Acton University 2018: Day 1


Evening Plenary

  • Kenneth Elzinga Evening Plenary $0.00

Session 1

  • The Christian Vision of the Person and Society (Michael Matheson Miller) $0.99
  • Adam Smith and the Role of Virtue in a Commercial Society (Paul Mueller) $0.99
    Who is man? What does it mean to be a person? How does the person relate to society and the state? This lecture will examine the Christian vision of the human person in the context of politics and society.
  • Economic Freedom as the Path to Human Flourishing (Anne Rathbone Bradley) $0.99
  • Free Market Environmentalism (P.J. Hill) $0.99
    Economic freedom is an empirical metric of the economic institutions within a country. Measuring economic freedom helps us to understand whether individuals have opportunities to engage in commercial exchange, make entrepreneurial bets, provide for themselves and their family, and whether their government protects them or exploits them. Understanding what economic freedom is and how it’s measured helps us to understand what institutions are broken and how they can be fixed to allow greater human flourishing.
  • Islam, Markets and the Free Society (Mustafa Akyol) $0.99
    This lecture focuses on property rights and markets as a way of improving environmental quality. The property rights lens of analysis leads to innovative solutions for conservation of natural resources and protection of the environment.
  • Philanthropy and Civil Society (Lenore Ealy) $0.99
    Is Islam compatible with free markets or does it promote collectivism? Here is a brief overview of Islamic sources on the economy and the history of “Islamic capitalism.” This lecture also shows how the rise and fall of commercial culture in Islam influenced key theological disputes.
  • Property in Common Law: Liberty and Virtue Together (Adam McLeod) $0.99
    How do societies best meet the needs of the poor and suffering? Social activists and scholars often elevate the quest for social justice over market processes supplemented by private philanthropy. Drawing upon Biblical concepts of charity, the history of social assistance, and the writings of social philosophers such as Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville, this class will introduce students to the political economy of philanthropy and the essential role of an ethic of beneficence, properly understood, for the realization of human flourishing in the modern world
  • The Austrian Business Cycle (Roger Garrison) $0.99
    Human beings are reasoning agents. To become a virtuous human being is, in part, to attain excellence in the exercise of practical reason. So humans need liberties, powers, and opportunities to exercise practical reason. The common law provides for those needs by securing the dominion of property owners over the resources under their possession and control. But the freedom afforded by property dominion is also opportunity to act badly and to become vicious. So the common law places boundaries around dominion with the law of wrongs. The common-law boundaries around dominion simultaneously deflect vicious uses of property that would cause moral harm to the owner and secure the rights of other owners within their domains.
  • The Sexual State and the Culture of Death (Jennifer Roback Morse) $0.99
    The boom and bust of the business cycle is created by a clash between (1) the centrally arranged availability of low-interest money capital followed by (2) the entrepreneurs’ projected market-oriented formation of the pattern of capital goods [factories, machinery, raw materials, etc.]. In this circumstance, many of the projects must eventually be cut short, causing widespread unemployment and a pains-taking capital restructuring that conforms to people’s actual saving and consuming behavior.

