Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'philosophy'

Liberalism in all things except liberalism

Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, recently published a review of Maurice Cowling’s 1963 book Mill and Liberalism, in which Cowling warns of the tendency towards “moral totalitarianism” in John Stuart Mill’s “religion of liberalism.” Gregg acknowledges fifty-four years after Cowling’s warning, “significant pressures are now brought to bear on those whose views don’t fit the contemporary liberal consensus.” The book’s analysis “provides insights not only into liberal intolerance in our time but also into how to address it.” Mill was not the “secular saint of tolerance” many suggest he was. Continue Reading...

Don’t let culture define religious liberty

When a fashion designer recently called for an industry boycott of Melania Trump due to her political beliefs, plenty of progressives called it brave and principled. Yet when Christian wedding photographers express their own disagreements or beliefs, acting on one’s conscience somehow becomes a “sticky issue.” That’s how one student describes it in a series of interviews at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Continue Reading...

Financial endeavors can serve the common good

“Gregg lays out a careful and detailed argument for the proposition that, done well, financial endeavors can serve the common good,” says Adam J. MacLeod in a review of Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg’s most recent book For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good. Continue Reading...

Brexit: national borders, democracy, jurisdiction

In a recent article for The Telegraph, Sir Roger Scruton discusses the importance of national borders in Europe and the threat that the EU poses to them.  He explains how religion once united Europe but since religion began to fade in the 17th century, territory took over as the principle that Europeans turn to in order to find unity.  Continue Reading...

Edmund Burke on economic freedom and the path to flourishing

Advocates of economic freedom have a peculiar habit of only promoting the merits of the free markets as they relate to innovation, poverty alleviation, and economic transformation. In response, critics are quick to lament a range of “disruptive” side effects, whether on local communities or human well-being. Continue Reading...

Virtuous envy?

Edward Feser, with a nod to Thomas Aquinas, discusses whether there might be such a thing as virtuous Schadenfreude. As Feser puts it, “On the one hand, the suffering of a person is not as such something to rejoice in, for suffering, considered just by itself, is an evil…. Continue Reading...

Human flourishing is a universal goal

Human knowledge and culture have exploded so thoroughly in diversity and specialization, especially in the Modern period, that few universals or unifying themes remain, says Jonathan T. Pennington. But one idea or theme that can still be identified as universal is human flourishing: Human flourishing alone is the idea that encompasses all human activity and goals because there is happiness. Continue Reading...

C. S. Lewis on selfishness vs. self-interest

C.S. Lewis wrote much about the tension between self-interest and selfishness, offering renewed clarity on these topics, says Art Lindsley. To Lewis, there is a huge difference between self-interest and selfishness, and there is a proper place for self-interest in our lives: When Lewis first came to faith, he did not think about eternal life, but focused on enjoying God in this life. Continue Reading...