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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.


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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.






The Right’s Economic Left Turn

A belief in the positive power of free markets has been a part of the political and philosophical program of the political right for virtually all of the post-World War II conservative movement. While elements of protectionism, and even isolationism, have always been currents in the political right, a support for free trade and free markets has been part of the right’s dogma for years. Now that is no longer the case. Many have lost confidence in the country’s commitment to economic...


Religious Freedom in a Secular Age

Religious freedom is a bitterly contested issue that spills over into political, public, and online spheres. It's an issue that's becoming ever more heated, and neither of the global political polarities is interested in protecting it. While the political left is openly hostile toward traditional religion, the political right seeks to weaponize it. How can we ensure that "religious freedom" is truly about freedom of one's religion rather than serving an ethno-nationalist agenda? In...


Should Businesses Embrace Remote Work?

Should businesses allow their employees to work remotely? Almost all employers and employees have wrestled with this question. More and more job-seekers are expecting remote-work flexibility, and COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns greatly accelerated this trend. But are employees really as productive working from home? Does remote work hurt company culture? Or could hybrid or remote options make businesses more successful? David Bahnsen, Founder of the Bahnsen Group, argues that remote work should...


Connecting Cops and Community

When people think of interactions between the police and the public these days, for many, the first thoughts that come to mind are of horrific incidents like the deaths of George Floyd or Brianna Taylor. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the Acton Institute is headquartered, a police officer is currently awaiting trial in the shooting death of 26-year old Patrick Lyoya. These incidents, and the rifts they have created between members of the community and members of law enforcement,...


The Intellectual Life

“The feminine genius,” a term coined by Pope St. John Paul II, has become something of a buzzword in the Catholic world. But has the fullness of femininity been exhausted? In a new collection of seventeen essays entitled With All Her Mind: A Call to the Intellectual Life, written by Catholic women of diverse backgrounds and vocations, you will find a call to pursue what is too often excluded from our picture of femininity: the intellectual life. Following Mary, the “Seat of Wisdom,” who...


Are Artists Really Free to Express Themselves?

In March 2021, Winston Marshall was the banjo player and guitarist for Mumford & Sons, the highly popular and award-winning folk rock ensemble. That same month, Marshall shared a seemingly innocuous tweet offering praise for guerrilla journalist Andy Ngo, and his book “Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.” “Congratulations Andy Ngo. Finally had time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” As is the common story with Twitter, a firestorm ensued, with...


The Legacy of Ed Koch

If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then rhetoric is its currency. And few political characters of the late 20th century had a sharper wit than former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Consider this gem from Koch: “If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.” Over this career in politics, Koch found himself sparring with numerous people, politicians and celebrities and even, occasionally, the voters. To be...


The Errors of the 1619 Project (Rebroadcast)

Since debuting in the New York Times Magazine on August 14, 2019, the 1619 Project has ignited a debate about American history, the founding of the country, and the legacy emanating from the nation’s history with chattel slavery. The project’s creator and editor, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has described the project as seeking to place “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Components of a related school curriculum have...


Company Culture and the Human Person: A Compelling Vision

Colin Duff, a co-founder and head of operations at Styx Golf, delivers a speech on how to align company culture with the human experience to create a compelling vision for employees. He stresses the significance of identifying a gap in the market and developing a unique value proposition, as Styx Golf did by providing high-quality minimalist designed golf gear at a reasonable cost. Additionally, he highlights the importance of being attentive to customer feedback and making updates to the...


Martin Luther King Jr. and Russell Kirk: A Consensus of First Principles

In their own time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Russell Kirk occupied different ends of the political spectrum. Their philosophies inspired the two most powerful movements of the age: the Nonviolent Movement (which led the larger Civil Rights Movement) and the modern Conservative Movement. Without King and Kirk modern American Social Justice liberalism and modern American conservatism as we know them would not exist. And yet, for all of their differences, our modern politics suffer because...


