Posts tagged with: Conservatism in the United States

Thomas-Sowell-Escaping-Socialism-900Earlier today I mentioned that economist Thomas Sowell was retiring from writing his syndicated column. For decades Sowell, age 86, has been one of the leading thinkers in the libertarian and conservative circles. But what is less known is the intellectual journey he took from being an advocate of socialism to a champion of free markets.

This past summer I wrote an article for The Stream examining on how Sowell thought his way into Marxism, then back out again into a vision of freedom:
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sowellOver the past few decades, economist Thomas Sowell, age 86, has been one of the most effective, yet under-appreciated, proponents of conservative and libertarian economic thought. He is also one of our most powerful critics of the often destructive and harmful effects of liberal economic policies. Today he announced he’s retiring from writing his syndicated column.

In honor of his retirement, here are six quotes by Sowell:

On government spending: “Elections should be held on April 16th—the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”

On healthcare: “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.” (Source)
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IMG_1902In his many addresses to the nation, President Calvin Coolidge made a point of routinely redirecting the country’s attention to the “things of the spirit.”

In his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, he encouraged the country to reorient its vision of abundance, progressing not only in material prosperity, but also “in moral and spiritual things.” In his reflections on the Declaration of Independence, he reminded us that ours is a liberty not meant for “pagan materialism,” which would surely turn our prosperity into “a barren sceptre in our grasp.” Years earlier, as President of the Massachusetts Senate, he urged legislators to remember that “statutes must appeal to more than material welfare.” “Man has a spiritual nature,” he continued. “Touch it, and it must respond as the magnet responds to the pole.”

All in all, the message was consistent: “The things of the spirit come first.” For Coolidge, America had entered an “age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things,” and thus, was in sore need of such reminders. When it came to an occasion such as Christmas — a season compounded with those same temptations of materialism — the theme would continue.

“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind,” Coolidge wrote in a 1927 Christmas greeting. “To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things there will be born in us a Savior and over us all will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.” That short refrain is likely the most widely read of Coolidge’s reflections on Christmas, but after the presidency, he offered a more extended view. (more…)

According to a common political narrative prior to the 2016 elections, progressivism has been ascendent and conservatism has been on an inevitable decline in America in significant part due to demographic changes. Among those changes is the growth of the Latino population, which is assumed to be a natural constituency for progressive politics. In the wake of the election, this may be one among many narratives that need to be re-thought.

Evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments in Latino communities, and they demonstrates a high affinity to a pro-growth, free oriented agenda. Among Hispanics who affiliate with evangelical denominations, 40 percent identify as conservative against just 25 percent who identify as liberal. Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, joined us here at the Acton Institute on November 17th to argue that past failures to garner support for market ideas among Latino populations have not been due to a rejection of those ideas by Latinos; rather, the failures have been the result of a lack of effort to promote the virtues of free-market, pro-liberty ideas within that community.

You can view Garza’s full Acton Lecture Series presentation via the video player below.

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
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Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, who is president of the Ruth Institute as well as a senior fellow in economics here at the Acton Institute, debated Peter Jaworski, a co-author of the recent book, Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests, at an event hosted by the Austin Institute.

Check out this engaging discussion about not only questions of the morality and legality of things like prostitution and kidney transplants, but the picture of the human person on offer from differing philosophical and economic programs.

I also reviewed Markets without Limits for Books & Culture, “Markets & Moral Myopia.”

On October 27, 2016, Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico addressed the audience at the Acton Institute’s 26th Anniversary Dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his remarks, he reflected on the state of American politics and culture, the societal crisis we find ourselves in, and proposed a way forward based on a vision of a free and virtuous society.

You can view his entire address below.

kuyper1On this edition of Radio Free Acton, we speak with Jordan Ballor, a general editor of the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology, a major series of new translations of Abraham Kuyper’s key works. We discuss the genesis and scope of the project, and examine what Kuyper has to say to modern Christians and why his contributions remain relevant a century after their initial publication.

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