envyActon’s Director of Research, Sam Gregg, ponders “Envy In A Time Of Inequality” in today’s American Spectator. Envy, he opines, is the worst human emotion. From the time that Cain killed Abel to today’s “near-obsession with inequality,” Gregg says envy is driving public policy…and that’s not good.

The situation isn’t helped by the sheer looseness of contemporary discussions of economic inequality. Inequality and poverty, for instance, aren’t the same things. That, however, doesn’t stop people from conflating them. Likewise, important distinctions between inequalities in income, wealth, education, and access to technology are regularly blurred. As recalled in a paper recently published by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, wealth inequalities can have greater impact upon people’s comparative abilities to build up capital for the future than income inequality. Yet we spend most of our time anguishing about the latter.

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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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Is Next Step in War on Religious Liberty Inspection of Religious Schools? That’s Happening in the UK
Genevieve Wood, The Daily Signal

In the name of tolerance, religious schools (to date, Christian and Jewish schools) in the UK are being “inspected” and in the case of one school, “downgraded,” for violating new education department guidelines the government there refers to as “British values.”

China Moves to Enact Rule of Law, With Caveats
Andrew Jacobs and Chris Buckley, New York Times

Communist Party leaders, seeking to address widespread dissatisfaction with China’s politicized and corrupt judiciary, endorsed a raft of legal changes on Thursday to foster a more predictable legal system while keeping the courts under the firm control of the party.

How Does Religion Influence Family Formation Decisions?
Maria E. Kaufmann, Family Studies

It takes a complex of religious factors—like fervor and community religiosity—to influence family formation practices.

The Wisdom of Peter Thiel
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

When God and his Word disappear from public life, the human community takes their place and supplies all us with its own values, norms, beliefs, and aims. The outcome isn’t a vibrant humanism. No, Thiel concludes, “We lose the freedom to think for ourselves.”

7figuresFamily structure is one of the most significant, though oft-overlooked, factors that affect the economic fortunes of Americans. A new study from AEI titled “For Richer or Poorer” documents the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America and shows how radically it can affect income.

Here are seven figures you should know from the study:
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ebola trainingThe Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been criticized recently for its handling of the Ebola cases in the United States, and for its lax suggestions regarding travelers from countries where Ebola is rampant. In today’s City Journal, Heather Mac Donald suggests that the CDC’s lack of leadership has more to do with political correctness in the public health arena and their version of “social justice” than with science.

Science would assert that people make choices that have an effect on their health. For instance, if you have high cholesterol, you will need to cut down on fatty foods. We know we need to exercise daily to maintain a healthy body. If you choose to drink alcohol to excess, it will harm your liver. Mac Donald says that the public health establishment ignores personal responsibility in the name of political correctness. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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Let’s Talk About How Islam Has Been Hijacked
Aly Salem, Wall Street Journal

I’m appalled by what is done in the name of my religion. Yet my American friends don’t want to hear it.

How Churches Should NOT Address Political Issues
John Lomperis, Juicy Ecumenism

What are good and bad ways for a church or denomination to officially address political issues?

Will The Real Government Crony Please Stand Up?
Ilya Shapiro, The Federalist

A North Carolina court case involving pushy dentists showcases how bad laws let some people employ government power to block entrepreneurs.

Judge Sides With IRS, Dismisses Lawsuits by Conservative Groups Over Targeting Scandal
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sided today with the Internal Revenue Service and dismissed lawsuits by tea party organizations seeking redress for improper delays and scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 27, 2014
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What’s the perfect minimum wage? $10 an hour? $20? $50?

Economist David Henderson explains why it should be “zero.” As Henderson explains, when the state mandates a minimum wage (or an increase), it makes harder for unemployed people to find work and forces business owners to cut the hours of lower-skilled employees.

AirportOver at The Federalist today, I ruminate on a conversation I overheard at an airport recently. I was an innocent auditor, I assure you. In the words of Sam Gamgee to Gandalf, “I ain’t been droppin’ no eaves sir, honest.”

The conversation had to do with the prices of goods and services on offer at airports. To simply blame (or credit) capitalism with the situation is misleading. As I conclude, “We should try to understand the words people are using, the way they are using them, and the assumptions underlying such uses.” After all, capitalism means different things to different people in different contexts.
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child south sudanChildren in poor and war-torn countries are often trafficking victims. They are lured from their homes with promises of making money in factories or at farms. Sometimes they are kidnapped. And sometimes, they are recruited for war.

Tom Burridge of BBC News reports on the war in South Sudan, and the prevalence of “recruiting” young boys to fight. On a normal school day, Burridge says that more than 100 boys are kidnapped from their classroom and told they must fight in their country’s civil war. (more…)

shadyBy giving us the ability to buy and sell, says Wayne Grudem, God has given us a wonderful mechanism through which we can do good for each other.

Buying and selling are activities unique to human beings out of all the creatures that God made. Rabbits and squirrels, dogs and cats, elephants and giraffes know nothing of this activity. Through buying and selling God has given us a wonderful means to bring glory to him.

We can imitate God’s attributes each time we buy and sell, if we practice honesty, faithfulness to our commitments, fairness, and freedom of choice. Moreover, commercial transactions provide many opportunities for personal interaction, as when I realize that I am buying not just from a store but from a person, to whom I should show kindness and God’s grace. In fact, every business transaction is an opportunity for us to be fair and truthful and thus to obey Jesus’ teaching: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 27, 2014
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Religious Sanctimony in Ferguson
Mark Tooley, The American Spectator

How nice of them to offer forgiveness to police they’ve already convicted.

Criminalizing the Hands That Feed the Homeless
Matt Schiavenza, The Atlantic

More cities are trying to stop residents and food pantries from helping people secure a hot meal.

Shock! Farm Bill Boondoggle Already Bigger than Politicians, Media Promised
Scott Lincicome, The Federalist

You’ll never believe it, you guys. The 2014 Farm Bill could – and I know, this is gonna sound crazy – impose more harm on US taxpayers and consumers than our political and media elite promised us just a few months ago.

Three Views: Do the Common Core Education Standards Endanger Religious Freedom?
Kevin Theriot, Karen Swallow Prior, Kristen Blair, Christianity Today

Why a nationwide standard for classrooms may cause concern.