As American prepare to celebrate the 239th anniversary of the founding of our nation, enjoy this rendition of “American the Beautiful.” Performed by the choir of Hillsdale College, under the direction of James A. Holleman and Debra Wyse, it is both a visual and musical reminder of why so many of us dearly love our nation.
At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson provides some depressing numbers related to lotteries in America. Here are seven figures you should know from his article:
1. Americans spend more on lottery tickets than on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and recorded music sales combined — $70 billion on lotto games in 2014.
2. In five states, people spend more than $600 dollars per person per year on lottery tickets.
3. The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets.
4. Winners of more than $600 are subject to 45 percent windfall taxes on their winnings.
5. Out of the 20 counties in North Carolina with poverty rates higher than 20 percent, 18 had lottery sales topping the statewide average of $200 per adult.
6. As recently as 1980, just 14 states held lotteries. Today it’s 43.
7. As recently as 2009, lotteries provided more revenue than state corporate-income taxes in 11 of the 43 states where they were legal.
Prof. Harry Veryser stars in a new video from ISI that explores some of the lessons about private property, rights, responsibilities, and stewardship that can be gleaned from the thought of Thomas Aquinas.
For a much more in-depth exposition of the connections between and lessons from Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, check out John Mueller’s Redeeming Economics (ISI, 2010). For more, check out a slate of review essays on Mueller’s book published in Research in the History of Economic Thought & Methodology, including a piece by me, “The Economies of Divine and Human Love.”
Subsidiarity is often described as a norm calling for the devolution of power or for performing social functions at the lowest possible level. At the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Rev. Robert Sirico told a story about stickball that illustrates how the concept of subsidiarity applies in our neighborhoods.
Yesterday was the third anniversary of Chuck Colson’s passing. The Acton Institute had the privilege of conducting the last public interview with Chuck before his death. It serves as a wonderful introduction to and reminder of Chuck’s love for Christ and his world.
While living in Nigeria, a twenty-four-year old woman named Ope met a man offering to help her find employment abroad. She was told she would be working as a nanny or in a factory. Instead, she was forced into prostitution. “It was like I was a slave,” she says.
The BBC has put together an animated version of Ope’s story, a heart-rending tale of modern-day slavery.
Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, passed away last week. For many of us, it was a sad event. Nimoy had created a memorable character that is an enduring and endearing part of our pop culture lexicon. While my colleague Jordan Ballor took a look last week at Spock’s “live long and prosper” tagline, I’d like to refer to the more human side of Spock and the world of Star Trek.
Stephen D. Greydanus at the National Catholic Register reflects on what Nimoy and Star Trek taught us about humanity. The series creator, Gene Rodenberry, envisioned a world where poverty had been eliminated, money was unnecessary, and creatures of very different origins learned to work together for peace and mutual respect. (more…)
Mr. Spock would wish someone farewell by saluting them and saying, “Live long and prosper.” Other Vulcans or those in the know might respond, “Peace and long life.”
Things go in cycles, and we’ve been hearing a lot about “flourishing” lately. I’m a bit tired of it, frankly, and am making a plea for speaking about “prosperity” instead.
At least for today, that seems appropriate (and as long as we remember that, as the preacher of true prosperity put it, “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”).
For more on the religious heritage of the Vulcan salute, check out its origin story.
It’s always good to welcome old friends to the Acton Building. Last week it was our pleasure to welcome Jeffrey Tucker, author, speaker, and the founder and Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me to Grand Rapids in order to deliver the first Acton Lecture Series lecture of 2015, entitled “Capitalism is About Love.” (We’ll be posting audio and video of his address later this week.)
Jeffrey took some time to join me in the Acton Studios to talk about the premise of his lecture, and about his take on the state of the world as we head into 2015. You can listen to the latest edition of Radio Free Acton featuring my interview with Jeffrey Tucker via the audio player below.
The film industry quite often gets religion wrong. Either the industry completely misunderstands faith (think Noah and the recent Exodus), or the movies are so saccharine that theaters ought to offer diabetes testing for movie-goers on the way out of the theater (Left Behind and anything else Kirk Cameron has been involved with). This is really too bad, because movies are an art form that have the power to move us, to make us think, to ponder more deeply critical questions of our fallen human nature, our relationships with others and with God.
Zelda Caldwell, at Aleteia, has put together a nifty list of ten great religious films you can watch now on Netflix. Each of these has their own merit, and there is a nice range of films included. I’ll note just a few here: (more…)