Session 2

  • Natural Law and Human Flourishing (Samuel Gregg) $0.99
    Faith involves the use and application of natural reason. Natural law helps us to understand, illuminate and apply the truths of faith to political and economic challenges, whatever our cultural or social context, and avoid the pitfalls of sentimentalism and fideism.
  • Church, City, and Urban Renewal (Pastor Christopher Brooks) $0.99
    Participants will be introduced to the theological intersection between the biblical call for advocating justice for the poor and weak, and the market economy in an urban context. Consideration will be given to the pertinent scriptural texts, Christian thought and historical theology concerning wealth creation, management and distribution.
  • Economics of Education (Catherine Pakaluk) $0.99
    Introduces the key ideas, findings, and puzzles in the economic analysis of schools and education, including an overview of major educational policy goals as they relate to fundamental questions about human formation and schooling.
  • Entrepreneurial Vocation (Rev. Roger Landry) $0.99
    This course examines the vocation to work and create, to invest the talent of one’s life, gifts, know-how, and resources, within the larger context of the theme of calling and mission of the love of God and neighbor.
  • International Economic Development: Africa (Andreas Widmer) $0.99
    Looks at a brief African history of aid, identifies the domestic and international policies that have facilitated problems, and outlines how people of faith inside and outside Africa can best contribute to concrete and sustainable solutions.
  • Judaism, the State, and the Idea of Limited Government (Daniel Mark) $0.99
    Does the idea of limited government find its roots in the Jewish tradition? What does the Bible teach about the nature and scope of the state? What is rabbis’ attitude toward political authority? And what, if anything, do the answers mean for the modern State of Israel and for the political participation of Jews in America and other Western democracies?
  • Must Work “Secularize” Us? Answers from Gregory, Wesley, Sheldon, and Lewis (Chris Armstrong) $0.99
    Does time dedicated to working in “secular” fields endanger our souls? Does attending to virtues valued by the workplace reduce us to pawns in exploitive structures of modern work? How can we work diligently while also pushing back against corrupted systems and practices? Where and how can we find God in our actual work? We ask Gregory the Great, John Wesley, Charles Sheldon, and C S Lewis.
  • Religious Liberty in an Age of Gay Marriage (Ryan Anderson) $0.99
    In its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the Supreme Court redefined marriage. What does the future hold, especially for religious freedom? This lecture explores the truth about marriage, what the consequences of redefinition will be, and how best to protect our freedoms to live in accord with the truth.
  • The Economic Thought of Sergei Bulgakov (Rev. Johannes Jacobse) $0.99
    Sergei Bulgakov, one of the prominent thinkers of Russia's "Silver Age," that era that preceded the Communist takeover of Russian society and represented a particularly rich period of Russian thinking and offered a critique of Marxism only recently rediscover in the West, argues that economics has its foundation in the relationship between man and nature. Economic activity is actually the expression of this relationship reveals both divine ordering and activity within the creation.
  • The Preservation of Property and Interest Rightly Understood—as Tocqueville Understood It (John Wilsey) $0.99
    Tocqueville believed that it was through the doctrine of self-interest rightly understood that liberty is preserved in a democracy. Tocqueville insisted that socialism is materialistic, and a socialist society denies the existence of the soul; American democracy maintains a balance between the needs of the body and the soul. Self-interest rightly understood is animated by religion, and it is religion that prevents democracy from devolving into socialistic tyranny. For Tocqueville, socialism is concerned only with the pursuit of wealth, which gratifies only physical desires; but democracy is concerned with the pursuit of prosperity—real human flourishing—which balances the needs of body and soul. The doctrine of self-interest rightly understood is the key to striking that balance.
  • Theories of Race (Ismael Hernandez) $0.99
    The question of race is one that is relevant for our society now more than ever. This lecture offers a general exploration of the various schools of thought concerning race and responses to racism. How are we to understand what race is? What is its place in a Christian vision of the human person?

Session 3

  • The Old Testament Theology of Work: The Original Unity of Work and Worship in the Bible (John Bergsma) $0.99
    Much has been written about socio-economic justice in the Bible and the teaching of the Church, but the biblical theology of human work is an under-developed area of theological research and education. Dr. Bergsma addresses this need by a close reading of the creation narratives of Genesis, identifying themes associated with the human person and human labor, and tracing those themes through the rest of the Old Testament and into the ministry and teaching of Jesus. The Scriptures present us with an original unity of man’s work and worship, and that the division of these two is, in part, the result of sin. Thus, they also call us to a re-integration of work and worship, labor and liturgy, which should be reflected in a distinctly Christian lifestyle.
  • The Growth of Leviathan: How the Federal Government Shed its Constitutional Limits (Joseph Scoville) $0.99
    In the Constitution of 1787, the Founders established a federal system, with a central government that lacked “Police Power” and was delegated only limited and enumerated powers. Why do we not enjoy that system of government 228 years later? What were the historical and political events that served to expand the power of the Federal Government?
  • On Doing Well and Doing Good (Dato Kim Tan) $0.99
    Over the last decade a new breed of venture capitalism has emerged: social impact investors who invest in sustainable and scalable enterprises among the poor. These enterprises generate social returns in terms of lives impacted and innovative goods and services that serve the poor. This lecture will look at businesses designed to tackle issues of poverty in Africa and Asia in the areas of education, sanitation, cookstoves, recidivism and human trafficking. It will describe the growth of the social impact investment universe from angel investors, family offices to government and institutional social venture funds.
  • Church and International Affairs (Rev. Roger Landry) $0.99
    In carrying out its mission to be salt, light and leaven and to advance the common good, the Church engages at various levels of society, including with the international community. This lecture discusses the engagement of the Holy See (Catholic Church) at the international level, examining its priorities, methods, and goals, as an application of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Introduction to Jewish Social Thought (Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin) $0.99
    All ancient societies thought in corporate terms, but the Bible introduced the notion of a Divine covenant, which greatly affected the development of Western politics, culture and economics. This course will examine how the Greek “polis” clashed with the Jewish notion of the family, and how Jewish imperatives led to the Christian understanding that human dignity and freedom are absolutely essential to a good society.
  • John Locke’s Philosophy of Liberalism (Greg Forster) $0.99
    John Locke was pivotal in turning Europe from medieval social order to modernity – he catalyzed religious freedom, constitutional democracy, entrepreneurial economics, an expanded role for women - and the thinning and fragmenting of culture that these structures entail. This class will explore how Locke’s writings reveal both the continuing value of modern freedoms and the unsolved challenges they create.
  • Liberation Theology (Kishore Jayabalan) $0.99
    Briefly outlines the rise and decline of liberation theology from the 1960's to the present, and examines and critiques its basic theological and philosophical claims and assumptions.
  • Pitfalls of Government Intervention: Minimum Wage and Easy Credit (Philip Booth) $0.99
    This lecture will take two examples of government interventions that are intended to have beneficial effects, especially for low income groups. It will look at the theory of who might benefit and lose from the measures and evaluate the theory using the available evidence. These issues are important. In the case of minimum wages, the ability of the less well off to earn a living is at stake. In the case of easy credit, arguably, it was one of the causes of the financial crisis.
  • 'Post-Consensus' Culture, Natural Law, and Moral Persuasion: Translating Moral Principle in a Disbelieving Age (J. Daryl Charles) $0.99
    The challenges of contending for moral principle in a social-cultural climate variously described as “post-traditional,” “post-literary,” “post-civilized,” “post-modern,” “post-Protestant,” and most importantly, “post-Christian” are surely daunting. This session, which promises a lively conversation with its audience, will seek to demonstrate the importance of natural-law moral reasoning in our attempts to “translate” moral truth in creative yet responsible ways to our contemporaries.
  • Poverty in the Developing World (Michael Matheson Miller) $0.99
    Examines some of the causes of poverty in the developing world, critically analyzes current poverty alleviation strategies including aid and government planning, and focuses on private property, rule of law, markets, and culture for economic development.

