Acton Line-logo

Acton Line

Education Podcasts

Dedicated to the promotion of a free and virtuous society, Acton Line brings together writers, economists, religious leaders, and more to bridge the gap between good intentions and sound economics. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


United States


Dedicated to the promotion of a free and virtuous society, Acton Line brings together writers, economists, religious leaders, and more to bridge the gap between good intentions and sound economics. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.






Entrepreneurs Serving Entrepreneurs

Your strengths, relationships, and self-awareness are all essential in determining how your business will operate—and whether it will succeed or fail. But how can you optimize each of these elements? How can you set realistic goals? How can your business overcome a plateau and continue to grow? SpringGR aims to answer these questions by connecting entrepreneurs with the intellectual, social, and financial capital needed to thrive.


A Classical Education for Contemporary Students

In 2007, Thales Academy was born with a simple vision: provide an excellent and affordable education through the use of Direct Instruction and a Classical Curriculum that embodies traditional American values. In The Thales Way, Robert L. Luddy, the founder of Thales Academy and several other schools, explains the rationale for the school's educational approach and elaborates on his mission to better educate students. In this episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Robert about the importance of a rigorous academic environment, virtuous leadership, lifelong learning, and truth seeking. Thales Academy The Thales Way | Robert L. Luddy


A Consensus for the People

You’ve probably heard the phrase “America isn’t a democracy—it’s a republic.” This is typically trotted out to make a salient point about the type of government we have in fact, but is it a distinction the Founding Fathers would have recognized and made themselves? Yes and no, says Jay Cost, the Gerald R. Ford nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the new book “Democracy or Republic: The People and the Constitution.” How is the system crafted by the Founders holding up in the 21st century? Is a government of the people still one for the people? Democracy or Republic? The People and the Constitution | AEI Press Jay Cost | AEI


Aquinas and the Market

In this episode, we present the most recent installment of the Acton Lecture Series, with Dr. Mary L. Hirschfeld. Economists investigate the workings of markets and tend to set ethical questions aside. Theologians often dismiss economics, losing insights into the influence of market incentives on individual behavior. Dr. Hirschfeld bridges this gap by showing how a humane economy can lead to the good life as outlined in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.


Maximum Innovation for Maximum Social Impact

In this episode, Acton director of programs and education Dan Churchwell speaks with Leah Kral, an expert facilitator and author who helps nonprofits doing the hard work of building civil society to innovate and be more effective. Good intentions alone don’t translate to impact, so why are nonprofits like the Mayo Clinic so successful when others fail? How can innovation, creativity, originality, and risk-taking be wedded to those good intentions? Innovation for Social Change: How Wildly Successful Nonprofits Inspire and Deliver Results | Wiley, 2022 To learn more, visit


Shining a Light on the Darkest Place in the World.

Learn more about Acton UniversityOn today’s episode, we present a discussion from Acton University 2023 between director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn and North Korean defector and human rights activist Yeonmi Park. At age 13, Park and her family made a daring escape from North Korea in search of a life free of tyranny. In her viral talks, viewed online nearly 250 million times, Park urges audiences to recognize—and resist—the oppression that exists in North Korea and around the world.


The History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In this episode, Acton’s director of marketing and communications, Eric Kohn, talks with Jonathan Greenberg, the Jack Miller Family Foundation’s director of freedom initiatives and the former Midwest director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee about the long history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the significance of the October 7 massacre, especially what it will mean for Israel and the region going forward. While the Gaza-Israeli dispute has been going on since at least 2006, the broader Israeli-Palestinian battle dates back decades, the contours of which are often poorly misunderstood as some subset of geopolitics or primarily about human rights or the specifics of a two-state solution. To fully grasp what’s going on, you have to understand that the conflict didn’t start in 1973 or even 1948. In fact, in some ways, it goes back millennia. Why do some people hate the jews? | Acton Line


Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head

This week, Eric, Dylan, and Emily examine the purportedly pro-Palestinian rallies and campus protests that took place in the wake of the slaughter of Israeli Jews by Hamas terrorists. How surprised should we be by people chanting “gas the Jews” in Sydney, Australia, or by members of student organizations at Harvard University claiming that “the Israeli regime is entirely responsible for all unfolding violence”? What should be the consequences, if any, for people who have openly supported or defended the murder of Israelis by Hamas? Should universities and corporations end the practice of publishing a statement on every major issue? Then the panel reviews the awarding of the Nobel Prize in economics to Claudia Goldin for her work contributing to a better understanding of women’s participation in the labor force. And finally, is Bigfoot real, and did a couple vacationing in Colorado capture it on video? Probably not. But it’s fun to imagine. A Weekend on the Brink | The Morning DispatchAustralian pro-Palestinian protesters chant ‘gas the Jews’ as police warn Jewish people to stay away from area | Fox NewsCollege campus protests erupt across US ahead of anticipated Israel operation in Gaza | Fox NewsNYU law student group moves to oust president who cheered Hamas attack | New York PostAOC knocks ‘bigotry and callousness’ of Times Square rally for Palestinians | PoliticoA Stanford University instructor has been removed from the classroom amid reports they called Jewish students colonizers and downplayed the Holocaust | CNNStar of David is graffitied on Jewish homes in Berlin after Hamas attacks on Israel — in chilling echo of anti-Semitic persecution of the Jews under the Nazis | Daily MailWhy do some people hate the Jews? | Acton Line PodcastCollege Free Speech Rankings | Foundation for Individual Rights and ExpressionClaudia Goldin Is the Ideal Academic Researcher | Victor V. Claar & Angela K. Dills, Acton Institute‘Feels like a hoax’: Purported Bigfoot video from Colorado attracts skeptics, believers | USA Today


Bill Courtney and a Life Undefeated

In this episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Bill Courtney about coaching football, running a successful lumber business, and walking the red carpet with George Clooney and P. Diddy. In 2003, Bill began coaching the Manassas Tigers, an inner-city Memphis high school football team that had never once won a playoff game. By 2008, Courtney had helped build an award-winning football program that was chronicled in the Academy Award–winning documentary “Undefeated.” Today Bill coaches a different kind of team—an Army of Normal Folks. He’s the host of a podcast and leader of a movement that celebrates everyday people doing extraordinary things and that brings together Americans of all stripes committed to bridging our country’s divides and changing local communities for the better. Subscribe to our podcasts Coach Bill Courtney


The Gender Wage Gap with Dr. Angela Dills

Dr. Angela Dills is a labor economist who teaches at Western Carolina University and whose work focuses on the economics of education, crime, and health. In this episode of Acton Line, Angela and Dan Hugger discuss her research into the gender wage gap. Do women really earn only $0.83 for every $1.00 a men earn? Do the data represent a true “apples to apples” comparison? How much of the gender wage gap can be accounted for by discrimination? How do women participate in the labor market differently than men? What are promising new avenues of research that help economists understand the gender pay gap better? Angela Dills | Western Carolina University A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter | American Economic Review How to Achieve Gender Equality in Pay | Milken Institute Review Female Labor Force Intermittency and Current Earnings | SSRN The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations | Journal of Economic Literature Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads? | YouTube India: Maternity leave increase | CNBC


Enlightenment about the Enlightment(s)

In this episode, Dr. John Pinheiro speaks with Dr. Joseph Stuart about the complexity of the European Enlightenments: namely, the most common misconceptions and the mistake made by Christian and secular scholars alike who see in the Enlightenments only a simplistic conflict between faith and reason. Professor Stuart argues that Christians interacted with the Enlightenments by using one of three strategies: conflict, engagement, or retreat. Along the way, Dr. Pinheiro and Dr. Stuart uncover interesting tales of a Catholic Enlightenment in Italy, consider the connection between an authentic human anthropology and genuine liberty, and draw lessons about the unintended consequences of integral Catholic states. Subscribe to our podcasts


