SexTraffickingReality has no shortage of enemies. In America alone there are millions of people who will throw away common sense, empiricism, and established economic principles when it conflicts with their pet political ideology. Oftentimes the best we can hope for is that the reality-denying does not tip over into outright advocacy of evil.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened at a one of my favorite online publications. Since its inception, The Federalist has been churning out a steady supply of fresh, often funny, and indispensable content from a conservative perspective. The work being done by the editorial staff, several of whom are my friends, is nothing short of amazing.

But even the best editors can make a mistake, and The Federalist has made a huge unforced error in publishing Lucy Steigerwald’s article, “Prostitution is Just Another Vice—So Legalize It.”

The article not only promotes the evil of prostitution, but it display an almost total lack of understanding about the topic of prostitution. I don’t mean that as an insult, but as an accurate description of the almost complete lack of research that was done on the subject. For example, the article not only denies that prostitution hurts women, but implies that there is little to no connection between prostitution and sex trafficking.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Want Less Corruption? Free the Markets
Nicole Gelinas, New York Post

If you’re powerful enough to take someone’s home, it stands to reason that you’re powerful enough to reap some benefits on the side. But if you’re desperate for a retail job at a new government-subsidized mall, so what?

Free Trade Has Shipped Some Jobs Overseas. But Here’s What Else It Does.
Bryan Riley and Anthony B. Kim, The Daily Signal

Last week, the Obama administration released the text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade pact between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Advocates of such deals traditionally focus on the benefits of opening new markets to U.S. exports. But good trade agreements also reduce self-destructive U.S. trade barriers.

Vatican II and Religious Freedom: Rupture or Authentic Development?
Carl E. Olson, Catholic World Report

The authors of a new book on “Dignitatis Humanae” argue that the Declaration grounds the right to religious freedom in the obligation to seek the truth, especially the truth about God.

Church involvement varies widely among U.S. Christians
Aleksandra Sandstrom and Becka A. Alper, Pew Research Center

While most Americans still identify as Christian, there are big differences when it comes to how involved they are with a congregation – or whether they’re involved at all. Indeed, some of the largest Christian denominations in the U.S. have relatively low levels of involvement among their members.

On November 5th, 2015, the Acton Institute was pleased to host Dr. Bradley J. Birzer for a lunch lecture and book launch celebration for the release of his latest book, Russell Kirk: American Conservative.

Russell Kirk has long been known as perhaps the most important founding father of the American Conservative movement in the second half of the 20th century. In the early 1950s, America was emerging from two decades of the Great Depression and the New Deal and facing the rise of radical ideologies abroad; the American Right seemed beaten, broken, and adrift. Then in 1953, Russell Kirk released his masterpiece, The Conservative Mind. More than any other published work of the time, this book became the intellectual touchstone for a reinvigorated movement and began a sea change in Americans’ attitudes toward traditionalism.

Brad Birzer’s new biography recounts the story of Kirk’s life and work, with attention paid not only to his writings on politics and economics, but also on literature and culture, both subjects dear to Kirk’s heart and central to his thinking.

Dr. Bradley J. Birzer holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College, and also serves as an Associate Professor of History. We’re pleased to present Dr. Birzer’s presentation for your edification here on the PowerBlog.

(After the jump, I’ve included the latest edition of Radio Free Acton featuring Brad Birzer, as well as some audio and video highlights of Russell Kirk’s appearances at Acton’s first Annual Dinner, and as part of the 1994 Lord Acton Lecture Series.)


Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

driving-carOne of the most important socio-economic factors in America is social mobility, the ability of an individual or family to improve (or lower) their economic status. And one of the major factors in increasing social mobility is to simply increase mobility. For example, if you have to walk to work, you are limited to jobs within a few miles of your home. But if you can drive to work, the number of job opportunities available to you may increase considerably.

Most of us who have access to individual means of transportation take that connection for granted. But for the working poor, a car may not only help them get to a place of employment, it can help them drive away from poverty. For instance, a recent study finds that for low-income residents of high-poverty neighborhoods, having access to an automobile can lead to greater economic opportunities:

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

first-thanksgiving-kidsThis week school children across the country will be hearing the tale of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. You probably heard a similar story when you were in a kid that went something like this:

The Pilgrims sailed over to America from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower. During their first winter in the new country many of them starved because they were unable to produce enough food. In the spring, though, a Native America tribe taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops that would flourish, such as maize (corn). That fall, after an abundant harvest, the Pilgrims gave thanks by celebrating the first Thanksgiving feast with the Indians.

What is often left out of the story is what happened next: The Pilgrims continued to face food shortages for three more years.

Kids don’t often hear this not-so-happy ending. They are also rarely told the reason why the Pilgrims went hungry. “Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages,” says Benjamin W. Powell. “Bad economic incentives did.”

Blog author: sstanley
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ADAMS231011_2__2034469cWriting for Public Discourse, Samuel Gregg has some rather negative predictions about the European Union in a new piece titled, “The end of Europe.” Gregg begins by quoting France’s leader during World War II, General Charles de Gaulle. In his Mémoires d’Espoir, de Gaulle saw Europe as having “a spiritual and cultural heritage.” He wrote that “the same Christian origins and the same way of life, linked to one another since time immemorial by countless ties of thought, art, science, politics and trade.” The current crisis in Europe reflects de Gaulle’s insights. European governments have abandoned their Judaeo-Christian origins and have placed their faith in bureaucracies whose authority stretches beyond country borders, but who are guaranteed to further European decline.

Gregg states that there are essentially three concepts to consider regarding Europe’s current issues: (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pope: Religious justification for Paris attacks ‘blasphemy,’ love of neighbor needed
Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis on Sunday again strongly condemned the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, saying he wanted to express closeness to the families of the victims and calling any religious justification for such attacks “blasphemy.”

How a 200-Year-Old Anti-Catholic Law Is Ruining Kids’ Chance at a Quality Education
Mary Clare Reim, The Daily Signal

“Dismal.” “A train wreck.” That’s how people have characterized the results of this year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress.

C.S. Lewis and the Surprising Reason We Desire Fulfillment at Work
Andrew Spencer, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

In The Weight of Glory, a sermon preached in the Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in 1941, C. S. Lewis describes some of that deep longing and offers hope for its fulfillment.

‘Ban Smoking’ Means ‘Evict Defiant Smokers’
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View

As law-and-order hawks frequently forget, the problem with imposing draconian punishment is that their deterrent effect ends up considerably blunted by the natural reluctance of authorities to impose very harsh punishments on violators who are mostly harming themselves. Housing authorities already show reluctance to evict people who consistently fail to pay their rent. How many are going to be willing to regularly toss families out on the street because Mom smokes in the bathroom?