Posts tagged with: europe

On this edition of Radio Free Acton, we take a look at the upcoming referendum in Great Britain which will decide the fate of the UK’s membership in the European Union. Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Relations and author of The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe, joins the podcast fresh from his latest European trip and shares his analysis of the pros and cons for Britain, as well as the reaction in Brussels to the vote and what it may portend for the future of the EU.

You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below; I’ve posted links to some of the articles we discussed after the jump.


Bishop Dominique Rey speaking at Acton's April 20 conference in Rome.

Bishop Dominique Rey speaking at Acton’s April 20 conference in Rome.

Yesterday in the French section of the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, an exclusive interview finally appeared with the outspoken Bishop Dominique Rey of Toulon-Fréjus. Bishop Rey provided the interview when in Rome last month to speak about the current challenges to religious and economic freedom in Europe at the Acton Institute’s conference “Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of Our Time“.

The May 19 headline “Sortir du prêt-à-penser” (Thinking Outside the Box) was based on the bishop’s appeal for a deeper study of Leo’s XIII’s  landmark 1891 social encyclical Rerum Novarum and Catholic social doctrine in general, but also his discontent with the way secular Western culture superficially appraises human nature and commonly proposes solutions to social injustice, while leaving God, natural law and human dignity out of the larger picture. Quoting him from the April 20 conference, we read:

Any analysis Rerum Novarum is based on the certainty that the answer to the evils of our time will come not so much as a particular technical solution, but more so out of respect for the natural law, that is, for man himself as God created him, and by recognizing God’s place in the society. Only opening up to such transcendence helps resist absolute [forms of] materialism and consumerism.


The New Totalitarian TemptationActon Institute Director of International Outreach Todd Huizinga joins us on this week’s edition of Radio Free Acton to discuss his new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe. When many of us think of the European Union, we picture an organization of European democracies acting in concert on a variety of issues, and holding a common (albeit troubled) currency. But how democratic is the EU? What philosophy undergirds the European project? Is the EU splintering under the pressure of the Eurozone and migrant crises, or will the pressures currently applied to the EU lead to meaningful reform of the organization?

You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below, and be sure to pick up a copy of Todd’s excellent book.

Blog author: mvandermaas
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We’ve had a burst of media activity this week; let’s round up some of Acton’s activity on the airwaves:

Monday, February 15

Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, joined the FreedomWorks podcast to discuss his newly released book The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.

Tuesday, February 16

Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, is a native of Flint, Michigan, and recently spent some time in his hometown. WJR Radio in Detroit turned to him for a native’s perspective on the water crisis, and what his thoughts are on the cause of the crisis and the way forward for the city.

Wednesday, February 17

Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Rob Schilling on WINA Radio’s The Schilling Show in Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to discuss the economic proposals of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Gregg argues that Trump, far from being a champion of free markets, actually promotes mercantilist policies that will result in more crony capitalism. According to Gregg, voters are right to be angry at the state of politics and the economy in the US, but Trump’s proposed solutions will only make the situation worse.

We’re anticipating more interviews to come this week, and we’ll share them with you here on the PowerBlog. Stay tuned.


Pens are piled up as people hold a vigil at the Place de la Republique for victims of the terrorist attack on January 7, 2015 in Paris. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

“Dramatic events often focus our minds on the dilemmas we would prefer to ignore,” begins Samuel Gregg in a recent article for the Library of Law and Liberty. He discuses France and Situation de la France, a new book by professor of political philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Pierre Manent.

In a nation’s life, there are moments that decisively change its trajectory. One such event was the fall of France in June 1940—a humiliation from which, suggests Manent, it has never really recovered. There is no guarantee that a nation’s leaders will lead the people well in these moments: most of France followed Marshal Philippe Pétain rather than General Charles de Gaulle in that crisis. Nor are today’s leaders, Manent maintains, responding adequately to the problems violently thrust into public view by what he unabashedly describes as les actes de guerres committed by an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in early 2015.

The reaction of France’s leaders to the murder of cartoonists and Jews by three French-born Muslims in Paris, Manent observes, was to preside over mass street marches and outpourings of grief while repeating, mantra-like, the same easily disprovable bromides that follow every act of Islamist terrorism (“This has nothing to do with Islam”) and obstinately declining to consider what must be done politically if France is to defend itself against jihadism. Yet such a refusal, according to Manent, is logical because to act appropriately would mean admitting that France’s present political arrangements cannot address the new realities. The point of the book is to identify the nature of the danger, explain why France’s present political regime cannot address it, and then sketch a reasonable way forward.


The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have again brought to the forefront discussions about problems of culture faced by both Europe and the United States. The attacks have complicated western responses to the Syrian refugee crisis, with concerns about the stated intentions of groups like ISIS to smuggle operatives into western nations among the legitimate refugees in order to carry out terror operations. And of course, the questions of the compatibility of Islam with western political and economic values, as well as questions about the will of western nations to defend and uphold those values have returned as well. Acton’s Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Al Kresta last Tuesday on Ave Maria Radio’s Kresta in the Afternoon to discuss these important issues; you can listen to the full interview via the audio player below, and be sure to check out Sam’s article “The End of Europe” at Public Discourse.

The Rains Came - Beginning of the Flood Vittorio Bianchini (1797-1880/Italian)No, it’s not a regular flood. It’s a flood of immigrants – some legal, some not. Europe is getting swamped; what’s the damage going to be?

The American Interest reports that the Italian Coast Guard rescued almost 2,000 people over the weekend, bringing the number of immigrants to Italy this year alone to 90,000 (170,000 last year). The financial strain for Italy and other EU nations is becoming more and more apparent.

Many of the migrants keep making their own way to the more economically vibrant north. This in turn creates the kind of dysfunctional political dynamic on display between France and England in recent days, where the migrant crisis festering in Calais has seen as many as 5,000 migrants each day for the last six days try to force their way across the Eurotunnel by hiding in trucks and boarding trains. Eurotunnel authorities warned over the weekend that increased security at Calais, promised by both French and British ministers, would only displace the problem to other, less well-guarded ports.