Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, April 28, 2016
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The Cumulative Cost of Regulations
Bentley Coffey, Patrick McLaughlin, Pietro Peretto, Mercatus Center

Federal regulations have accumulated over many decades, piling up over time. When regulators add more rules to the pile, analysts often consider the likely benefits and compliance costs of the additional rules. But regulations have a greater effect on the economy than analysis of a single rule in isolation can convey.

The Spirituality of Snoopy
Jonathan Merritt, The Atlantic

How the faith of Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, shaped his work.

Venezuela’s Government Just Instituted a Two-Day Workweek, Because It Needs to Save Electricity
Jordan Weissmann, Slate

Venezuela’s years-long economic disintegration hit a sad new milestone on Tuesday, when President Nicolas Maduro announced that government employees would work only on Mondays and Tuesdays for at least the next two weeks to save scarce electricity.

Summit aims to halt anti-Christian persecution
Catholic News Agency

This week’s #WeAreN2016 Congress aims to call on the world to stop the persecution of Christians and other minorities. Victims of persecution and leaders from around the world will speak about the need for action in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
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batman-v-superman-poster-batman-vs-superman-and-the-dc-movies-slow-down“The real hero of the recently released Batman v. Superman film is an often overshadowed character, Bruce Wayne,” says Daniel Menjivar in this week’s Acton Commentary. “Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne is the CEO of Wayne Enterprises and the hero that Gotham, and in the case of this film, Metropolis needs too. Bruce Wayne is, in fact, a capitalist superhero.”

In an opening scene, we find Wayne landing in the city of Metropolis as Superman and General Zod battle in the skies and skyscrapers above him. As citizens flee the ongoing destruction, Bruce Wayne does the opposite, dodging collapsing buildings and abandoned vehicles. We find that his goal is Wayne Tower, and his mission is to oversee the evacuation of his employees. Upon arriving at the tower Bruce immediately begins helping those around him, pulling a man from the rubble and saving a little girl from falling debris. Wayne does not sit back safely from afar and either mourn the loss of human capital or make mental notes to hire more employees. Neither does he do a cost-benefit analysis of trying to save those who work for him: instead he knows the value of human life and risks his own to save it.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here. And in case you aren’t familiar with the movie Menjivar is referring to, here is the official trailer:
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millenials-phonesA recent national survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics finds that a majority of Millennials (18- to 29-year olds) do not support capitalism as a political theory. One-third of them, however, do support socialism.

As a rule, I try not to put too much stock in such surveys because opinion polls make us dumb. But it’s become obvious that a significant portion of younger American are truly so under-educated that they truly believe socialism is preferable to capitalism.

Perhaps the problem is merely one of language. The reality is that the most ardent “capitalists” don’t like “capitalism” either.

Capitalism is merely an economic system in which the modes and means of production are mostly or entirely privately owned. That’s a rather broad categorization that includes such systems as corporatism, crony capitalism, social democracy, state capitalism, and welfare capitalism. Even those of us who can be described as “capitalists” would reject most of the other forms of capitalism we don’t like. (Which is why we tend to dislike the  unhelpful word “capitalism.”)

What many of us (I’m tempted to say true capitalists) prefer is not an amorphous capitalism, but an economic system that is outgrowth of the natural order of liberty: a free economy. There’s no agreed upon term for the system of a free economy (which is why capitalism is often used as a substitute) but it includes free people engaging in free enterprise in free markets. A free economy is not a laissez-faire, each-to-his-own system of consumerism. It’s a system in which people are allowed to use their resources and abilities most effectively to serve others.

My naïve hope is that if more Millennials understood that capitalism is mostly used as a derogatory term free enterprise and economic liberty, they’d realize that they really do support it after all. But in case they aren’t convinced here are five reasons why you, young Millennial reader, should support capitalism:
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Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo of EWTN speaks at the 2016 Acton Lecture Series

It was a pleasure to host Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over, as part of the Acton Lecture Series on April 14th, and on today’s edition of Radio Free Acton, we’re pleased to bring you a conversation between Raymond Arroyo and Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico. Over the course of their wide-ranging discussion, they talk about the life and legacy of EWTN Founder Mother Angelica, the power of story in shaping our culture, and review the pontificate of Pope Francis.

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

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
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Three Ideas for Supporting Low-Wage Workers
David Lapp, Family Studies

Reforming the earned income tax credit’s payment structure could make it even more helpful to working Americans.

Why K-12 education needs the entrepreneurial spirit
Frederick M. Hess, AEI Ideas

The entrepreneurial premise is that American education is in need of transformative improvement.

America’s high school seniors’ reading and math scores have hit a wall
Joy Resmovits, L.A. Times

America’s high school seniors’ reading and math test scores are barely holding steady or slumping, according to national standardized test results released late Tuesday.

What a 19th Century Political Thinker Can Teach Us About ‘True’ Conservativism
Robert Moffit , The Daily Signal

There is a North Star that should simultaneously guide and unify American conservatives: fidelity to the Constitution and a clear understanding of what Alexander Hamilton called the “new political science” undergirding it.

cpcIn 1998, the U.S. took an important step in promoting religious freedom as a foreign policy objective with the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRF Act). Designed to “strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion,” the law authorized “actions in response to violations of religious freedom in foreign countries.”

The act also requires that that Secretary of State identify “countries of particular concern,” a designation reserved for nation’s guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The classification is used for countries that have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” including violations such as:
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Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
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Post harvest cultivation - geograph.org.uk - 1223870A distinctive of neo-Calvinism, that movement associated with a late-nineteenth century Dutch revival of Reformational Christianity in the Netherlands, is its focus in emphasis if not also in substance not only on individuals but also on institutions. As Richard Mouw puts it, “At the heart of the neo-Calvinist perspective on cultural multiformity is an insistence that the redemption accomplished by Christ is not only about the salvation of individuals—it is the reclaiming of the whole creation.”

This holistic perspective has led to a variety of speculations and opinions about the (dis)continuity between the redemptive-historical transitions from creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. In last week’s Acton Commentary, a section out of Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace captures one of Kuyper’s key insights that the “fruit of common grace” has significance not only for this world but for the next as well.
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