Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent proposals for ‘common good capitalism’ have sparked criticism and praise across the board. Rubio draws heavily from Catholic Social Teaching in his defense of common good capitalism, describing an economy for the common good characterized by dignified work and stability for working class families. On November 5, Rubio addressed students at the Catholic University of America, saying “[c]ommon good capitalism is about a vibrant and growing free market, but it is also about harnessing and channeling that growth for the benefit of our country, our people and our society at large.” How does Rubio propose that we harness this growth and should Catholic Social Teaching be used as a guidebook for policy makers? Acton’s co-founder and president Rev. Robert Sirico explains.

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The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation recently released their annual poll for the year 2019, revealing that over one third of the millennial generation view communism favorably, 15% believing that the world would be “better off ” if the Soviet Union still existed. History, however, tells a different story. Joining this episode is Valentina Kuryliw, the daughter of survivors of a forgotten genocide orchestrated by the Soviet Union in Ukraine, called the Holodomor. Valentina shares the story of the Holodomor, explains how the Soviet Union covered up the evidence, and uncovers the reality of communism.

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Panic surrounding climate change and the environment is on the rise and doomsday predictions abound. Most headlines about the environment only tell one story: that the environment is on the decline and that this decline is a result of economic development. In March, The Guardian declared that “ending climate change requires the end of capitalism.” But in the midst of calls for the Green New Deal and calls to overhaul our economic system, there’s another story unfolding. Holly Fretwell, Director of Outreach and a Research Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, joins this episode to explain how the environment is being improved through market based approaches. What does free market environmentalism look like and how are conservation efforts helping the climate?

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In 1965, Milton Friedman was quoted by Time magazine for saying “We are all Keynesians now,” referring to how pervasive the thoughts of economist John Maynard Keynes had become in society and economics. Known as the founding father of macroeconomics, Keynes’s economic thought changed the way economics is approached, for better or for worse. How did his economic thought become so dominant and where has it left us? Victor Claar, professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University, explains. Afterwards, Acton’s Dan Hugger joins the podcast break down the life and thought of Lord Acton. John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, the namesake of the Acton Institute, is known most for his quote about power, that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How did Acton become the historian and “magistrate of history” that he’s known as today?

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Acton’s Samuel Gregg joins the podcast to break down liberation theology, a Marxist movement that began in the 20th century and took root in the Catholic Church in Latin America. October 27 marked the close of the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, a summit organized to foster conversation on ministry and ecological concerns in the Amazon region. But the synod also revealed how, as Gregg says, “liberation theology never really went away.” On the second segment, we take a look at what life was like behind the Iron Curtain. This Saturday, November 9, marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tom O’Boyle, past correspondent for the Wall Street Journal who covered the events that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, comes on to the show to share stories of what he witnessed while he was there.

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In just the first week of the release of Kanye West’s new explicitly Christian record “Jesus is King,” it’s outsold his previous album “Ye,” projected to sell 225-275k copies. In addition to comments regarding his conversion to Christianity, he’s dominated cultural conversation with increasingly conservative opinions, addressing everything from the importance of communities, to local churches and even in a recent interview, condemning abortion. Andrew T. Walker from ERLC comes on to the show to break down reactions to Kanye’s conversion, new artistic direction and cultural influence. On the second segment, Bulgarian economist Stefan Kolev explains the relevance of the 20th century German economist Wilhelm Röpke, and lays out how Röpke’s thoughts on community are applicable in our digital age.

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The new super villain drama ‘Joker’ has shattered box office records and gained much controversial media attention along the way. Set to top $900 million worldwide, the dark film from director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix is already being heralded as the biggest R-rated movie ever. So why has ‘Joker’ been such a hit? Christian Toto, award-winning movie critic and editor at Hollywood in Toto, breaks it down, explaining how the film touches on themes like mental illness, morality and even empathy. After that, Myron Magnet, editor at large at City Journal, joins the show to talk about his newest book, “Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution,” which explores the life of Justice Thomas and how the Justice’s approach to the Constitution is changing the Supreme Court.

