Acton University 2015


Evening Plenaries

  • Acton University 2015: Samuel Gregg Opening Keynote $0.00
    Dr. Samuel Gregg is director of research at Acton Institute. He writes and speaks frequently on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. His latest forthcoming book is Finance, Capital, and the Good Life.
  • Acton University 2015: Gregory Thornbury Plenary Address $0.00
    Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D., serves as the sixth president of The King's College in New York City. The King’s College seeks to prepare leaders for strategic institutions in society through courses of study in: politics, philosophy, and economics, business, finance, and media, culture, and the arts. He has been called "Jonathan Edwards Meets Rolling Stone" by Russell D. Moore and "America's First Hipster College President" by The American Spectator. He previously held the post of professor of philosophy, dean of the school of theology, and vice president for spiritual life at Union University. He is the author of Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry (Crossway, 2013). In addition, he is a senior fellow of The Kairos Journal, as well as a visiting professor of philosophy at Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole in Norway.
  • Acton University 2015: Joel Salatin Keynote Address $0.00
    Joel Salatin is an entrepreneur and farmer. He is a passionate defender of free markets, small farms, and local food systems. Salatin and his family run Polyface, Inc., a farm where they do not use harmful chemicals, and sell meat by direct-marketing to private consumers and restaurants.
  • Acton University 2015: Rev. Robert A. Sirico's Closing Address $0.00
    Rev. Robert A. Sirico is the president and co-founder of the Acton Institute and pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, and National Review. Fr. Sirico is often called upon by members of the broadcast media for statements regarding economics, civil rights, and issues of religious concern, and has provided commentary for CNN, ABC, the BBC, NPR, and CBS' 60 Minutes, among others. In his new book, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, Fr. Sirico shows how a free economy is the best way to meet society’s material needs.

Day 1 - June 17, 2015

  • Christian Anthropology (Dr. Samuel Gregg - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture draws on Scripture, patristic sources, and natural law to ground the Christian vision of virtuous liberty in the idea of “freedom for excellence”, contrasting it with the alternative of “freedom of indifference”, and outlines the concrete implications of these different understandings of human freedom.
  • Markets and Monasticism (Dylan Pahman - AU15) $1.99
    This course offers a brief survey and analysis of the historical interaction between Christian monasticism and markets, both East and West. The overwhelmingly positive practice of monastic enterprise since the beginning of the movement offers an important context for monastic teachings on wealth, possessions, and poverty and challenges common caricatures of monasticism as being of no “earthly” good.
  • Getting Social Justice Right (Dr. Ryan Anderson - AU15) $1.99
    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.
  • East Meets West: Consumerism and Asceticism (Fr. Gregory Jensen - AU15) $1.99
    Asceticism is concerned with the “inner transformation of the human person, in his being progressively conformed to Christ.” Understood in this way, asceticism has a foundational role to play in any Christian response to the practical and anthropological challenges of consumerism.
  • Creation and the Image of God (Dr. Scott Hahn - AU15) $1.99
    An important aspect of bearing God's image is human labor. Work itself was one of God’s original blessings in creation, because only through work can we truly become like God. The climax of creation is the Sabbath, which signifies how work itself must be ordered to worship; the fruit of our labor is to be consecrated by the liturgy. This has profound implications for economics and what it means to to fulfill our covenant with God, especially in our family relations.
  • Christopher Dawson and the Dynamics of History (Dr. Bradley Birzer - AU15) $1.99
    Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) was one of the most important unsung heroes of the twentieth century. Though he strongly influenced such diverse figures as T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, and Russell Kirk, few remember him. Still, he has much to offer, especially in our world of parallel radicalizations of both secularism and fundamentalism. This lecture will examine not only the fascinating life of Dawson, but the profundity of his historical, poetic, and anthropological thought.
  • Christianity and Cultural Responsibility (John Stonestreet - AU15) $1.99
    What is the scope of Christian concern? How far shall we pursue influence and transformation? This course will reexamine H. Richard Neibuhr's categories from Christ and Culture, and their usefulness in light of an increasingly post-Christian context of radical autonomy, aggressive secularism, waning Biblical literacy and the rise of neo-gnosticism.
  • Christian Vision of Government (Michael Matheson Miller - AU15) $1.99
    This course examines the Christian and natural law principles that inform Christian thinking about the role of government and law in free and virtuous societies, beginning with a survey of Christianity’s decisive moral and institutional contribution to limiting state power.
