Managing a business is a challenge no matter the context. Talent comes and goes, supplies change, and you can’t always achieve everything you want. Every day, new constraints create roadblocks to the next goal. There may not be one solution to these problems, but co-founder and managing partner of Michigan Software Labs Mark Johnson says strong company culture is the foundation of any successful company.

In this episode, Acton director of programs and education Dan Churchwell speaks to Mark about becoming an entrepreneur, managing the ever-changing challenges of managing a business, and why it’s important to be a good steward to both clients and colleagues.

Anyone of a certain age will remember the massive hit that was “We Are The World,” the Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones produced charity single by USA for Africa. The considerable profits from the that hit song went to the USA for Africa Foundation, which used them for the relief of famine and disease in Africa and specifically to 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia.

Even though Africa is an enormous and diverse continent with 54 sovereign countries, many people in the United States, and the west more generally, were left with the impression of Africa as destitute and poverty-stricken.

On today’s episode, Acton librarian and research associate Dan Hugger sits down with Acton research fellow and Journal of Markets & Morality executive editor Dylan Pahman to talk about educationThey begin with the 18th-century vision of education advanced by America’s Founders. Why did they believe education was necessary for a free society, and what kind of education did they have in mind?

The discussion then turns to attempts by St. John Henry Newman, F.D. Maurice, and Abraham Kuyper to build institutions of liberal learning in 19th-century Europe. What innovations did these men introduce to education? How did their approaches differ from what came before (and each other), and where were there continuities? What can we learn from these attempts in addressing the crisis in education today?

This week, Eric talks with Mustafa Akyol about his essay in the Winter issue of RELIGION & LIBERTY, a book review of “Wahhābism: The History of a Militant Islamic Movement.” Where did Wahhabist Islam come from and how much sway does it hold in the Muslim world today? Then Eric is joined by Anthony Bradley and Noah Gould as they discuss the He Gets Us ads from the Super Bowl, Tucker Carlson’s interview of Vladimir Putin, and how old is too old to be president of the United States.

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We are living in the age of deconstruction. We are constantly bombarded online, in schools, and sometimes even in our homes by attitudes and arguments aimed at deconstructing our faith. Through this, do we know what it means to question well?

Faith is not the sort of thing that endures so long as our eyes are closed. The opposite is the case: Faith helps us see, and that means not shrinking from the ambiguities and the difficulties that provoke our most profound questions.

In this episode, we bring you a recent Acton Lecture Series event with Kevin Vallier.

The 20th century featured an unusual phenomenon: global secularizing movements. In the 19th century, these movements were confined mostly to Western Europe, but in the 20th century they exploded, suppressing the influence of religion around the world. In some milder cases, as in Turkey and India, the political expression of only the great religions was throttled. In others, such as in the USSR and Mao’s China, ferocious religious persecution was an ideological necessity. In light of new political realities, however, older religious traditions are beginning to take back their influence in the public square. And they’re doing so by rejecting the “liberalism” they see as their oppressor.

On today’s episode, Acton librarian and research associate Dan Hugger speaks with lawyer and chair of Common Good Philip K. Howard about his new book: Everyday Freedom: Designing the Framework for a Flourishing Society. Why do so many people feel powerless today? How can people experience “everyday freedom” at work, in school, and in all of life? What forces in American life today stifle our sense of freedom and responsibility, and how can they be counteracted to ensure flourishing for all? What special role do people of faith have in empowering others in their community to realize freedom and responsibility?

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After decades of trade and investment with advanced democracies, China is far richer and stronger than it otherwise would have been. Simply put, the West’s strategy of engagement with China has failed. Democracies have underestimated the resilience, resourcefulness, and ruthlessness of the Chinese Communist Party. Growth and development have not caused China’s rulers to relax their grip on political power, nor have they accepted the rules and norms of the existing international system.

In this episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Aaron L. Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, about the biggest misconceptions the West has about China and the current Chinese regime—and what the West should be focused on in years to come.

In this episode of Acton Line, Dylan Pahman, Acton research fellow and executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, interviews Dr. Clara Piano, assistant professor of economics at Austin Peay State University, about her recent paper “Familial Liberty: Property and Family in Late Scholastic Thought,” presented at Acton’s Third Annual Academic Colloquium. Their wide-ranging discussion addresses such questions as: What is the connection between family and property? What insights do late Scholastic theologians have for us today? What does modern “pro-family” policy get wrong?