The Social Teaching of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—scholar, teacher, theologian, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church until his resignation in 2013—died on December 31, 2022, at the age 95. Whether the subject was Islam, ecumenism, the rise and decline of the West, or simply "Who is Jesus Christ?,” Benedict opened up discussions once considered taboo and caused even hardened secularists to rethink some of their positions. For...


Taxes, Spending, and Powerball Winnings

On November 7, 2022, the jackpot for the Powerball lottery reached an astonishing $2.05 billion. Even after the federal and state governments take their piece of that, the winner will still be the recipient of a life-changing amount of money, more than enough to last an entire lifetime. But if the winner of that $2.05 billion Powerball jackpot was the United States federal government, they'd burn through that enormous sum of money in just over a week. How did the federal budget get this...


Who Was Lord Acton?

The Acton Institute is named in honor of John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1834–1902), 1st Baron Acton of Aldenham, a historian of freedom. Known as “the magistrate of history,” Lord Acton was one of the great personalities of the 19th century. Widely considered one of the most learned Englishmen of his time, Lord Acton made the history of liberty his life’s work. The most notable conclusion of Acton’s work is that political liberty is the essential condition and guardian of religious...


The Beatles and Economics (Rebroadcast)

The Beatles will go down in history as one of the most prolific music acts of all time. Their music is still played in our homes and around the world and has influenced pop culture on a global scale. In this episode, Eric Kohn, Acton's Director of Communications, sits down with Samuel Staley to discuss his new book The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution. Subscribe to our podcasts Register Now for Business Matters 2023 Apply Now...


The Godly Path to Adam Smith’s Liberal Plan

Daniel Klein is professor of economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he co-leads a program in Adam Smith. There's been renewed interest in the role Christianity has played in liberalism since Larry Siedentop’s 2014 book, Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism. Today, Dan Churchwell, Acton’s Director of Programs and Education, sits down with Klein to discuss Adam Smith and his enlightenment vision. Building on Siedentop, Klein says...


Jimmy Lai’s Extraordinary Struggle for Freedom

For this episode, we’re presenting the final evening plenary from Acton University 2022. This plenary was a panel discussion on Hong Kong medial mogul and pro-democracy advocate Jimmy Lai, the subject of Acton’s most recent documentary feature film, The Hong Konger: Jimmy Lai’s Extraordinary Struggle for Freedom. When Hong Kong’s basic freedoms come under attack, Jimmy Lai finds himself in the crosshairs of the state and must choose between defending Hong Kong’s long-standing liberties or...


The Wounds of Beauty

In this episode, Sarah Negri, research project coordinator at the Acton Institute, sits down with Margarita Mooney Clayton, professor of practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and founder and executive director of Scala Foundation, to talk about Mooney Clayton’s most recent book The Wounds of Beauty: Seven Dialogues on Art and Education (Cluny Media, 2022). They discuss beauty as a way of encountering and participating in the splendor of transcendental being through embodied...


Who Is To Blame For Poverty?

For this episode, we're bringing you a session from our recent Poverty Cure Summit, a debate between between Bryan Caplan and Chris Arnade. The Poverty Cure Summit provides an opportunity for participants to listen to scholars, human service providers, and community leaders address the most critical issues we face today that can either exacerbate or alleviate poverty. Speakers joined panel discussions to discuss the legal, economic, social, and technological issues pertaining to both...


Mary Kissel at Acton Institute’s 2022 Annual Dinner

In this episode, we're bringing you the keynote address from Mary Kissel at this year's Acton Institute Annual Dinner. Mary Kissel is executive vice president and senior policy adviser at Stephens Inc., a Little Rock, Arkansas–based, privately held financial services firm, where she advises management and clients on foreign policy and geopolitical risk. Prior to joining Stephens, she served as senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo from October 2018 to January 2021. In...


The Gift of Disillusionment

How can leaders respond to discouragement in their work? Noah Gould sits down with Peter Greer, President & CEO of HOPE International, to discuss his latest book, The Gift of Disillusionment. In this conversation, they explore the responses of cynicism and idealism, and how leaders can move forward through extreme trials and disappointments. Subscribe to our podcasts The Gift of Disillusionment | Amazon Hosted on Acast. See for more information.