enemy-posterThis month mark the fiftieth anniversary of the China’s Cultural Revolution. Here are five facts you should know about one of the darkest times in modern human history:

1. The Cultural Revolution — officially known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution — was a social and political movement within China that attempted to eradicate all traces of traditional cultural elements and replace them with Mao Zedong Thought (or Maoism), a form of Marxist political theory based on the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist revolutionary and founding father of the People’s Republic of China. Mao governed as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976.

2. The beginning of the Cultural Revolution is traced to May 16, 1966, when Mao issued a document that included ‘indictments’ against his political foes. In what has become known as the “May 16 notification”, Mao claimed that, “Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists.” Although Mao unveiled his intention in May, it was not until August that the Communist Party issued the “Decision Concerning The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which outlined the Chairman’s goals. The two primary institutions that Mao wanted to eliminate were education and religion, the main threats to Mao Zedong Thought.
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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
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How Vocation Brings Dignity to Your Work
Tim Challies, TGC

As Christians, you and I are responsible to give all of who we are what we do to the Lord.

Europe: Allah Takes over Churches, Synagogues
Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute

Last year, at the famous Biennale artistic festival in Venice, Swiss artist Christian Büchel took the ancient Catholic Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia and converted it into a mosque.

Supreme Court Sends 2 More Contraceptive Mandate Cases Back To Circuit Courts
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The U.S. Supreme Court today sent back to Courts of Appeal two more of the cases involving challenges by religious non-profits to the contraceptive coverage mandate accommodation.

Theory vs. Evidence: Unemployment Insurance edition
Noah Smith, Noahpinion

The argument over “theory vs. evidence” is usually oversimplified and silly, since you need both to understand the world. But there is a sense in which I think evidence really does “beat” theory most of the time, at least in econ.

In the May 20 issue of the London-based Catholic Herald, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg has a new piece that draws on his book For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good. “Rather than simply engaging in blanket condemnations that occasionally verge on moralism and which reflect little actual knowledge of the financial sector, we should follow our forebears’ example by first seeking to understand modern financial practices,” Gregg writes.

The article is not currently available online. The Catholic Herald has kindly shared it with PowerBlog readers as a PDF. Click on the following link to download a copy of the article: “Think twice before you condemn bankers”

CEI
By now, readers should be aware of the campaign waged against the Competitive Enterprise Institute led by Al Gore and a cadre of attorneys generals with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the top of the rogues’ gallery. The subpoena goes so far as to demand CEI produce “all documents or communications concerning research, advocacy, strategy, reports, studies, reviews or public opinions regarding Climate Change sent or received from” such specifically named think tanks as the Acton Institute, The Heartland Institute and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as well as industry organizations the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Oil & Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute.

It’s the latest volley from the left – including religious shareholder activists’ often successful efforts to force corporations withdraw financial support and cede membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council – to stifle any whiff of opposition when it comes to the hypothetical, manmade catastrophic climate-change theory. ALEC, in fact, joins Acton and many other groups named in the subpoena, and leaders from these organizations have joined CEI in a strongly worded full-page advertisement that appeared in the New York Times last week:

This abuse of power is unacceptable. It is unlawful. And it is un-American.

Regardless of one’s views on climate change, every American should reject the use of government power to harass or silence those who hold differing opinions. This intimidation campaign sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the rights of anyone who disagrees with the government’s position – whether it’s vaccines, GMOs, or any other politically charged issue. Law enforcement officials should never use their powers to silence participants in political debates.

For those who haven’t been shocked out of complacency by this latest, blatant abuse of politically empowered legal authority marshaled in an effort to shut down free speech and exchange of scientific public policy, allow your writer to recap briefly. U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker – one member of Gore and Schneiderman’s lawyerly goon squad, which also includes AGs from California, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington State – issued a subpoena to CEI in late March. (more…)

GE CropsIn a massive new 420-page report, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops summarizes their findings on the effects and future genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Here are five facts you should know from the report:

1. Biologists have used genetic engineering of crop plants to express novel traits since the 1980s. But to date, genetic engineering has only been used widely in a few crops for only two traits — insect resistance and herbicide resistance.

2. Despite the claims by critics of GE crops, there is not evidence they have had adverse effects on human health. The committee examined epidemiological data on incidence of cancers and other human-health problems and found that foods that used GE crops were as safe as foods that used non-GE crops. Additionally, a large number of experimental studies provided reasonable evidence that animals were also not harmed by eating food derived from GE crops.
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At the Catholic Workd Report, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg observes that, as populist regimes implode across Latin America, it’s unclear that the Catholic Church in the age of Francis is well-equipped to cope with whatever comes next.

Since Pope Francis often states that realities are more important than ideas, let’s recall some basic realities about presidents Correa and Morales. Both are professed admirers of Chávez and committed to what Correa calls “socialism of the 21st century” or what Morales describes as “communitarian socialism.”

Both men have also followed the classic populist playbook. This involves (1) dismantling constitutional restraints on power; (2) blaming their nations’ problems on foreigners and foreign interests; (3) following a political logic of internal confrontation with those designated as “enemies of the people”; (4) fostering a cult of personality around a charismatic leader; and (5) creating large constituencies of supporters through disbursement of state largesse. The result has not only been political oppression. The economies of Bolivia and Ecuador are now formally classified as “repressed” in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom. That means they are among the least free, most corrupt, and statist in the world.

The fact, however, that Correa and Morales were invited to speak at a conference at the Holy See reflects the Church’s ambiguous relationship with left-populist movements and governments in recent years. The Venezuelan bishops’ willingness, for instance, to name and shame a populist regime so directly for its destructive policies is the exception rather than the rule.

Read “Pope Francis, Populism, and the Agony of Latin America” by Samuel Gregg at the Catholic World Report.

The spring session of the 2016 Acton Lecture Series closed on May 17th with an address by Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico entitled “Freedom Indivisible: Private Property as the Solid Ground for Religious Liberty,” which examined how private property provides an essential foundation for religious liberty in a free and virtuous society. We’re pleased to share the lecture with you via the video player below.