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On today’s episode, Acton, director of marketing and communications, Eric Kohn, speaks with AEI economic policy expert James Pethokoukis about his new book: The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised. With a popular culture fixated on catastrophe, are we at risk of pushing a pro-progress future into the realm of the impossible? Pethokoukis argues there’s still hope if we choose to do more than just dream—we must act, too. Why suddenly are we threatened by change? And where are our flying cars? Can we once again turn imagination into reality?

The Conservative Futurist | Hachette Book Group

In the late 1960’s as the hippie movement was shredding norms of hygiene and cleanliness in order to live more ‘authentically’, diseases emerged not seen in so long they didn’t have a latin name. The hippies, and others, were relearning why we engaged in certain hygienic practices all over again.

In an essay titled “The Great Unlearning” from the January 2024 issue of National Review, senior writer Noah Rothman observes similar patterns of people persuading themselves that inherited wisdom and common knowledge no longer apply.

In the late 1960’s as the hippie movement was shredding norms of hygiene and cleanliness in order to live more ‘authentically’, diseases emerged not seen in so long they didn’t have a latin name. The hippies, and others, were relearning why we engaged in certain hygienic practices all over again.

In an essay titled “The Great Unlearning” from the January 2024 issue of National Review, senior writer Noah Rothman observes similar patterns of people persuading themselves that inherited wisdom and common knowledge no longer apply.

On today’s episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Mike Cosper, director of podcasting for Christianity Today, about his recent trip to Israel. How has the region changed since the October 7 terrorist attacks? What do Christians in the region think? What hopes do those caught in the middle of the conflict have?

The stories Mike heard, the people he talked to, and the impression left on him by the experience are all part of Christianity Today’s newest roundtable podcast, The Bulletin.

On today’s episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), about his new book, The Canceling of the American Mind. Cancel culture appears to be pervasive, and this book is the first to examine the effect it has had—and is having—on the United States. How are both left and right using the power to “cancel” someone? Is cancel culture a relatively new phenomenon or has it always been with us in some form? And more importantly, what can we do to reclaim a free-speech culture?

The Canceling of the American Mind | Simon & Schuster

On today’s episode of Acton Line, we bring you a conversation about poverty recently held on our sister podcast, Acton Unwind. Acton’s Eric Kohn and Dan Hugger are joined by their colleague Michael Matheson Miller, who discusses his essay “The Poverty Pyramid Scheme,” and AIER’s Samuel Gregg on his book review “Mistaken About Poverty.” Both pieces appear in a special poverty-themed edition of RELIGION & LIBERTY magazine (Fall 2023) that contends that there isn’t one solution to poverty, but many.

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Your strengths, relationships, and self-awareness are all essential in determining how your business will operate—and whether it will succeed or fail. But how can you optimize each of these elements? How can you set realistic goals? How can your business overcome a plateau and continue to grow? SpringGR aims to answer these questions by connecting entrepreneurs with the intellectual, social, and financial capital needed to thrive.

In 2007, Thales Academy was born with a simple vision: provide an excellent and affordable education through the use of Direct Instruction and a Classical Curriculum that embodies traditional American values. In The Thales Way, Robert L. Luddy, the founder of Thales Academy and several other schools, explains the rationale for the school’s educational approach and elaborates on his mission to better educate students.

In this episode, Acton director of marketing and communications Eric Kohn speaks with Robert about the importance of a rigorous academic environment, virtuous leadership, lifelong learning, and truth seeking.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “America isn’t a democracy—it’s a republic.” This is typically trotted out to make a salient point about the type of government we have in fact, but is it a distinction the Founding Fathers would have recognized and made themselves? Yes and no, says Jay Cost, the Gerald R. Ford nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the new book “Democracy or Republic: The People and the Constitution. How is the system crafted by the Founders holding up in the 21st century? Is a government of the people still one for the people?

Democracy or Republic? The People and the Constitution | AEI Press

In this episode, we present the most recent installment of the Acton Lecture Series, with Dr. Mary L. Hirschfeld. Economists investigate the workings of markets and tend to set ethical questions aside. Theologians often dismiss economics, losing insights into the influence of market incentives on individual behavior. Dr. Hirschfeld bridges this gap by showing how a humane economy can lead to the good life as outlined in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.

In this episode, Acton director of programs and education Dan Churchwell speaks with Leah Kral, an expert facilitator and author who helps nonprofits doing the hard work of building civil society to innovate and be more effective. Good intentions alone don’t translate to impact, so why are nonprofits like the Mayo Clinic so successful when others fail? How can innovation, creativity, originality, and risk-taking be wedded to those good intentions?

Innovation for Social Change: How Wildly Successful Nonprofits Inspire and Deliver Results | Wiley, 2022