Mythic Realms

Dr. Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and professor of history at Hillsdale College, discusses his new book, Mythic Realms: The Moral Imagination in Literature & Film with Dan Hugger. How does Mythic Realms extend the author’s prior work on Christian humanism? What is the role of the moral imagination in navigating popular culture? What do the pulps have to do with romanticism? How did the Inklings seek to promote Christian humanism through genre fiction? How can the moral imagination be employed to answer life’s biggest questions and deepen religious faith? Subscribe to our podcasts Bradley Birzer | Hillsdale College Bradley J. Birzer’s Substack Mythic Realms, Bradley Birzer | Angelico Press Beyond Tenebrae, Bradley Birzer | Angelico Press Bradley J. Birzer, Author at The Imaginative Conservative Cronyism vs. free markets in ‘Stranger Things’ | Religion & Liberty Online Supernatural thriller Stranger Things shows the all-too-human evil of communism | Religion & Liberty Online The Western Heritage to 1600 | Hillsdale College The Rediscovery of Mystery by Russell Kirk | Imprimis ( The Science Fiction Novel — Imagination and Social Criticism | Internet Archive A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (Volume 1) The Dark Virtues of Robert E. Howard | Modern Age De Descriptione Temporum by C. S. Lewis | Internet Archive Christian Humanism and the Imaginative Mysteries | Religion & Liberty Online


Freedom and Prosperity Around The World

Joseph Lemoine, deputy director of the Freedom and Prosperity Center at the Atlantic Council, joins Stephen Barrows, Acton’s COO, to discuss the Atlantic Council’s recently released 2023 Freedom and Prosperity Indexes. The Freedom and Prosperity Center created these indexes to provide a snapshot of the current distribution of freedom and prosperity around the world; gain a sense of the evolution of both over the past 28 years at global, regional, and national levels; and facilitate an exploration of the relationship between freedom and prosperity. Lemoine and Barrows explore the Freedom and Prosperity Center’s expansive understanding of what constitutes a free and prosperous society. Subscribe to our podcasts. Prosperity that Lasts: The 2023 Freedom and Prosperity Indexes | Atlantic Council


Engaging Homelessness with Better Way Detroit

Better WAY Detroit engages, pays, feeds, and counsels homeless persons, and connects them to services for housing, medical and mental health care, and stable employment opportunities. Through their efforts, participants inspire community spirit, pride of ownership, and confidence in the dignity of work. While serving as participants, we also mentor them so that they can best help them find permanent employment after their service. Subscribe to our podcasts Better Way Detroit


Organizational Culture with Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan

Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at The Catholic University of America, shares his thoughts on “Organizational Culture” with Sarah Negri, Research Project Coordinator at the Acton Institute, at Acton University 2023. They discuss how culture affects us as humans without our being aware of it and how we in turn can affect culture through our free choices and actions. Conversation topics include the Competing Values Framework of evaluating a company’s culture; “culture drivers” including what Dr. Vaidyanathan calls scripts, models and habits; the role of virtue in forming company culture; the principle of subsidiarity as a guidepost for good organizational culture; and the importance of integration in harmonizing the various social environments encountered by the individual. Subscribe to our podcasts “Organization Culture”, lecture at Acton University 2023 Competing Values Framework explanation Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South by Brandon Vaidyanathan NUMMI plant GM vs. Toyota culture example Brunello Cucinelli fashion company story Beauty at Work National Study of Catholic Priests


Navigating the Rising Tide of Political Polarization

In this episode, Dylan Pahman interviews Dr. Rachel Ferguson about her lecture at Acton University on the problem of political polarization. From social media to cable news to tribalism to racial injustice to transgender activism, Dr. Ferguson gets at the deeper roots of the problem and offers a path of hope grounded in her Christian faith and philosophical expertise. Subscribe to our podcasts Black Liberation Through the Marketplace | Amazon


The Law of Conservation of Welfare—And What Energy Source Can Transform It?

