Acton University 2018: Day 3


Evening Plenary

  • AU 2018: Rev. Robert A. Sirico Evening Plenary $0.00

Session 8

  • Community and Economic Development (Justin Beene) $0.99
    Christians are called to both share God’s heart for the poor and to respond to poverty with effective compassion that brings holistic transformation. This seminar will highlight principles of effective compassion being implemented by neighborhood-based urban ministries that are genuinely making a difference.
  • Development of 20th Century Catholic Social Thought (Daniel Frascella) $0.99
  • Education and the Free Society (Todd Flanders) $0.99
    This lecture considers the role played by education in sustaining and defending free societies, outlines the most prominent threats to such education, and its likely future role in promoting freedom.
  • AU 2018: Fair Trade vs. Free Trade (Victor Claar) $0.99
    While free trade has been increasingly maligned, the Fair Trade movement has become increasingly popular over the last several years and many see it as a way to help people in the developing world and as a more just alternative to free trade--which many argue creates an unfair advantage that tends to harm the poor. This lecture will analyze and compare arguments for and against both fair trade and free trade and ask whether 'fair trade' is either more fair or more just than free trade.
  • AU 2018: John Rawls, Justice, and the Imago Dei (Kevin Brown) $0.99
    When it comes to matters of “Justice,” many consider John Rawls to be one of the most important political philosophers of the last century. Yet while influential, Rawls’ work has been subject to criticism. Specifically, his theories draw from a narrow conception of the human and the reality they inhabit. After exploring key dimensions of his work, this course will seek to evaluate Rawlsian ideology in light of orthodox Christian thought.
  • AU 2018: Statism in Poor Countries: A Field Guide (Stephen Smith) $0.99
    State-centered, state-directed economic policies are the default choice in most poor countries. To a far larger extent than most outside observers imagine—or can easily discern—heavy state intervention is the norm, from state ownership of banks to back-breaking taxation of agriculture. This course surveys typical statist institutions, and considers questions such as: What are statism’s long-term consequences? What does it imply for promoting entrepreneurship and a healthy business culture? How does it complicate market-oriented reforms and private Christian development assistance?
  • The Church and the World: Augustine, Luther, and Kuyper in Conversation (Stephen Presley) $0.99
    For Augustine it was two cities, for Luther two kingdoms, and for Kuyper two Fatherlands. Each of these seminal Christian thinkers considered the place of the church in the world and, in their own ways, considered how Christians ought to perceive their relationship. This presentation will consider each of the views and what the church today can learn from each of them.
  • AU 2018: The Economics of Neighborly Love (Tom Nelson) $0.99
    We will be exploring a robust theological bridge from the Scriptural text to wise economic thought. A close exegetical link between Jesus’ New Testament teaching on the Great Commandment and the Torah’s advocacy of human fruitfulness will be examined. A rich theology of human fruitfulness as it relates to productivity and neighborly love will be considered with an emphasis on fostering Christian compassion and building economic capacity.
  • AU 2018: Was Jesus a Socialist? (Lawrence Reed) $0.99
  • AU 2018: Why Machines Won't Replace Us (Jay Richards) $0.99
    Many experts believe that robots and artificial intelligence will destroy millions of jobs in the next twenty years, and leave in their wake “permanent technological unemployment.” They’re wrong. Information technology will disrupt our current economic order, and destroy many white and blue collar jobs. But this will create new opportunities for those who are willing and able to adapt. To adapt, we will all need to cultivate five virtues that correspond to the features of our emerging information economy. In this lecture, I will describe the coming challenge and explain those virtues.
  • AU 2018: Why Dietrich Bonhoeffer Matters (W. Madison Grace) $0.99
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer is often remembered for his resistance involvement during World War II, but fewer know his work as a pastor-theologian before the war. This session will consider Bonhoeffer’s concern for society seen through his understanding of family, work, church, and government, for the purposes of learning what his work can offer those who seek a free and virtuous society.