  • The Soteriology of John Wesley's Ministry to the Poor (Dr. Kenneth Collins - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture explores John Wesley's understanding of wealth and how, if properly employed, it can become a genuine means of grace to the poor. By breaking out of a mere economic understanding of poverty, Wesley properly assessed both the material needs as well as the spiritual needs of the poor in a way that issued in a dynamic, transformative ministry for all involved that did not mistake “penultimate things” for what is truly ultimate.
  • The Moral Case for Economic Growth (Dr. Edd Noell - AU15) $1.99
    Can economic growth be defended on a moral basis? Some critics claim that growth makes an economy less sensitive to the well-being of the poor and encourages consumption fed by a materialistic spirit. Yet in fact there is a moral case for growth tied to the Christian values of creativity and compassion for the poor.
  • The Centrality of the Family in Ancient Israel (Dr. Scott Hahn - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture explores some of the significant differences between contracts and covenants in ancient Israel, and how Israel's covenant with God provided the sacred foundations of marriage and family life. Careful study of the covenant Law of Moses shows us how many legal obligations were intended to protect and strengthen family relations within ancient Israel. This has important social implications for believers today
  • Pope Francis, the Gospel, and Catholic Social Teaching: An Introduction (Rev. Roger Landry - AU15) $1.99
    Pope Francis has called the Church a field hospital in battle and has sought to summon those who follow Christ to overcome globalized indifference and the deadening of conscience that comes through secularism and consumerism to become Good Samaritans attending to the wounds especially of those forgotten on the margins of existence. We will examine together the background to Pope Francis’ often provocative and controversial words and where they fit into Catholic Social Thought.
  • From Paternalism to Partnership (Greg Elzinga - AU15) $1.99
    This course explores some of the dominant approaches in economic development of the last several decades and focus on new models for partnership and business development in communities and countries with high unemployment and poverty.
  • Can Business and Religion Get Along? Evidence from History (Dr. Kevin Schmiesing - AU15) $1.99
    Trade and religion are both nearly universal features of human experience. What is the historical relationship between business leaders and clergy, between commerce and Christianity? This lecture summarizes the history of this interaction, offers illustrative anecdotes from the past, and reflects on the significance of these historical experiences for contemporary concerns about the integration of faith and economic life.
  • The Economic Way of Thinking (Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse - AU15) $1.99
    Introduces the basic intellectual components of the economic way of thinking, examines the institutional prerequisites of the free economy, and considers their compatibility with Christian anthropology and its vision of virtuous liberty.
  • Value Investing (David Bahnsen - AU15) $1.99
    With widespread public ownership of companies through the stock market and mutual and pension funds there is increasing interest in the moral implications of investing. This course examines the different understandings of socially responsible investing and how investors can invest in a manner that is both profitable and morally responsible.
  • Economic Growth, The Rule of Law, and the Image of God (Dr. P.J. Hill - AU15) $1.99
    The beginning of modern economic growth around 1800 in England and the Netherlands is one of the most important change-points in world history. This lecture explores the role played by the concept of the imago dei and consequently the rule of law in understanding this period of growth.
  • Community and Economic Development (Justin Beene - AU15) $1.99
    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 highlights principles of effective compassion being implemented by neighborhood-based urban ministries that are genuinely making a difference.
  • Christianity and Postmodernity (John Stonestreet - AU15) $1.99
    This course examines the philosophical and theological challenges that postmodern ideas and the postmodern mood presents to the formation of a Biblical economic worldview. The course will touch on how our understanding of morality, value, the nature of the human person, and the market has been shaped by the skepticism embedded in the contemporary mindset.
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Prophet and Critic (Rev. Johannes Jacobse - AU15) $1.99
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the courageous Russian writer, contributed indispensably to bringing down the Soviet Union. Conventional Western opinion sees his story, too, as ending then. But the conflict of good against evil and truth against lies runs throughout the moral universe, not just the Soviet scene. Moreover, half of his writings are not yet in English. This lecture explores the unknown Solzhenitsyn.
  • Biblical Foundations of Freedom (Dr. Charles Self - AU15) $1.99
    This course sorts out the confusing and thorny issue of the use of Scripture and religious authority in crafting a strategy to engage the public institutions of society, and touches on how virtue can be taught and then acted upon effectively in society to reinvigorate a moral consensus.
