Acton Institute Powerblog

Promoting free societies characterized by liberty & religious principles

If You Believe They Put a Man on the Moon…

Next stop… Last week, it was reported that NASA’s budget is so thin that it puts “America’s leadership in scientific research is at risk.” (Last year’s NASA budget was around $16 billion, give or take a few hundred million.) The National Research Council says the space agency is “being asked to accomplish too much with too little.” The group points to the competing demands of building the international space station and returning astronauts to the moon. Continue Reading...

Global Warming on Jupiter?

It appears so: Close inspections of Red Spot Jr., in Hubble images released today, reveal that similar to the Great Red Spot, the more recently developed storm rises above the top of the main cloud deck on Jupiter. Continue Reading...

Subsidiarity in Action

In January, I wrote about the Central Plains wildfires as a very personal crisis in my Oklahoma hometown. I underscored the importance of subsidiarity, which is the idea that a central authority should perform only those tasks which cannot be handled effectively at a more immediate or local level. Continue Reading...

Spelling Relief II

Jordan pretty well covered the territory in his earlier post on gas prices. But with the silliness from both Republicans and Democrats ongoing, it can’t hurt to suggest two additional sensible treatments of the subject: Thomas Nugent on National Review Online, and Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute on FoxNews. Continue Reading...

Alarmist Profiteering

Remember when I said that I thought there is a dangerous incentive in climate change research to make things seem worse than they are? (If not, that’s OK. I actually called it an “analogous phenomenon” to the possibility that AIDS statistics are exaggerated.) Well, TCS Daily reports that a letter to Canadian PM Stephen Harper signed by over 60 scientists asks a similar question. Continue Reading...

The Morality of Narrative Imagination

While doing research for my upcoming lecture at the Drexel University Libraries’ Scholarly Commmunication Symposium, I ran across this excellent book by Janet H. Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (New York: Free Press, 1997). Continue Reading...

Evangelical Litmus Tests

This article, “Evangelicals Debate the Meaning of ‘Evangelical’,” which appeared in the New York Times on Easter, is instructive on a number of levels. First off, the article attempts to point out widening “fissures” among evangelicals, in which “new theological and political splits are developing.” While the article does talk at the end about so-called “theological” differences, the bulk of the piece is spent discussing the political divisions. Continue Reading...

Surprise! Evangelical Politics Isn’t Univocal

“Letter on Immigration Deepens Split Among Evangelicals,” trumpets a story from the Washington Post. Ever since evangelicals received such credit in the election and reelection of George W. Bush, the ins and outs of evangelical politics has recieved a greater share of media attention. Continue Reading...

Budziszewski on Subsidiarity

Following up on yesterday’s entry about Ronald Aronson’s call for a renewed socialism in American politics, I offer this paragraph from J. Budziszewski’s book, What We Can’t Not Know. Discussing the principle of subsidiarity as first explicitly articulated by Pius XI in the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, Budziszewski writes, As Pius explained, what pushed the principle of subsidiarity to the forefront was the crisis in civil society brought about by the industrial revolution. Continue Reading...