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On October 4, Daryl Morey, manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet that included the words “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong.” Afterwards, China severed several partnerships they had with the Rockets in retaliation, leading Morey to delete his tweet and apologize for it and also prompting NBA commissioner Adam Silver to issue a statement declaring that the NBA does not regulate the speech of its players. Since then, however, the NBA has made attempts to appease China. So what’s the current state of the NBA’s relationship with China and does the NBA have a moral responsibility to denounce China? Micah Watson, professor of political science at Calvin University, joins Acton staff to discuss. Afterwards, Robert Doar, president and Morgridge scholar at AEI, comes onto the show to speak about effective solutions to poverty in America. He also shares how he came to be deeply interested in battling poverty, recalling the career of his late father John Doar who did heroic work in the U.S. Justice Department fighting racial discrimination and working for voting rights during the 1960s and ’70s.

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In 2017, a poll from NPR and Ipsos found that one in every three people in the U.S. has been affected by the opioid crisis in one way or another. One third of Americans know someone who has overdosed or know someone who is battling addiction — and the crisis hasn’t slowed down. On this episode, AnneMarie Schieber, award winning television news anchor and reporter based in Grand Rapids, MI, dives into the issue and explores how the private sector is responding to the crisis. What are churches and ministries doing to help people free themselves from addiction?

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In 1995, Pope John Paul II spoke to a crowd in Baltimore, MD, saying, “Democracy cannot be sustained without a shared commitment to certain moral truths about the human person and human community. The basic question before a democratic society is: how ought we to live together?” This question has proved important throughout history and has left some people wondering how neutral our founding ideas were, and whether particular faith traditions, especially Catholicism, are compatible with the American political order. So what defines our American political order? Is it at odds with Catholic Social Teaching? John C. Pinheiro, professor of history and the founding director of Catholic Studies at Aquinas College, joins the show to break it down.

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Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is renowned as one of the best examinations of early American society and politics, and remains one of the most insightful commentaries ever written on the practice of democracy in the United States. In this edition of Acton Line, John Wilsey, Professor of History and Christian Apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses Tocqueville’s masterwork and its continuing relevance for modern America. Wilsey also addresses the work of Tocqueville’s traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, who wrote another important work that should be seen as a companion to Democracy In America: a novel titled Marie, or Slavery in the United States, which examines the darker side of 1830s America.

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In August, the New York Times launched the ‘1619 Project,’ an initiative that includes school curriculum, videos, and a podcast, which aims to “reframe” the history of America’s founding around slavery. The Times claims that since the year 1619, “[n]o aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.” So what is the Times trying to accomplish with the ‘1619 Project’? Ismael Hernandez, founder and director of the Freedom & Virtue Institute, shows how we can thoughtfully approach it. Afterwards, Joshua Muravchik, author of “Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism,” lays out the history of socialism and explains why socialism has never worked.

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On June 23, 2016, Britain voted to exit the European Union, but since then, Members of Parliament have repeatedly delayed Brexit. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now fighting to keep Britain’s leave from the EU on schedule, establishment MPs are committed to ignoring the democratic voice of the British people. Rev. Richard Turnbull, director of The Center for Enterprise, Markets, and Ethics, helps explain the chaos surrounding recent events unfolding in Parliament and what the future likely holds for Brexit. On the second segment, Christopher Scalia, eighth child of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, joins the podcast to talk about a book on his father’s faith, titled “On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer.”

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On November 16, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, a bill backed by nearly unanimous bipartisan support. While RFRA has since then protected the religious liberty of American citizens, it has lost many of its original supporters and is now under attack. So why was RFRA signed into law in the first place? Does the bill truly protect religious pluralism? Daniel Mark, a professor of political science at Villanova University, helps answer these questions. On the second segment, Jared Pincin, a professor of economics at The King’s College, sheds light on the concern that a recession is around the corner. Unemployment rates are low, but America’s trade war with China and growing national debt are causing many to believe that we’re headed toward economic disaster. Is there reason to panic?