  • Demographics and Civilizational Decline (David Goldman - AU15) $1.99
    Small civilizations are overrun; big civilizations destroy themselves. The demographics of the industrial world point towards a deep decline. The demographic winter stems from a crisis of faith. This course explores historical precedents for civilizational decline, analyze current trends, and address the question: can the decline of the West be reversed? The circumstances of Christian, Muslim and Jewish civilization are examined in pursuit of an answer.
  • The Mystery of the Invisible Hand: From Adam to Adam Smith (Kenneth Elzinga - AU15) $1.99
    Adam Smith claimed that by an ‘invisible hand,’ social good could be accomplished when people pursue their own self-interest. Using this metaphor as a starting point, this lecture discusses how even the common man might flourish despite the sinful nature that we have inherited from, Adam, the ‘first man’.
  • Early Christian Critics of Socialism: Lessons for Today (Dr. Alejandro Chafuen - AU15) $1.99
    During the first half of the XIXth century, religious scholars, such as Blessed Fr. Antonio Rosmini (Italy), Fr. Jaime Balmes (Spain), and Anglican Bishop Richard Whately (Ireland), developed criticisms of socialism, a defense of private property, and a theory of value that anticipated the contributions of Hayek, Mises and others by many decades. Their analysis provides valuable lessons for today.
  • Africa: New Pathways for Development (Widmer - AU15) $1.99
    This course 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.

Day 2 - June 18, 2015

  • Islam 101 (Akyol - AU15) $1.99
    This course explains the basic religious tenets of Islam, provides some background to their development, and then illustrates how they play out in the realms of politics, culture and economics.
  • Worship or Participation: The Role of Religion in Public Life (Stonestreet - AU15) $1.99
    Listening to pundits, one might conclude that there are only two options for religion in the public square. Either it must be a “naked” public square where religious expression is restricted to personal belief and private gatherings, or it is a theocratic state where everyone’s behavior must conform whether they share belief or not. There is, of course, other options which this course will explore, toward the end that are arguments and engagements in the public square can be marked by an informed winsomeness rather than shrill imposition or fearful withdrawal.
  • What Is Natural Law? (Dr. J. Budziszewski - AU15) $1.99
    What does it mean to say that there is a natural moral law and what difference does it make? Is it really natural? Is it really law? What does it tell us, and how has our world lost sight of it? This course discusses the foundations of the natural law tradition, its modern demise, and its contemporary renaissance.
  • The Family and the Market (Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse - AU15) $1.99
    This session answers these questions: In what ways does the market rely on the family? How is the modern idea of sexual freedom different from older ideas of freedom? How can market pressures on the family be resolved or alleviated?
  • Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is (Michael Novak - AU15) $1.99
    Today many people speak fervently of “social justice.” This lecture, based on Social Justice: What It Is, What It Isn’t (Encounter Books, forthcoming in 2015), a book coauthored by Michael Novak, will seek to clarify the history of the term “social justice” and how it plays out in contemporary political and policy debates.
  • Property Rights in the Old Testament I (Dr. John Bergsma - AU15) $1.99
    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.
  • Progressivism: Theory and Critique (Dr. Kevin Schmiesing - AU15) $1.99
    Progressivism is a diverse, international movement that arose in response to industrialization in Europe and North America. Concentrating especially on the United States, this lecture summarizes the principal ideas promoted by progressive intellectuals and examines their relationship to traditional Christian understandings of politics and society.
  • Myths About The Market (Dr. Jay Richards - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture identifies the primary myths about the free economy, illustrates why they are false, and demonstrates why market economics often requires us to think counter intuitively.
  • Judaism and the Market Economy (Dr. Steven Grosby - AU15) $1.99
    Judaism presents the paradox of being associated with both progressive, state-directed economic policies and capitalism. Why is this so? In fact, while the Jewish tradition conveys an obligatory, charitable concern for one’s neighbor, it also clearly embodies positive views of private property.
  • Introduction to Orthodox Social Thought (Dylan Pahman - AU15) $1.99
    This course offers an introduction to fundamental principles for Orthodox Christian social thought.
  • Income and Inequality (Dr. Stephen Barrows - AU15) $1.99
    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.
  • Catholic Social Teaching 101 (Rev. Raymond deSouza - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture introduces participants to the history of modern Catholic social teaching from Rerum Novarum onward, and establishes the nature, purpose, and basic principles of Catholic social teaching.