Session 4

  • The Christian Vision of a Free Government (Hunter Baker) $0.99
    This course examines the nature of the human person, the importance of natural law social institutions, and the realities of economics, all of which point to the fact that democratic constitutional forms of government are vital for the preservation of liberty and human flourishing.
  • Climate Change: Science and Economics (Jay Richards) $0.99
    Climate change is one of the most controversial environmental and economic topics, and has become even more prominent among Christians since the publication of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si' in 2015. This course breaks down the controversy, explains the scientific and economic details, and provides a clear and intuitive way for non-specialists to understand the many distinct issues that fall under the single phrase "climate change."
  • Ethics in Business: Beyond CSR (Andrei Rogobete) $0.99
    What will the successful business model of the 21st Century look like? Do ethical behaviour and financial profitability complement or counteract each other? Can business even be ‘ethical’? The lecture seeks to address some of these questions and many more, by considering both practice and theory, arguing in favour of a free-enterprise economy that is built within a framework of ethics and morality.
  • Getting Social Justice Right (Ryan Anderson) $0.99
    Social justice is one of the most used expressions by Christians when it comes to economic questions. But what does it really mean? Is every use of the expression justified? This lecture examines these questions as it explains accurate and inaccurate uses of the term.
  • God and the Newsroom (Paul Glader) $0.99
    This session explores what the religious public needs to know about journalism and how the news media safeguards liberty, and considers why religious communities and the news media often find themselves on the same side of battles over the First Amendment. Because of this, the news media has a duty to understand religion and religious people must understand the news media.
  • Islam, Religious Freedom, and Reformed Political Theology (Rev. Matthew Kaemingk) $0.99
    In the last fifty years, millions of Muslims have migrated to the West igniting a series of fierce public debates about religious freedom. How should Christian citizens respond? Rejecting romantic left-wing multiculturalism and fearful right-wing nationalism, this course develops an alternative third way for Christian citizenship in a pluralistic culture by drawing on the historic resources of Reformed political theology.
  • Labor of Love: The Apostle Paul’s Theory of Work (John Taylor) $0.99
    Although Paul is well known for his contrast of faith and works, it is not always appreciated that Paul thought deeply about the topic of work itself. This lecture examines Paul’s writings on work, with a particular focus on the epistles to the Thessalonians, to outline his theology of work.
  • The Austrian Tradition on Social and Economic Order (Jeffrey Tucker) $0.99
    It is conventional to think of social and economic order as something imposed from the top down, a pure extension of political will and a reflection of the political system. But the Austrian tradition offers a completely different explanation for how it is that we achieve social and economic coordination across a large span of time and place. This course explores the views of Carl Menger, F.A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises on the basis of social and economic institutions.
  • What do Catholics and Protestants Have in Common? (Peter Kreeft) $0.99
    If they are not heretics to their own traditions, the list of beliefs, values, and practices shared by Protestants and Catholics is much longer and more substantive than the differences. This course explores why the alliance between the two has been so weak in stemming the tide of public secularization, immoralism, and decadence.
  • Introduction to John Henry Newman (Rev. Raymond deSouza) $0.99