Session 9

  • A World of Freebies: How did Welfare Policies in Europe Destroy the Protestant Work Ethic? (Mihail Neamtu) $0.99
    “Maybe It was porn who killed God.” With this shocking sentence, historian Niall Ferguson summarized the radical transformation of the work ethic, which took place in secular Europe since the end of the 20th century. The rise of cheap, crass, and corrupt entertainment has created new opportunities for younger people to work less and to party more. From high officials in Brussels to ordinary citizens in the famous PIGS countries, Europeans have domesticated the sin of laziness. This talk will explain why the slow death of Christian faith in Europe will inevitably lead to economic poverty and civilizational decay.
  • AU 2018: Abraham Kuyper, Leo XIII, and Modern Christian Social Thought (Jordan Ballor) $0.99
    This session examines the modern foundations of Christian social thought in two major traditions: Reformed and Roman Catholic. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Dutch Calvinist churchman and statesman Abraham Kuyper and Pope Leo XIII published significant texts that set the stage for the next century and beyond of Christian social reflection. Ranging from principles like solidarity and subsidiarity, to sphere sovereignty and stewardship, these thinkers spoke insightfully to their own times, and provide significant guidance to our own reflection today.
  • AU 2018: Business Ethics and Religious Belief (Kenneth Barnes) $0.99
    A consideration of business ethics from the perspective of historic religions is fraught with difficulties, not least because business as we understand it today bears little resemblance to the economic activity of ancient times. Despite these difficulties, this lecture will explore a range of similarities among the so-called global religions as well as certain particularities, relating to the ethics of economic activity and commerce.
  • AU 2018: Does the Free Economy Stifle a Culture of Beauty? (David Clayton) $0.99
    What forms culture? Illustrating his talk with many examples of art and architecture, Clayton argues that capitalism, mass production and industrialization are not the cause of ugliness as many believe. Rather, the same conditions that allow for man to flourish in society – personal freedom and faith – are those that allow also for a culture of beauty to develop.
  • AU 2018: Hope for the Inner City (Ismael Hernandez) $0.99
    Examines strategies to improve the socio-economic conditions of inner cities in North America. Fragile urban infrastructures are often vulnerable to patterns that impede human flourishing. This lecture presents an alternate vision for personal and communal uplift based on local entrepreneurial initiative.
  • Income and Inequality (Stephen Barrows) $0.99
    Free competitive economies create broad levels of prosperity, yet at the same time can lead to increasing levels of inequality. This is one of the strongest social critiques of the free-market system. This course will analyze the sources of inequality, its social impact, and provide a biblical analysis of the distribution of gifts and talents.
  • AU 2018: Marriage Makes the Man (W. Bradford Wilcox) $0.99
    The institution of marriage plays a central role in connecting men to the marketplace. Marriage motivates ordinary men to work harder, smarter, and more profitably. This lecture will explain the economic benefits of marriage for men, and will also detail some of the social and psychological benefits of marriage for men.
  • AU 2018: Natural Law: A Primer (J. Budziszewski) $0.99
    The spine of the Western tradition of law and ethics is the doctrine of natural moral law. But what is the natural law? Why does there such a thing? Is it really natural? Is it really law? Is it possible not to know its precepts? If not, then is it possible to know them but tell ourselves that we don’t?
  • AU 2018: The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom (Robert Joustra) $0.99
    This lecture argues that underlying rival public perspectives about religion and religious freedom in North America are rival understandings of the meaning and practice of the religious and the secular. It shows how debates over the American Office of Religious Freedom and its International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA, 1998) and very recent debates over the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom (2013) have pitted at least six basic, but very different meanings of the religious and the secular against each other in often undisclosed and usually unproductive ways. Properly naming this ‘religious problem’ is a critical first step to acknowledging and conciliating their practically polar political prescriptions.
  • AU 2018: The Centrality of the Family in Ancient Israel (Scott Hahn) $0.99
    In Ancient Israel, there were important differences between contract and covenant. The Sabbath was the means by which God reminded his people that they were called to sonship “covenant”, and not mere servanthood “contract”.
  • AU 2018: The Theology of Work (Charlie Self) $0.99
    An introduction to the biblical, historical and theological foundations of human labor. We will examine several of the Jewish and Christian traditions concerning the goodness of work, the challenges of a just economy and economic wisdom insights uniting liberty and the common good. "In the beginning..." we meet the Creator as the first worker, and humankind's vocation includes creative work and stewardship of God's world.

Session 10

  • AU 2018: A Christian Case for Religious Liberty (Hunter Baker) $0.99
  • AU 2018: Business and the Common Good (Scott Rae) $0.99
    In the light of numerous charges, particularly as a result of the financial crisis and its aftermath, of the destructive potential of business, we will examine the various ways that business contributes to the common good of society. We will address both the need for profit and the mandate for service in answering the question, "What's a Business For?"
  • Creation and the Image of God (Scott Hahn) $0.99
    Work itself was one of God’s original blessings in creation, because only through work can we truly become like God. But work itself must be consecrated through worship; the fruits of our labor are taken up into the Liturgy. This has profound implications for economics and what it means to be called into God’s covenant family.
  • Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism (Kishore Jayabalan) $0.99
    Prior to Edmund Burke, partisanship was widely decried as a serious malady to the body politic and the common good. The statesman and philosopher most associated with modern conservativism defended parties on the grounds of principle. This lecture will examine why and ask whether Burke succeeded, especially in light of the continuing critiques of partisanship from religious and moral leaders.
  • Free-Market Thought: Austrian Economics (Roger Garrison) $0.99
    Austrian Economics, which embodies individualism, subjectivism and dynamic markets, is particularly suited to understanding the perverse link between a centrally controlled monetary system and a decentralized market economy. The ups and downs of the business cycle can be understood in terms of a pricing system that distorts interest rates and hence distorts the entrepreneurial planning of time-consuming projects on an economy-wide level.
  • Private Property and the Early Church (Stephen Presley) $0.99
    Some studies of early Christianity assume that private property had no place in the life of the early church. They argue that in the first few centuries of the church, Christians held everything in common as they waited fervently for the Lord’s return. This presentation, however, will show that early Christians actually valued property and the role it played it early Christian life and worship.
  • Property Rights in the Old Testament (John Bergsma) $0.99
    In contemporary culture, business, and even private ownership in general, is often portrayed as intrinsically evil. This lecture explores the place and responsibilities of ownership as presented in the opening books of the Bible.
  • Reviving Catholic Social Thought in the Modern Era (Daniel Frascella) $0.99
    The principles of Catholic Social Thought are grounded in Revelation and natural law, and built upon a Christian anthropology. But in the modern era, these principles are often contested or rejected. The project of reclaiming CST in today's world is more important than ever, and must be based on an understanding of the needs and challenges of our day.
  • Strong Families, Prosperous States (W. Bradford Wilcox) $0.99
    How the state of our unions affects the economic prosperity of our states.
  • The Moral Imagination: On the Importance of Literature for Politics (Peter Meilaender) $0.99
    Almost 2500 years ago, Plato argued that the ideal state would need to banish poets. I disagree, but at least Plato – unlike many of our contemporaries—took reading seriously. In this presentation we consider how reading great literature shapes us as political animals, and the implications of this for issues such as censorship or education.