  • Vocational Stewardship and Community Transformation (Dr. Amy Sherman - AU15) $1.99
    Christians are called to join Jesus on His mission of renewing all things. Learn how believers are doing this effectively by stewarding their vocational power with intentionality, creativity, and strategic focus, and how their efforts are advancing foretastes of justice and shalom in and through their workplaces, industries, and communities.
  • Religion, Social Trends and Demographics (Dr. Yuri Mantilla - AU15) $1.99
    The course analysis the applicability of fundamental Christian concepts of political theology and law to current justice issues, including economic development and the defense of the right to life. The course explains why the Christian understanding of freedom, evil, justice, law and order is the foundation to address justice issues and economic development. The course also explains why it is in the best interest of the Latino community, as the largest minority group in America, to embrace the Christian worldview of human dignity and free market economic policies.
  • Poverty in the Developing World (Michael Matheson Miller - AU15) $1.99
    This course 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.
  • Philanthropy and Civil Society: An Ethic of Beneficence for the Modern Age (Dr. Lenore Ealy - AU15) $1.99
    What role does philanthropy play in society? This discussion will look at the tensions between the supposed moral good of philanthropy and the supposed moral bad of commerce. Using Adam Smith’s discussion of justice and beneficence in his Theory of Moral Sentiments as a lens, we will explore society’s conceptual understanding of the relationship between philanthropy and a free society.
  • Introduction to the Chicago School (Prof. Ross Emmett - AU15) $1.99
    From Frank Knight and Jacob Viner in the 1930s to James Heckman and Lars Hansen today, economists at the University of Chicago have been leaders in the economics discipline. At the core of the Chicago School’s success is its clear understanding of the role of prices in markets. What has separated the School from other approaches is its appreciation for market outcomes, and the willingness of its members to venture outside the boundaries of traditional “economic” problems to use price theory to explain everything from law, marriage, crime, and monopolies to democratic processes and religion. This session lays out the basics of the Chicago approach, its key figures, and the three major transitions in Chicago School thinking, and then contrasts it with mainstream and Austrian economics.
  • Introduction to Real Business Ethics (Dr. Maximilian Torres - AU15) $1.99
    Real business ethics aims to prepare students for a productive life of service to others through enterprise, which it accomplishes by developing their moral virtues. Counterfeit business ethics aims to prepare students for a life of progressive activism in their workplaces, which it accomplishes by prejudicing them against capitalism and markets.
  • Home Economics: What Does Family Structure Have to Do with Economic Success in America? (Prof. W. Bradford Wilcox - AU15) $1.99
    This course examines the difference that marriage makes in the lives of men and their families.
  • Free Market Thought: Austrian Economics (Lawrence Reed - AU15) $1.99
    Thinking about economics through the lens of individualism, subjective value and dynamic markets, and focusing on the unique contributions of the Austrian school and its understanding of money and the business cycle.
  • American Constitutionalism: What Ever Happened to "Limited and Enumerated Powers"? (Hon. Joseph Scoville - AU15) $1.99
    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?
  • Alexis de Tocqueville: Prophet of our Times (Dr. Kenneth Grasso - AU15) $1.99
    In his famous work, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville discussed the importance of what he called "intermediary institutions" as an important element to maintain liberty and social cohesion. This course examines some of the main elements of Tocqueville's thought including democratic notions of equality and the importance of a civil society as a key to liberty and human flourishing.
  • Theology of Work (Dr. Scott Rae - AU15) $1.99
    Judaism and Christianity are unique in their appreciation of the significance of human work. This lecture presents human work from a theological standpoint, its place in redeeming man and the work, and its relationship to God’s work of creation.
  • Church Fathers on Usury (Rev. John Zuhlsdorf - AU15) $1.99
    An examination of the thought of the Church Fathers on the topic of usury.
  • Distributism: Theory and Critique (Dr. Todd Flanders - AU15) $1.99
    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.
  • John Wesley: Social Entrepreneur (Dr. Charles Self - AU15) $1.99
    This course examines the context, content and lasting consequences of John Wesley's leadership in establishing the evangelical movement, expressing ecumenical openness to other Christian traditions and his integration of spiritual awakening with economic and social reform. He is model of biblical thoughtfulness, principled inclusiveness, and contextual praxis.
