If  you’re a young American adult (the 25-to-34 age range), and you have a good job, count yourself blessed. Most of your peers aren’t so lucky. The New York Times reports that “[o]ver the last 12 years, the United States has gone from having the highest share of employed 25- to 34-year-olds among large, wealthy economies to having among the lowest.”

Of course, young Europeans have been dealing with this for years. Greece, Spain and Portugal have unemployment rates between 17-27% (Greece being the highest), and the outlook is grim for most of the European Union (EU). Even taking into account that many young people may be studying or raising families and therefore not looking for full-time work, the deterioration of the EU’s economies is obvious. But it’s not just lack of jobs. As Samuel Gregg, Acton’s Director of Research, points out in his book Becoming Europe, “Europe’s social systems are under consider­able internal strain from the remorseless deterioration associated with unaffordable welfare states, population decline, low produc­tivity levels, and the preferential treatment of politically connected insiders.” (more…)

François Hollande

François Hollande

At The American Spectator, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg looks at France’s embattled Socialist president, François Hollande, as the first anniversary of his term in office approaches. As Hollande’s approval ratings hit new lows, “Mr. Normal,” Gregg writes, is starting to look like “Mr. Irrelevant.” What’s more, he adds, “two of the biggest problems that have corroded Hollande’s credibility: his apparent inability to address France’s economic difficulties; and a growing awareness throughout France that la grande nation is slipping into the minor league when it comes to countries that wield influence in the EU.” More from Gregg:

So why such a rapid fall from grace? Some of it is of Hollande’s own making, such as his effort to impose a 75 percent tax on personal incomes over €1 million. Though the measure was eventually ruled unconstitutional, it managed to alienate a business community already suspicious of someone who once publicly proclaimed, “I dislike the rich.” The fact that Hollande is now trying to levy the same tax-rate on businesses that pay salaries over €1 million isn’t helping matters.

Nor did it help that the minister charged by Hollande with cracking down on tax-fraud, Jerome Cahuzac, was forced to resign after admitting he had maintained a Swiss bank account for over 20 years. Cahuzac is now under investigation for tax-fraud. The situation worsened when Hollande ordered his ministers to fully disclose all their personal holdings. Everyone in France has thus been reminded that most of the Socialist ministers who regularly rail against les riches are themselves quite wealthy. Caviar-Limousine-Champagne Socialism, anyone?

Read Samuel Gregg’s “The Incredible Shrinking Monsieur Hollande” at The American Spectator.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
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Muslims, Monasteries, Jews, Sikhs, and Scholars Urge Supreme Court to Hear Landmark Religious Liberty Appeal
The Becket Fund

Diverse Group of Amicus Briefs Ask the High Court to Protect a Peaceful Hutterite Colony

The Many Faces of Neo-Marxism
Walter Laqueur, The National Interest

If this perceived Marx renaissance has little to do with the actual teachings of Marx, with which the poststructuralists, postmodernists and gender scholars seem only vaguely familiar, how does one explain the renaissance, however modest it may be and however restricted to elite Western universities that have little connection to today’s industrial working class?

Will the Tragedy of the Commons Claim our Dignity?
Julia Thompson, Values & Capitalism

Who is in charge of protecting the skies, the seas, the national economy or something like human dignity? The answer in a sense is “nobody” and in another sense, “everybody”!

How Will Pope Francis Address Persecution of Christians Around the World?
Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register

Authority Nina Shea discusses the issue and what awaits the Holy Father.

climate-changeDo you believe that Jesus will return to Earth someday? Then you probably don’t care about environmental devastation and the catastrophic loss of life of future generations.

That’s the absurd conclusion drawn in an academic paper published in the latest issue of Political Research Quarterly. In their article, “End-Times Theology, the Shadow of the Future, and Public Resistance to Addressing Global Climate Change,” David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado test the following hypothesis:

Citizens who believe in Christian end-times theology are less likely to see global warming as a policy problem that requires immediate government action, compared to citizens who do not hold end-times beliefs.

Initially, I thought by “Christian end-times theology” they might be referring to premillinial dispensationalism, a eschatological view held by many American Evangelicals, that was popularized in the Left Behind series of novels. But the authors make it clear that they are not just referring to dispensationalists but to all Christians who believe in the Second Coming.
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Silicon Valley certainly has a reputation for innovation and risk. But Christianity? Businesses designed not only to innovate but to pursuing business as an “intimate” adventure with God? That seems unlikely.

Christianity Today tells the story of several entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who are grounded in faith, but are shrewd business people. Take, for example, Sonny Vu. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 6, 2013
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Religious Education in Peril
Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism

It is not likely that public school attendance will be required of all children any time soon, but the government may effectively restrict or prohibit religious education.

A Pastor’s Fate Inside the Mullahs’ Archipelago
Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPageMag

In January, an American Christian was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence on charges of “endangering national security” in Iran. 

Cronyism and the Free Market
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Cronyism occurs when an individual or organization colludes with government officials to get forced benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily.

What I Learned from Talking Economics with Libertarians
Julie Rubio, Catholic Moral Theology

Most of the other faculty participating in the event were far more sympathetic to libertarianism than are most Catholic theologians, including me. Conversation was sometimes challenging, but I am learning things from this dialogue that I don’t learn in my usual circles.

While school choice is helpful, what we really need in the U.S., says Stephen Davies, is a revolution in the delivery of education that gives us “education choice.”