The mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free, virtuous, and humane society. This direction recognizes the benefits of a limited government, but also the beneficent consequences of a free market. It embraces an objective framework of moral values, but also recognizes and appreciates the subjective nature of economic value. It views justice as a duty of all to give the one his due but, more importantly, as an individual obligation to serve the common good and not just his own needs and wants. In order to promote a more profound understanding of the coming together of faith and liberty, the Institute involves members of religious, business, and academic spheres in its various seminars, publications, and academic activities. It is our hope that by demonstrating the compatibility of faith, liberty, and free economic activity, religious leaders and entrepreneurs can contribute by helping to shape a society that is secure, free, and virtuous.
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VideosLord Acton's famous quote: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely"
The Star Trek crew recognizes the wisdom in Lord Acton's insight from 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
Trial by Fury: Restoring the Common Good in Tort Litigation
American tort law has become the subject of public scrutiny in the last decades. The criticism cast against it is that its current state bears economic incentives for abuse. But the tort law system engenders an even greater evil: the perversion of the human person.
The Good That Business Does
One of the major political challenges of the modern era has been to manage the integration of business into the life of the civil community. Similarly, Christian social thinkers have struggled to integrate business activity into their account of morality, justice, and the common good.
Islamic Theology, Constitutionalism, and the State
One of the most critical questions facing the world today is whether Islam is capable of accommodating itself to the constitutional forms of government that first arose in the West. Needless to say, opinion is sharply divided on this question.
A Prescription for Health Care Reform
Rising costs and demographic realities render the current American health care system unsustainable. The situation presents a particular challenge for Christians who recognize that access to health care is a basic requirement of a just social order. Physician Donald Condit, drawing on an impressive array of empirical research, skillfully applies the principles of Catholic social teaching to...
Inhabiting the Land
John Paul II asserts the right to migrate and this monograph presents a defense for this case. But the meaning of right employed in this defense is wholly distinct from that employed in the contemporary rights language of public policy debates. Rather, the meaning of right in Catholic natural law tradition is analogous to the right to property, and not to the right to life.
Judaism, Markets, and Capitalism: Separating Myth from Reality
Corinne and Robert Sauer, co-founders of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, contend that "it is not at all true that Judaism is a set of principles that endorses income redistribution and other progressive social programs." Instead, they say, Judaism is a system of thought that more naturally aligns itself with the basic principles of economic liberalism.
A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey
Do you feel like something big is missing from your life? Do you feel trapped, bored, stuck in a meaningless routine? It may be you think you're too ordinary to ever do something special. Perhaps you're afraid that if you try, you'll fail.
The startling truth is this: Just about anyone can do great things, can live a life that's remarkable, purposeful, excellent, and yes, even heroic.
Slitting the Sycamore
The effectiveness of Christian participation in political, economic, and social life depends upon understanding the proper relationship between the Church and the world, Christ and culture.
Catholicism, Ecology, and the Environment: A Bishop’s Reflection
Is modern environmentalism compatible with Christianity? Bishop Dominique Rey provides answers to this critical question in this theological reflection on the relationships among God, man, and nature. More than a critique of secular environmentalism’s idolatry of nature, Rey’s primary purpose is to show Catholics and other Christians how they can view the environment in a way consistent...
Property is an institution fundamental to civilization. What is a Christian perspective on the subject? Is the Catholic Church a stalwart defender of private property or a proponent of common ownership? The answers to these questions are not always simple and straightforward. In these pages, Professor Wolfgang Grassl examines Scripture, the Church’s social tradition, philosophy, and economics...
Fair Trade? Its Prospects as a Poverty Solution
Fair Trade is an enormously popular idea in Christian and secular circles alike. Who, after all, could be against fairness? Victor V. Claar, however, raises significant economic and moral questions about both the logic and economic reasoning underlying the fair trade movement.
Theologian & Philosopher of Liberty: Essays of Evaluation & Criticism in Honor of Michael Novak
Throughout his long and rich career as a theologian and philosopher, Michael Novak has written on a formidable number of subjects. Though most well- known for his contributions to the conversation between theology and economics, Novak has also written on topics such as the ethics of nuclear deterrence, the Second Vatican Council, the welfare state, liberation theology, concepts of subjectivity...
The Social Agenda: A Collection of Magisterial Texts
Students, teachers, and all those who seek a better knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church will find contained within this collection the central statements of the Roman Pontiffs from a range of texts, including papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, and Conciliar documents, on matters relating to politics, economics, and culture.
Religion & Liberty - Volume 20, Number 3/4
Religion & Liberty’s issue featuring an interview with ACT 3 Founder John H. Armstrong is now available. This double issue is a tribute to the 20th anniversary of Acton’s founding.
Religion & Liberty - Volume 20, Number 2
Religion & Liberty’s issue featuring an interview with Alexander Solzhenitsyn scholar Edward E. Ericson Jr. is now available online. Acton also published Solzhenitsyn & the Modern World by Ericson in 1994.
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