  • Microfinance and Development (Peter Greer - AU15) $1.99
    Since Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his groundbreaking work helping the financially poor, microfinance has become a global phenomenon. This course examines the unique power of Christ-centered microfinance—how business training, discipleship, loans, and savings—is helping some of the poorest communities to break the cycles of physical and spiritual poverty.
  • Property Rights in the Old Testament II (Dr. John Bergsma - AU15) $1.99
    This course focuses on the important role that private property plays in the Old Testament after the Pentateuch, especially in relationship to family, kinship, and social cohesion. It examines the normative texts on property and wealth creation from the historical books through the end of the OT and the critique by the prophets of economic injustice and oppression.
  • Religious Liberty and the Entrepreneurial Economy (Dr. Greg Forster - AU15) $1.99
    The entrepreneurial economy and modern civilization began with an unprecedented expansion of religious freedom in the 18th century, and they continue to create openings for advancing that freedom. However, paradoxically, the basic principles of the entrepreneurial economy and modern civilization also create unique challenges for freedom of religion. This course explores the dangers and opportunities for religious liberty in our time.
  • Social Entrepreneurship (Anielka Olsen - AU15) $1.99
    Although there is not a single definition of the term, there is a general consensus that “social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems.” Their initiatives might be non-profit, for profit or hybrids. Given the increasing popularity of social entrepreneurship, this course analyzes its promise and limitations.
  • The Architecture of Natural Law (Dr. J. Budziszewski - AU15) $1.99
    According to Thomas Aquinas, natural law is not free-standing, but part of a vast architecture of law. The whole structure rests on the wisdom by which God created and governs the universe. Amazingly, though God could have yanked us by strings, instead, despite sin, he draws our finite minds up into his own providential care for the universe.

  • The Austrian Tradition on Social and Economic Order (Jeffrey Tucker - AU15) $1.99
    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. Order emerges from within society itself through the choices of individuals and is coordinated by institutions such as prices, traditions, and organically developed norms. This class explores the views of Carl Menger, F.A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises on the basis of social and economic institutions.
  • The Social Teaching of John Paul II (Rev. Raymond de Souza - AU15) $1.99
    This course discusses the specific contributions of John Paul II to the development of Catholic social teaching, paying special attention to his treatment of economic subjects.

Day 3 - June 19, 2015

  • Communitarianism: Theory and Critique (Dr. Kenneth Grasso - AU15) $1.99
    This course explores two different understandings of community that have emerged in the course of modern history, their respective understandings of the human person and society, and the implications of each for our understanding of the state and its role in the overall economy of human social life.
  • Crony Capitalism (Dr. Jay Richards - AU15) $1.99
    Popular comparisons of political economy often treat the primary options as either free-market capitalism or socialism, but in the 21st century, both of these options are being displaced by a third way called cronyism. Unlike a free market, cronyism involves the widespread collusion between government regulators and large private corporations. Using the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath as a current example, this course will explain the essential elements of cronyism and how to distinguish it from both free enterprise and socialism.
  • Human Trafficking (Kim Biddle - AU15) $1.99
    Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world and more prevalent now than ever before in history. In this session, Kim Biddle shows what this looks like in the United States, how this affects your personal and communal health, and what root societal factors are driving this crime around the world.
  • Islam, Markets & The Free Society (Akyol - AU15) $1.99
    Many ask if Islam is compatible with free markets or whether it promotes collectivism. This course provides a brief overview of Islamic sources on the issue of economic freedom, and an examination of the newly developing “Islamic capitalism.”
  • Living the Virtues in the Free Economy (Dr. Michael Therrien - AU15) $1.99
    This course offers a Christian perspective on the relationship between freedom and virtue and explores some of the ways authentic freedom is actualized in and through the virtuous life.
  • Marketplace as Social Shalom (Dr. Anthony Bradley - AU15) $1.99
    This session explores the societal implications of understanding business as a social justice vocation by nature, and defines the ways in which marketplace leaders are invaluable as the primary change agents for communities seeking to help to the poor and bring peace.
  • The End and Rise of Socialism (Dr. James Otteson - AU15) $1.99
    Some people believe that we must have some measure of capitalism because of various human failings, but that socialism would be morally preferable if only we could live up to its ideals. What are the moral ends socialism proposes, and how does it propose to achieve those ends?
