Why great men are almost always bad men

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is the most famous quote by the English Catholic historian Sir John Dalberg-Acton. But what exactly did he mean by it? That particular quote comes from a letter to Bishop Creighton in which Lord Acton explains that historians should condemn murder, theft, and violence whether committed by an individual, the state, or the Church. Continue Reading...

How Does Your State Rank For Integrity?

When Americans think of corruption, we tend to think of third world countries where getting anything done often requires bribing local government officials. We tend not to have such problems here; our corruption is more subtle and sophisticated, and often involves state level lawmakers. Continue Reading...

Does Slave Redemption Increase Slavery?

Thousands of girls and women in Iraq and Syria have been captured by the Islamic State and sold into sex slavery. But one Iraqi man is trying to save them by buying sex slaves in order to free and reunite them with their families. Continue Reading...

How Corrupt is Your State Government?

Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. While it isn’t as endemic in the U.S. as it is in some countries (Somalia, North Korea, and Afghanistan being the most corrupt), the problem still exists. Continue Reading...

The Crisis of Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Detention Centers

“Inmates are still people, and therefore need to be treated as such, with all the challenges and potential that face all human persons,” says Acton research fellow Jordan Ballor. “One of the things it means to treat someone with the dignity they deserve as a human being is to not subject them to conditions where the threat of rape is rampant.” Earlier this year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported on one of the most overlooked threats to prisoner dignity — sexual victimization by correctional authorities. Continue Reading...

Which U.S. States are the Most Corrupt?

There’s an old saying that corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency. That combination makes state-level governments especially prone to the temptations of corruption. A new study in Public Administration Review, “The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. Continue Reading...

Rationing by Rudeness

In an article in the Journal of Markets & Morality, Ryan Langrill and Virgil Henry Storr examine “The Moral Meanings of Markets.” They argue that “traditional defenses of the morality of the market tend to inadequately articulate the moral meanings of markets.” Such defenses tend to argue from practical, even pragmatic or utilitarian, grounds. Continue Reading...