Build yourself, build society

One of Christ’s best-known parables is the Parable of the Talents, but its familiarity disguises just how strange and unsettling its message is. It is a parable of a master who departs on a journey and entrusts three servants, each according to his ability, with his property. Continue Reading...

Reviving civil society: Formative vs. performative institutions

In the wake of modernity, we’ve seen plenty of disruption across American life—political, social, economic, and otherwise. Alongside the glorious expansion of freedom and prosperity, we’ve also seen new waves of fragmentation, isolation, and materialism—a “liberal paradox,” as Gaylen Byker once described it, “a hunger for meaning and values in an age of freedom and plenty.” Continue Reading...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s crass Marxist materialism

During a Martin Luther King Day discussion with the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made clear that she is not just a democratic socialist but a Marxian one. Evie Fordham of Fox Business has written a helpful summary of the remarks, including Ocasio-Cortez’s concise explanation of the Marxist theory of the exploitation of labor: “No one ever makes a billion dollars. Continue Reading...

Gertrude Himmelfarb: Teacher of the Free and Virtuous Society

Since the passing of Gertrude Himmelfarb I have been reflecting on just how much she taught me through her voluminous historical scholarship. In this week’s Acton Line Podcast I interviewed Yuval Levin, Resident Scholar and Director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at AEI, who was also her student. Continue Reading...

Christmas consumerism: Spending for the glory of God?

The Christmas shopping season is well underway—and with it, a peculiar blend of hyper-generosity and hyper-consumerism. Indeed, while many celebrate the social and spiritual glories of gift-giving and merriment, others are quick to warn about the steady creep of materialism and self-indulgence. Continue Reading...