  • The Rise and Fall of the European Social Market (Dr. Samuel Gregg - AU15) $1.99
    After World War II, many West European governments implemented economic policies that sought to enhance the economic security of the population and promote economic equity. This lecture examines the origins of these policies, discusses their strengths and weaknesses, and considers the reasons for the apparent faltering of the European Social Model.
  • Entrepreneurial Culture: How it Supports Innovation (Andreas Widmer - AU15) $1.99
    The entrepreneurial culture requires individuals to move beyond convention which can be uncomfortable and very challenging. The winning entrepreneurial culture adopts useful conventions and creatively destroys those which are not efficient or focused on the future market. This course examines the spiritual and material conditions for building an innovative culture.
  • How To Talk About Natural Law (Dr. J. Budziszewski - AU15) $1.99
    According to the classical natural law tradition, the foundational moral principles are not only right for everyone, but at some level known to everyone. One would think that would make them easy to talk about. Surprisingly, it doesn’t. How can we speak with skeptical neighbors, to whom even the law “written on the heart” seems too obscure?
  • Moral Imagination (Michael Matheson Miller - AU15) $1.99
    This course examines the idea of "moral imagination" and its relationship to politics, education, and human flourishing, and will suggest several steps for educating and building up the moral imagination.
  • Partnership Based Community Development (Rev. Dr. Svetlana Papazov - AU15) $1.99
    The drive to maintain political correctness makes it easier for Christians to compartmentalize their lives and to separate the sacred from the secular. This course looks at how Christians can bridge this divide at the local level, and proposes a practical methodology for establishing church and community partnerships.
  • Second Thoughts: Newman on Political and Economic Liberty (Dr. David Deavel - AU15) $1.99
    While opposing “liberalism” in religion—the notion that all theological beliefs are equal—John Henry Newman was, in politics and economics, “in the liberal tradition.” This course covers Newman's orthodox Christian approach to the advantages and challenges for modern believers in liberal regimes and market driven economies.
  • Statesman: The Thought of Leo XIII (Rev. Raymond de Souza - AU15) $1.99
    Leo the Thirteenth is considered the father of modern Catholic social teaching. Yet Leo’s influence was much greater. After the loss of the papal states, Leo re-oriented the papacy toward an evangelical engagement with the world. His work on the social order emphasized the Christian disciple’s role in “ruling” the temporal spheres entrusted to him.

  • Religious Liberty and the Challenges to Conscience (Prof. Gerrard Bradley - AU15) $1.99
    In most Western countries, religious "liberty" is affirmed as a "liberty" in the sense of free to do as one wills. Religious "liberty" is thus a sphere in which the individual has a sovereign prerogative over one's attitudes and acts regarding religious questions. In the same domains, "religion" includes more than just traditional understandings of 'religion" as involving obligations to a greater-than-human-source of meaning and value. In this view, "religion" pertains to any core commitment about one's identity. This lecture suggests that these ways of thinking are defective. "Religious liberty" is in fact an amalgam of moral duties and the right to religious liberty is none other than the space needed by people and communities to fulfill these obligations.
  • Are the Poor 'Blessed' If we Make them Rich? (Dr. Peter Kreeft - AU15) $1.99
    Christianity is full of paradoxes, in practice as well as in doctrine. For instance, death is "the last enemy" yet it is our only hope, our door into Heaven. We are to fight for life and against our "culture of death," yet be detached from life and accept death when it comes, as God's will. Similarly, in economic morality, we are to be detached from riches, and the poor are "blessed," yet we are commanded to relieve their poverty. So, does this mean that we are commanded to make them less blessed?
  • Benedict XVI and the Crisis of Europe (Dr. Samuel Gregg - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture outlines Benedict the 16th’s diagnosis of Europe’s contemporary crisis of identity, clarifies his proposals for European renewal, and assesses the chances of realizing this vision.
  • Church, City, and Urban Renewal (Pastor Christopher Brooks - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture will introduce us to the theological intersection between the biblical call for advocating justice for the poor and weak, and the market economy in an urban context.
  • Envy and Its Discontents (Dr. Victor Claar - AU15) $1.99
    In a free-market system, participants are free to pursue exchanges that lead to their mutual benefit. Yet market economies do not lead to equal outcomes, even though the same rules apply to all participants. Using St. Thomas Aquinas's definition of envy as a starting point, and drawing upon both biblical examples and modern research, this course critically examines the potentially corrosive role that envy may play in our relationships in a market economy, and critiques the idea of equality of economic outcomes from a moral and anthropological perspective.