The law of conservation of mass dates from Antoine Lavoisier's 1789 discovery that mass is neither created nor destroyed in chemical reactions. Evidence of the past three decades leads Marvin Olasky to suggest a parallel Law of Conservation of Welfare regarding political reactions. In 1995-1996 the first GOP-majority House of Representatives in four decades changed AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) into TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) but left alone dozens of other programs. As work requirements and time limits reduced the number of AFDC/TANF recipients, programs such as SNAP, SSI, and SSDI expanded. The conservation of welfare is not good for many recipients who would be much better off with challenging, personal, and spiritual help, but changing the law requires a charge from outside current chemical configurations.


Cronyism, Corporate Welfare, and Inequality

In this episode of Acton Line, Dylan Pahman, executive editor of the Journal of Markets and Morality, and a research fellow here at Acton, interviews Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley about her lecture at Acton University on “Corporate Welfare and Inequality.” In this conversation, this discuss why the prices of some goods, like education and healthcare, risen at astronomical rates while others, such as video games, remain fairly unchanged in price despite monumental improvements in quality and steady inflation over the decades. Also, what happens when companies use government privilege to secure special favors that push would-be competitors out of markets? What can be done about the unjust inequalities created by corporate welfare? Subscribe to our podcasts Cronyism, Corporate Welfare and Inequality | Acton University 2023


Filthy Rich Politicians

If you asked people to describe our current cast of politicians in America right now, they might say that some, if not most, are slyly taking advantage of the system. They are hoping no one is savvy enough to notice. Matt Lewis, senior columnist at The Daily Beast, believes that today’s politicians are an unsavory lot—a hybrid of plutocrats and hypocrites. And it’s worse (and more laughable) than you can imagine. In his new book, Filthy Rich Politicians: The Swamp Creatures, Latte Liberals, and Ruling-Class Elites Cashing in on America, Lewis introduces you to a crop of ivy league populists, insider traders, trust-fund babies, and swamp creatures as he exposes how truly ludicrous money in politics has gotten. In Filthy Rich Politicians, Lewis embarks on an investigative deep dive into the ridiculous state of modern American democracy—a system where the rich get elected and the elected get rich. Lewis doesn’t just complain: he articulates how Americans can achieve accountability from their elected leaders through radically commonsense reforms. But many of these ruling-class elites have a vested financial interest in rejecting the reforms so desperately needed to rebuild Americans’ trust in the institutions that once made our nation great. Subscribe to our podcasts Filthy Rich Politicians | Amazon


The New Catholic Integralism

Kevin Vallier, political philosopher and associate professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, joins Dan Hugger to discuss Catholic Integralism and his forthcoming book All the Kingdoms of the World: On Radical Religious Alternatives to Liberalism, which publishes with Oxford University Press in September. What is Catholic Integralism and what is its relation to Catholic Social Teaching? What is its history and the story of its contemporary rise? How has it caused controversy in the broader Church and world? What is the American Integralist theory of social change?How concerned should ordinary people be about this movement? What fuels this sort of deep discontent with liberalism and modernity? The conversation then turns what a constructive political-theological vision would look like and Kevin’s future plans. Trust in a Polarized Age | Acton Line Immortale Dei DIGNITATIS HUMANAE They Have Uncrowned Him | Amazon The Josias Adrian Vermeule | Harvard Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Freedom: Revision, Reform, or Continuity? | Youtube Selections from Three Works | Liberty Fund Non Possumus | First Things The Church's Once-Notorious Seizure of a Jewish Child Is Back. Why? | Mosaic Against David French-ism | First Things Integration from Within | American Affairs Liberalism and the Invisible Hand | American Affairs Patrick Deneen’s Otherworldly Regime | Religion & Liberty Patrick Deneen and Our Otherworldly Postliberal “Future” | Acton Unwind Replace the Elite | First Things What Is To Be Done? | Wikipedia All The Kingdoms of the World | Oxford University Press All The Kingdoms of the World | The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium | Amazon