Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'augustine'

Hoisting the Black Flag

“It’s possible. I kill a lot of people.” H.L. Mencken once said, “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” Over at Political Theology Today, I take a look at what a confrontation between a pirate and Alexander the Great has to teach us about politics and proximate justice, taking some cues from Augustine and Cicero, and in conversation with John Mueller and Peter Leeson. Continue Reading...

Lord Acton on Catholic and Modern Views of Liberty

One of the more famous quotes from the eminently quotable Lord Acton is his dictum, “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.” Actually, this appears in his writings in a slightly different form, as is seen below. Continue Reading...

Happy Smothers, I Mean, Mother’s Day

Augustine observes that humans are constituted in large part by their sociality. As he puts it in the City of God, “For there is nothing so social by nature as this race, no matter how discordant it has become through its fault.” I have written that a corollary of the natural law is a vision of society as one based on mutual aid. Continue Reading...

Trees, Evil, and Negative Externalities

It is a commonplace in discussions of environmental economics to consider so-called “negative externalities,” a technical term for the bad or damaging consequences of an activity that affects those outside the realm of economic decision-making. Continue Reading...

Salon.com and Augustine on Kids

There’s a pretty entertaining piece on Salon.com by Christopher Noxon, “Is my kid a jerk, or is he just 2?” There’s mild language, but the gist of the piece revolves around this observation: As much as it goes against the current mode of progressive, project-management-style parenting, I take it for granted that some kids are trouble right out of the gate. Continue Reading...

Augustine on God and Happiness

As a brief follow-up to this week’s installment of Radio Free Acton, here are some of the direct quotes from Augustine on happiness. First, he says, A joy there is that is not granted to the godless, but to those only who worship you without looking for reward, because you yourself are their joy. Continue Reading...

The ‘Emergent’ Calvin

In the prefatory address to King Francis in Calvin’s 1535 edition of the Institutes, Calvin cites Hilary of Poitiers approvingly: Indeed, Hilary considered it a great vice in his day that, being occupied with foolish reverence for the episcopal dignity, men did not realize what a deadly hydra lurked under such a mask. Continue Reading...