  • Evangelicals and Social Justice (Dr. James Bruce - AU15) $1.99
    This course moves beyond popular misconceptions about social justice to see and explain its redistributionist roots in John Rawls, and presents the economics of wealth creation and income distribution in the decades of globalization and inflation with a Biblically integrated understanding.
  • Latin America: New Pathways of Development (Anielka Olson - AU15) $1.99
    This course explores the current situation in Latin America and discusses the obstacles to development and a number of conditions required for prosperity in the region.
  • The Enduring Allure of Karl Marx (Dr. James Otteson - AU15) $1.99
    One might think that with the collapse of socialist economies, Karl Marx’s writings would have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Yet Marx’s writings find their way into far more college syllabi than do those of, say, Adam Smith. Why? What can Marx’s writings offer us today?
  • The Social Vision of Abraham Kuyper (Dr. Vincent Bacote - AU15) $1.99
    Abraham Kuyper was a true Christian Renaissance man whose life provides a great example of public Christianity that touches every area of life, sometimes in unexpected ways. This lecture examines what we can learn from his legacy and how we can develop it in ways that encourage flourishing in culture, society and the economic realm.
  • Theories of Inequality and Fairness: Affirmative Action (Dr. Anthony Bradley - AU15) $1.99
    The session explores the presuppositional frameworks that create the political divide between the right and the left in Western politics using the example of the affirmative action debate. Competing notions of fairness as “fair play” versus “fair shares” will also be explored in light of the basic norms of moral foundation theory.
  • 21st Century Catholic Social Thought (Rev. Raymond de Souza - AU15) $1.99
    Pope Benedict XVI indicated that the Church needed to recover charitable service as a key part of her social teaching. Pope Francis has taken that up, as well as the central place of the poor and the need to promote the “human ecology” articulated by St. John Paul II. Along with challenges to religious liberty and the rise of religious violence, those themes will shape Catholic social teaching in the 21st century.
  • Business and the Common Good (Dr. Scott Rae - AU15) $1.99
    In the light of numerous charges, particularly as a result of the financial crisis and its aftermath, of the destructive potential of business, this course examines the various ways that business contributes to the common good of society, and addresses both the need for profit and the mandate for service in answering the question, "What's a Business For?"
  • Free Market Thought: Public Choice Theory (Dr. P.J. Hill - AU15) $1.99
    As a school of economic thought, public choice theory is relatively new and has changed many perceptions of the nature of the state and government economic interventions. This lecture traces the background of public choice theory, its primary claims, and its most important insights.
  • Good, True, and Beautiful: CS Lewis (Dr. Peter Kreeft - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture explores how CSL gives us new insight and appreciation of the three things everybody always wants more of, because they are "patches of Godlight" in the woods of our world: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. These are also the three main things our contemporary Western culture has lost faith and hope in in its "world without heroes."
  • Orthodoxy and Natural Law (Very Rev. Michael Butler - AU15) $1.99
    Eastern Orthodoxy has been ambivalent about natural law. This lecture considers how natural law thinking might work in distinctly Orthodox ways of considering the relationship between faith and reason and examines some implications that might be useful today.
  • Private Charity: A Practitioner's View (Rodolpho Carrasco - AU15) $1.99
    This lecture expands on the unique ability of private charity to address human need using local knowledge and resources unavailable and unsuited to public agencies.
  • Religious Liberty: The Dawn of the First Amendment (Dr. John Pinhiero - AU15) $1.99
    Recent federal statutes threaten to undermine religious liberty in the United States of America. This lecture explores the history leading up to and immediately following the addition of the First Amendment, with its religious liberty clauses, to the U.S. Constitution.

  • The EU: Forerunner of Democratic Global Governance? (Todd Huizenga - AU15) $1.99
    Many in the European Union see the EU, the world’s first model of “supranational governance,” as a forerunner of a global legal order that would promote peace, democracy and stability throughout the world. This lecture explores whether this goal can this be accomplished, and if so, whether it can be accomplished by democratic means. It also examines the implications for Europe’s relations with the United States, the most powerful nation-state in the world.
  • Why East Asia has Risen out of Poverty (Dr. Kim Tan - AU15) $1.99
    Some 40 years ago, the GDP of a number of African countries were higher than that of most East Asian countries. This lecture discusses how these countries have transformed themselves into the Asian Tiger economies and examines their particular Asian characteristics.