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From Gillette to Pepsi, many companies are starting to market their products by advocating for social justice issues, signaling to consumers that they are “woke.” Is woke capitalism a trend that’s truly new in the market? Should businesses comment on social issues? Acton’s president and co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, explains. Afterwards, Daniel J. Mahoney, professor of political science at Assumption College speaks about his newest book, “The Idol of our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity.”

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Cronyism is everywhere, affecting industries, entrepreneurs and customers and distorting the market through political advantage. So what is cronyism and how does it compromise genuine capitalism? Anne Rathbone Bradley, the current academic director at The Fund for American Studies, as well as the vice president of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, comes onto the show to explain how cronyism affects the market and how to combat it. Afterwards, Acton’s director of research, Samuel Gregg joins the show to talk about his new book, “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization.” Gregg lays out what he believes defines the West, how the disintegration of reason and faith has caused the West to decline and what can be done to reclaim it.

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In a recent interview for Vogue, Prince Harry declared to British anthropologist Jane Goodall that he and Meghan plan on having only two children, due to environmental concerns. Alarmist predictions about the results of overpopulation is nothing new, of course. Even Goodall herself said in 2010, that “[i]t’s our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we’ve inflicted on the planet.” So, is earth really overpopulated? And will having less children save the planet? Stephen Barrows, Acton’s managing director of programs, joins the podcast to explain the economics behind the issue and how to thoughtfully approach concerns about the environment. After that, Dr. Eric Larson, Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Michigan State University, takes a look at Medicare for All, explaining current problems in health care as well as just how costly Medicare for All would be.

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A crisis in the adoption and foster system is currently plaguing the nation. With over 400,000 children in need of homes, a shortage of placements is driving some states to desperate measures, even housing children in hotels and office buildings. States should be working to support and safeguard the work of adoption and foster care providers, however discrimination motivated by anti-religious bias is posing an obstacle to some state contracted and private agencies. Kate Anderson, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, joins the podcast to explain how faith-based adoption agencies are being increasingly threatened due to their religious beliefs and why faith-based agencies are crucial in the adoption and foster system. On the second segment, President emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education, Larry Reed, speaks with Acton’s Samuel Gregg about how many trends of our day echo those of ancient Rome, making the lessons of its fall all the more relevant, even pressing, for us now.

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On July 18, the Raise the Wage Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill that would double federal minimum wage by 2025. Members of Congress who support the bill believe it will increase pay for 27 million workers and lift over one million people out of poverty, but those opposed to the bill say cause millions more to lose their jobs. Dave Hebert, professor of economics at Aquinas College, joins the podcast to dispel some of the biggest misconceptions of raising federal minimum wage and what real effects the bill would have. On the second segment, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee and author of the new book, “The Social Media Upheaval,” joins the show to examine the benefits and drawbacks of social media. Glenn argues that social media and especially Twitter is increasingly “poisoning” journalism and politics. How can we reduce big tech censorship and the toll of social media while also respecting free speech?

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Populism is gaining traction, both abroad and in the United States. In 2017, the Swedish libertarian think tank Timbro and the European Policy Information Center released their “Authoritarian Populism Index,” showing that populist parties have gained the highest percentage of the vote in nine countries, including Hungary (65.2%), Poland (46.4%) and Greece (45.1%). Zoltán Kész, co-founder of the Free Market Foundation in Budapest said in 2015 that “Populists are especially dangerous enemies, because they are strategizing in the terms of democratic competition. That is the main principle of populism: gaining power once and never, ever letting it go, reshaping democracy and deconstructing the rule of law step-by-step.” Populism poses a threat to freedom by rejecting pluralism and classical liberalism. Where are we seeing populism take shape in America today and how is it effecting our public discourse? Ben Domenech, writer and co-founder of The Federalist, joins us in this episode to break it down.

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