On June 17th, Acton Institute President and Co-founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico delivered the final evening plenary address of Acton University 2016. We’re pleased to present the video of his address here on the PowerBlog.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
By

Is Liberalism a Heresy?
Francesca Aran Murphy, First Things

The only viable vehicle of conservatism in modernity is a market-oriented liberalism that regards freedom within law as the means to the common good.

Why African Entrepreneurship Is Booming
Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Harvard Business Review

This adaptation by the local companies to indigenous creativity is a response to new market realities.

Welfare reform to promote work and marriage
Robert Doar and Kiki Bradley, AEI

A disturbing lack of progress within the current poverty model calls for reform. The odds of a child born into poverty moving out of it have remained almost completely static for the last two decades.

Redemption
James K.A. Smith, Comment

Restoring creation will require the Spirit-inspired work of building caring institutions and life-giving habits.

Samuel Gregg, Research Director for Acton Institute, recently published an article titled “Catholicism and Global Institutions: It’s Time for a Rethink” in The Catholic World Report which calls for the Catholic Church to reform its approach to supranational bodies, and think critically before engaging with issues raised by Brexit.

PA-21567426-1-800x500

Pope Francis visits the European Parliament in Strasbourg in November 2014 (AP)

Gregg shrewdly justifies his call for the Catholic Church to reform its treatment of political organizations. Gregg points out that many Catholics are increasingly suspicious about the Europeans Union’s growth of power and recognize that some United Nation agencies “directly violate Catholic teaching on human life”- and while this is true, he organizes additional points which strengthen his case.

Some of the most important factors which the Catholic Church should consider is first the lack of prioritizing decentralization among EU officials, and secondly the tendency of supranational institutions “not only to dilute national sovereignty but even national identity” through Kantian institutional internationalism. Lastly, Gregg explains that even if the Kantian liberalism were taken out of supranational bodies, the EU has only shown signs to approach change by implementing ‘top-down’ centralization. (more…)

Blog author: sstanley
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
By

Theresa_May_UK_Home_Office

Theresa May, UK Home Office

A true feminist, a devout Christian, and a leader with common sense will soon move into 10 Downing Street.

As excitement—and dismay—surrounded Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, Remainer and (former) prime minister, David Cameron announced his resignation from British parliament’s highest position. Today he officially leaves office, allowing Theresa May to become the next British Prime Minister.

Originally, Cameron planned to wait until October to pass the torch to the next leader, but on Monday he stated that, “we now don’t need to have a prolonged period of transition. And so tomorrow I will chair my last Cabinet meeting. On Wednesday I will attend the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s questions.”

The background on May’s rise to this office may be a tad complicated to Americans, even compared to our current messy presidential election.  Rather than a national vote for a new prime minister, in the British parliamentary system the ruling party’s leader (in this case, the Conservatives) automatically becomes prime minister. (more…)

The most recent jobs report appeared to present a positive impression of our current employment situation. As the New York Times headline read, “Jobs Roar Back With Gain of 287,000 in June, Easing Worry.”

Of course whether it eased your worry or not largely depended on whether or not you’re a young African American man. For black male teens (aged 16-19 years), the jobless rate dramatically spiked to 40.1 percent in June from 28.1 percent in May.

blackteen
As Mark J. Perry notes, “Except for a slightly higher increase of 12.2 percentage points during the aftermath of the Great Recession, the 12 percentage point increase in June was the highest monthly increase in history going back to 1972 when the BLS starting keeping records for this series.”

What could have caused the spike in unemployment? Perry suggests that it might be because of the “midyear burst of minimum-wage increases” that began on July 1. On that day 14 U.S. cities, states and counties, plus the District of Columbia, raised their minimum wage.
(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
By

What is capitalism? Why is it controversial? Dr. Jeffrey Miron from Harvard University breaks down 3 myths of Capitalism.

tyson-chambers1“Men have never been so educated, but wisdom, even as an idea, has conspicuously vanished from the world.” –Whittaker Chambers

The vain self-confidence of high-minded planners and politicians has caused great harm throughout human history, much of it done in the name of “reason” and “science” and “progress.” In an information age such as ours, the technocratic temptation is stronger than ever.

As the Tower of Babel confirms, we have always had a disposition to think we can know more than we can know, and can construct beyond what we can construct. “Let us build ourselves a tower with its top in the heavens. Let us make a name for ourselves.”

America was wise to begin its project with active constraints against age-old conceits, but we have not been without our regimes of busybody bureaucrats seeking to plan their way to enlightened equilibrium and social utopia.

Such attitudes emerge across a range of specialties, but a recent proposition by popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson captures the essence rather well.

Thomas Sowell is fond of saying that “the most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best,” and for Tyson, his preferred pool of “evidence” hustlers offer a very basic answer. (more…)