C630x400_4ce9d1625fdf2092261a462fea2de0b9-1418824744Over the years, many of us here at Acton have been engaged in long-running (and mostly congenial) feud with distributists.

Family squabbles can often be the most heated, and that is true of this rivalry between the Christian champions of distributism and the Christian champions of free markets here at  the Acton Institute. We fight among ourselves because we have an awful lot in common.

For example, we share the a focus on encouraging subsidiarity, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurship. We also share a respect for rule of law, private property, and the essential nature of the family. The key difference — at least as viewed from this side of the feud — can be summed up in one word: distributism is mostly unrealistic.
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BCAM-logo2Boston Common Asset Management bills itself as “a leader in global sustainability initiatives.” Why would an investment portfolio management company label itself with the appellation “Common” when it carries such negative baggage? As it turns out, BCAM embraces “common” as something positive.

From the BCAM website:

Beginning in 1634, the Boston Common served as a common pasture for cattle grazing. As a public good, the Common was a space owned by no one but essential to all. We chose the name Boston Common because, like the Common of old, our work stands at the intersection of the economic and social lives of the community.

Never mind all that John Locke hootie-hoot about private property being the cornerstone of a free society. Please ignore all the papal encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum onward that champion private property. Oh, yes, and completely disregard the U.S. Constitution, which codifies private-property rights, and pay no attention to the “tragedy of the commons” which inexplicably is ignored here.

One has to give BCAM credit, however, for consistency. They really, really despise privacy whether it’s property, political donations or corporate lobbying (although it’s also assumed they have no issue with the “penumbra of privacy” suddenly discovered in the U.S. Constitution by members of the Supreme Court after somehow every other legal mind overlooked it for nearly two centuries). Privacy for everything else apparently is subject to eradication in BCAM’s book. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, April 21, 2016
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The Downside of the Tax Credit That Keeps Millions Out of Poverty
David Lapp, Family Studies

The tax credit that keeps millions of Americans out of poverty also sends many into a boom-and-bust financial cycle.

Congressman Dave Brat On Why Theologians Should Understand Free Markets
The Federalist

Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia talks about the national debt, the non-existent war between the right and the left, and the decline of religion on Federalist Radio.

Why You’re Already a Conservative Even if You Don’t Realize It
Joseph Williams, Gradient

So what is conservatism, and why are you already a conservative even if that word makes you cringe?

3 charged with several crimes in Flint water crisis
Associated Press

Two state regulators and a Flint employee were charged Wednesday with evidence tampering and several other felony and misdemeanor counts related to the Michigan city’s lead-tainted water crisis.

tubman-on-tenLast Summer I predicted that Harriet Tubman would be replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. I was almost right. She’ll be replacing Andrew Jackson.

The U.S. Treasury announced last year that the $10 bill is the next paper currency scheduled for a major redesign — a process that takes years because of the anti-counterfeiting technology involved — and will feature a “notable woman.”

The new ten will be unveiled in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote. As the Treasury explained, “The passage of the nineteenth amendment granted women their right to fully participate in the system our country was founded on—a government by the people, a democracy.”

In a post last June I wrote: “I’m almost certain they already know who Treasury is going to choose: It’s going to be Harriet Tubman.” Instead, it was Jackson who got demoted to the back of the currency while Tubman will take his place on the front.

I think the Treasury made the right decision. As the first Treasury secretary, Hamilton deserved to stick around on the $10 (leaders of the women’s suffrage movement will be featured on the other side). But it was time for a woman to join the men on our money and, based on the criteria used for consideration, Tubman is a solid choice. She was not only an abolitionist, she served in the Civil War as a Union spy and became the only woman during that conflict to lead men into a battle.

Unfortunately, fans of Tubman will have to wait awhile longer to see her new portrait: the $20 isn’t scheduled for a redesign until 2030.

In the meantime, here was my reasoning from last year on why Tubman was all but inevitable based on the Treasury’s criteria for a “noble woman” candidate:
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1600px-Tulip_00126-27“The temporal achievements of science, technology, inventions and the like also have a divine significance,” writes Abraham Kuyper in this week’s Acton Commentary, an excerpt from Common Grace: God’s Gifts for a Fallen World.

With the destruction of this present form of the world, will the fruit of common grace be destroyed forever, or will that rich and multiform development for which common grace has equipped and will yet equip our human race also bear fruit for the kingdom of glory as that will one day exist as the new earth, under the new heaven, overflowing with righteousness?

As everyone immediately realizes, this question is not without importance. If nothing of all that developed in this temporal life passes over into eternity, then this temporal existence leaves us cold and indifferent. Everyone without an appetite for eternal life will then advance in terms of that existence, but everyone seeking a better fatherland will be unable to feel any affinity for it. After all, one day everything will be gone, unlike the caterpillar that is wrapped like a chrysalis in order later to appear in more exquisite form as a butterfly, but instead like a stage on which a series of performances were exhibited but after which nothing remains but an empty floor and unsightly walls.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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How To Use Documentary In Addressing Poverty, Foreign Aid, And Compassion
The Federalist

Co-producer, Mark Weber, explains how “Poverty, Inc.” interviewed over 200 people in 20 countries to understand foreign aid.

Obama Administration Admits It Could Have Respected Nuns’ Rights After All
Sarah Torre, The Daily Signal

It may have taken five years, numerous regulatory updates, hundreds of legal battles, and two trips to the Supreme Court, but the government has finally admitted that, well, maybe it was wrong about the Health and Human Services mandate.

The Problem with Sanders’ “Moral Economy”
Israel Ortega, Opportunity Lives

For Sanders, a moral economy is predicated on big government redistributive policies that treat corporations and free enterprise essentially as enemies of the people: “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.”

The Economy Grew Last Year, But Poor Americans Needed More Charity
Real Time Economics

While broad economic measures improved last year, one measure of the acute needs of poor Americans worsened.

Magatte Wade

Magatte Wade

This  week on Radio Free Acton, Magatte Wade joins us to discuss the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur in Africa. Too often, people in the West tend to think of Africa as a place to send aid rather than a place to engage in trade. Magatte is working to change that attitude while building her beauty company, Tiossan, as well as the local economy in her native Senegal.

Wade will be joining us as a plenary speaker at Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June. If you’re interested in attending, head over to the Acton U website for registration information, and do it quickly, as registration closes at midnight on May 20. You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below.