Session 11

  • Accountable Entrepreneurship: A Wesleyan Understanding of the Connected Individual (Jay Moon/James Thobaben) $0.99
    John Wesley encouraged diligence through his own life example and in his teaching, most notably demonstrated through the Wesleyan connectional system. This lecture will examine Wesley’s approach, briefly examine how the Methodist movement abandoned accountability at great cost, and provide some contemporary examples that demonstrate how his approach can be usefully reapplied.
  • Benedict XVI and the Crisis of Europe (Samuel Gregg) $0.99
    Outlines Benedict XVI’s diagnosis of Europe’s contemporary crisis of identity, clarifies his proposals for European renewal, and assesses the chances of realizing this vision.
  • Distributism: Theory and Critique (David Deavel) $0.99
    Increasingly popular among Christians of all confessions, the economic theory of distributism, often associated with Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, is often presented as a Christian “third way” between capitalism and socialism. This lecture outlines distributist theory and articulates a robust critique of its premises and workings.
  • East Meets West: Consumerism and Asceticism (Rev. Gregory Jensen) $0.99
    Consumerism and asceticism represent two different moral visions for our economic life. While it might be more clearly seen in a particular economic system, in a fallen world consumerism is a common human temptation. As for asceticism, it isn’t a gloomy denial of the good things of life but a formation in Christian joy.
  • Intersectionality and Social Justice (Elizabeth Corey) $0.99
    This lecture offers an explanation of the phenomenon of intersectionality. The lecture will highlight intersectionality’s virtues and limitations. Ultimately, however, Corey will argue that intersectionality is dangerously divisive because it separates and “fragments” Americans into ever-smaller social groups with distinct and opposed ideological interests.
  • Population Economics (Stephen Barrows) $0.99
    Environmental alarmists often repeat the Malthusian warning that human population growth is harmful to the planet and is unsustainable. In contrast, many economists are a bit more optimistic about human population growth. This course examines how Austrian economists have responded to Malthusianism and the implications of their insights for the modern Malthusian debate.
  • Rising Powers: The Heart of Economic Development (Peter Heslam) $0.99
    Two characteristics of emerging economies today are the rise of entrepreneurial capitalism and the rise of religion. This course will examine the convergence of these two developments in order to assess its potential for human well-being. It will draw from original research on Christian entrepreneurs worldwide.
  • The Moral Impact and Pastoral Response to Unemployment (Rev. David Rivera) $0.99
    In this lecture the detrimental effects of unemployment on the moral life will be discussed. The effects of government programs for the unemployed will be evaluated and finally some pastoral responses will be presented. The presentation will focus principally on the migrant and urban context. The perspective will be one of a Roman Catholic priest working in a diverse but mainly Spanish-speaking population covering an area that includes rural, suburban, and urban areas.
  • The Role of a Free Press in a Democracy (Patrick Garry) $0.99
    This lecture will examine the importance of a free press to the maintenance of a free and democratic society. Similar to the rights of free speech and religious exercise, a free press constitutes an essential pillar of civil liberty. This role will be highlighted through a discussion of political philosophy, Constitutional principles, and how courts have tried to balance the rights and duties of the press.
  • The Sexual State and the Ideology of Divorce (Jennifer Roback Morse) $0.99
    This lecture addresses these questions: What is the Divorce Ideology and what is wrong with it? Topics covered include divorce, non-marital child-bearing and third-party reproduction. What role has the State played in implementing this ideology throughout society? Does the Divorce Ideology contribute to human liberty or detract from it? What is a Christ-like response to the Divorce Ideology?
  • What Happiness Is and Isn’t: Insights from Thomas Aquinas (J. Budziszewski) $0.99
    Survey researchers ask people what happiness and ultimate purpose are. But do people know? Perhaps a bit of philosophy is needed here. Fortunately, the great thinker Thomas Aquinas has analyzed happiness in detail, exploding myths about it (for example that happiness is the same as pleasure) and asking what it is in itself (both in this world and the next).