, “Is income inequality ‘morally wrong’?”

Sutter only summarizes their arguments, but it’s doubtful they would become more coherent or persuasive if they were in book-length form. So let’s examine each of the summaries:

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In an ambitious essay at Intercollegiate Review, James Kalb attempts to dissect the driving political forces in Western culture today. He says that while we live in a world that touts diversity, the reality is extraordinary uniformity and a distinct christ-of-the-abyssdistaste for anything outside the new norm. We have narrowed our political choices, our educational choices, our recreational and consumer choices. We say we want religious freedom, but only in a very narrow manner.

Our current public order claims to separate politics from religion, but that understates its ambition. It aspires to free public life—and eventually, since man is social, human life in general—not only from religion but also from nature and history. The intended result is an increase in freedom as man becomes his own creator. The effect, though, is that human life becomes what those in power say it is. Western political authorities now claim the right to remake the most basic arrangements. If you want to know the nature of man and the significance of life and death, you look to the political order and its authorized interpreters. That is the meaning of the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions and the transformation of abortion into a human right. Man has, in effect, become God, and politics is the authoritative expression of his mind, spirit, and will.

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Christopher Brooks, a Kern Fellow at Acton, was recently named campus dean at Moody Theological Seminary in Michigan. Brooks is a senior pastor at Evangel Ministries in Detroit and he is the host of the Equipped for Life radio broadcast which airs daily on Salem Communications-Detroit Affiliate.

John Jelinek, vice president and dean of Moody Theological Seminary, said that Brooks “has demonstrated a deep commitment to the advancement of the gospel and the work of Christ throughout Southeastern Michigan and I am pleased that he will bring his considerable talent to advancing the mission of Moody.”

Brooks was a faculty member at Acton University this year, giving a talk titled,
Church, City, and Urban Renewal. You can purchase the audio of this lecture here.

Congratulations, Chris!

Cheryl Miller, Executive Director of Perpetual Help Home (a PovertyCure partner) offers insight to poverty in America in this new video. Miller, an Acton University alumnus, focuses on the dignity of the human being.

On Tuesday eveninig, Anthony Bradley – Acton Research Fellow and associate professor of theology at The King’s College in New York City – joined host Sheila Liaugminas on Relevant Radio’s A Closer Look to discuss the sensitive topic of race relations in America, especially in light of the verdict in the George Zimmerman case in Florida. Bradley gives his perspective on the state of race relations, and offers advice on how people of good will can have honest and forthright discussions about issues of race.

You can listen to the interview via the audio player below.

TheUpcycle_featuredimage“Being less bad is not good.” This is a major theme of Cradle to Cradle, written by architect William McDonough and former Greenpeace chemist Dr. Michael Braungart back in 2002.

The book arrived like a tidal wave on the green movement and exposed the categorical deficiencies and uselessness of tags like, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” The problem highlighted in the 2002 book is not that we need to simply damage the environment less but, even worse, we lack the entrepreneurial creativity and innovation to design products that actually make the natural world better after their initial use. Eleven years later, McDonough and Braungart move the conversation forward and provide a framework to think differently in their new book, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing For Abundance.

There isn’t space here to review the entire book but the introduction and first chapter alone are enough to challenge the ongoing hegemonic perspective that sees human action as an environmental liability rather than seeing human action, as McDonough and Braungart suggests, as an asset to the flourishing of all life. First, the authors challenge readers to see the world as space teaming with abundance instead of finite resources. Just as plant and animal waste are actually complimentary nutrients in an ecosystem we should begin to think creatively about how the by-products of our manufacturing processes can become “technical nutrients” to other processes. Human action creates opportunities for positive cultivation.

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It’s become increasingly common for Christians to openly ponder and discuss the ways in which we might glorify God through our work. Yet even with this newfound attention, it can be easy to forget that the very businesses launched to harness and facilitate such work are themselves declaring the glory of God, albeit in subtle, unspoken ways.

In an essay posted at Christianity 9 to 5, author and theologian Wayne Grudem explores this angle a bit further, affirming the variety of ways we can glorify God through business — worship, evangelism, generosity, faith — but focusing more closely on one in particular: the act of imitating God. “God created us so that we would imitate him,” Grudem writes, “and so that he could look at us and see something of his wonderful attributes reflected in us.”

To imitate God is to glorify him, Grudem argues, and business, in its basic design and function, has enormous potential to imitate God through a variety of activities. Grudem offers the following five.

1. Producing Goods

We know that producing goods from the earth is fundamentally good in itself because it is part of the purpose for which God put us on the earth. Before there was sin in the world, God put Adam in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15), and God told both Adam and Eve, before there was sin, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). The word translated “subdue” (Hebrew: kabash) implies that Adam and Eve should make the resources of the earth useful for their own benefit, and this implies that God intended them to develop the earth so they could come to own agricultural products and animals, then housing and works of craftsmanship and beauty, and eventually buildings, means of transportation, cities, and inventions of all sorts. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, July 25, 2013
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The Failures of U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy
George Weigel, First Things

So if the promotion of religious freedom abroad (like its defense at home) is both the right play and the smart play, why does the United States do it so badly?

Why Big Brother Is A Big Problem
Wesley Gant, Values & Capitalism

As Professor James Otteson of Yeshiva University discusses in this Learn Liberty video, there’s a tradeoff between liberty and security, and security comes at a price—he suggests it’s a price that’s even greater than just the liberty we give up for increased security.

Can Entrepreneurs Change the Way We Do Charity?
Brian Baugus, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

After billions of dollars in foreign assistance to these nations, why are they still poor?

Mary Ann Glendon and the Structure of Religious Freedom
Richard W. Garnett, Public Discourse

For its protection and flourishing, religious freedom needs not only limited government but also a social order that gives plenty of room to civic institutions and associations.