In the hubbub surrounding Brexit, many conservatives have cheered the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, hailing it as a win for freedom, democracy, and local sovereignty.

Yet for those who disagree, support for Brexit is painted as necessarily driven by fear, xenophobia, and protectionism. Although fear of immigrants and narrow nationalism have surely played their part, such sentiments and attitudes aren’t the only drivers at play, and they mustn’t be heeded if Brexit is actually going to succeed.

Indeed, for conservatives in the vein of Edmund Burke, the reasons for supporting Brexit are necessarily different. Political withdrawal from the EU needn’t, nay, mustn’t mean isolation from outside markets or a freeze on the movement of labor.

As Hannan outlines in a marvelous speech given prior to the vote, this isn’t about protectionism, but about preserving a tradition of freedom and democracy. It isn’t about a fear of outsiders, but about a basic belief in the principle of subsidiarity.

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Bahnsen

David Bahnsen explains “value investing” at Acton University.

How should your views on morality affect your investment strategy? David Bahnsen, Chief Investment Officer at The Bahnsen Group, argues in an Acton University presentation titled “Value Investing” that the question is a surprisingly complex one. He begins by outlining the purpose of investment consistent with its definition: to make a profit. Without growth, there is no investing. Similarly, there is no such thing as a risk free investment. Biblical investment is therefore rooted in prudent risk taking.

When designing investment portfolios, who determines what “socially responsible” means? There is no universal, objective determine, and Bahnsen argues either fundamentalists or environmentalists determine what it means. Fundamentalist portfolios might avoid investing in tobacco or alcohol, and environmentalist portfolios might stray from fossil fuels. (more…)

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Father Benjamin Fiiriter before an Acton University lecture.

Father Benjamin Fiiriter traveled over 20 hours from Ghana to attend Acton University earlier this month. He works in the Diocese of Wa in various capacities at the Finance Office, Estates Office and Procuration, Pontifical Mission Societies and the General Correspondence of the Bishop and the Curia. In his extensive work with Church documents, he felt a formal “academic and spiritual refresher” was necessary. He was not disappointed. Among his favorite courses were Christian Anthropology, which has a “wide and deep pertinence to [Ghanaian] culture”, as well as Islam 101, which is also “extremely relevant in [Ghanaian] society.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
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Thomas Sowell’s Escape from Socialism
Joe Carter, The Stream

Sowell thought his way into Marxism, then back out again into a vision of freedom.

How Failures Helped Lead to Success in New York’s War on Poverty
Linda Gibbs and Robert Doar, Washington Monthly

“You might say, why should we pay people for doing what they are supposed to do?” Bloomberg asked a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in August 2007. “I think it is a fair question.”

North Carolina’s Light Rail System A New Poster Boy For Cronyism
Greg Pulscher , Opportunity Lives

The contrast is striking: legislators on one hand force taxpayers to subsidize wildly expensive and inefficient light rail lines while imposing charges on wildly popular, affordable, and efficient transportation alternatives developed by free-market entrepreneurs.

Hayek in the Hill Country
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

In Austin, a textbook case of arbitrary regulation and its costs.

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Jeffrey Tucker lectures at Acton University.

The industrial revolution did not begin in the eighteenth century, but was a gradual process of development comprised of the individual actions of thousands of innovators across time. The dramatic changes in the world have come about partially due to the technological growth, some of which developed out of this revolution of industry. It is not the result of a few “great, singular men”, but of many interconnected individual innovations. Jeffrey Tucker, Director of Content at FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) painted a vivid picture of the role of technology and ideas in shaping the world we live in today in an Acton University lecture titled “Technology and Markets: Medieval Times to Modernity.” He emphasized the importance of the medieval era for technological growth and formation, particularly the gradual emergence of the social norm of respecting the property rights of others.

Despite the importance of property rights, Tucker argues that ideas should not be thought of as property. (more…)

7figuresA new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation reports on the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. Here are seven figures you should know from the study about trends in religious hostilities:

1. Of the 198 countries included in the study — covering 99.5 percent of the world’s population — 24 percent had high or very high levels of government restrictions in 2014 (the most recent year for which data are available), down from 28 percent in 2013. (Note: North Korea is not included in the study.)

2. The share of countries with high or very high social hostilities involving religion, which dropped from 27 percent to 23 percent. The increase in the number of countries with religion-related terrorist activity – which is counted as a social hostility in this study – was offset by decreases in the number of countries that experienced other types of social hostilities involving religion.
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Students attend the launch of the 'Brighter Future In' campaign bus at Exeter University in Exeter, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool/File Photo

REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool/File Photo

The EU’s bureaucracy underlies the British voter’s desire to leave the Union. In his June 26 piece for The Catholic World Report, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg maps out the EU’s origins and decline, and Britain’s consequential cry to leave its grasp. Gregg explains that although British voters chose to vote for Brexit for various reasons, “It’s hard, however, to deny that the EU’s top-down approach to public life, its stealth supplanting of national laws, and, perhaps above all, the sheer arrogance of its political-bureaucratic leadership played a major role in causing 52 percent of British voters to say that enough was enough.”

Gregg reveals that German economist Wilhelm Röpke  prophesied the EU’s descent and his predictions were “spot-on”. Due to the actualization of Röpke’s warnings and Britain’s subsequent vote for Brexit, Britain’s next prime minister “will require considerable dexterity” to clear away the debris left from the division. (more…)