This week, Eric and Sam discuss the growing threat from China. First, Sam recaps a talk he gave in Houston last week entitled, “China: Enigma and Challenge for the World.” In the wake of China’s test of a hypersonic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead, how should we think about the military, economic, and cultural threat that China poses to the United States and to the world?

 

This week, Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and Dan Hugger discuss Netflix standing up to the woke mob coming after Dave Chappelle for his new comedy special, The Closer, in which he makes jokes about the trans-rights movement. Can we view this as a watershed moment in the culture wars? Or is Netflix just defending their $60 million investment in the legendary comedian? Then, the supply chain has problems. Between that, high energy prices, employment problems, and inflation, are we staring down the barrel of a repeat of the 1970s? Next, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been out for two months on paternity leave. Setting aside the political-football aspect, how should we think about paternity leave in the modern culture and economy? And finally, we end with a new segment called Recommendable, where the crew will recommend articles, books, podcasts, or anything else they found important and recommendable throughout the week.

 

This week, Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and Dylan Pahman discuss the possibility that objection to Southwest Airlines’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate was behind the cancelation of more than 1,000 flights over the weekend. Even if it wasn’t, there is clearly resistance to vaccine mandates out there, whether coming from the government or private businesses. And why is resistance to mandates, for some people at least, turning into resistance or rejection of the vaccine itself? A University of Michigan professor is under fire for showing his class Lawrence Oliver’s black-face film portrayal of Othello. Is the biggest culprit in situations like these the people in authority who cave to the mob? And finally, Sam Gregg discusses his review of Vivek Ramaswamy’s new book Woke, Inc. and how the behavior we’re seeing in big corporations is similar to that on display in the University of Michigan story.

 

Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and Michael Matheson Miller discuss U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance’s comments about the Ford Foundation–namely, that we should “seize the assets of the Ford Foundation, tax their assets, and give it to the people who’ve had their lives destroyed by their radical open borders agenda.” When did it become acceptable for the right to abandon concepts like constitutionality and the rule of law? Why is this kind of rhetoric constantly escalating? Is it really what the polity wants? Then, have we thrown open the Overton window on spending with the trillion-dollar infrastructure deal? When Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is still cool with spending $1.5 trillion on a reconciliation bill on top of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, is the “conservative” in the conversation, have words lost their meaning entirely? And how long before we’re talking about quadrillion-dollar spending bills?

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On this week’s episode, Eric Kohn, Dan Churchwell, and Dan Hugger discuss America’s dueling refugee crises: one on the southern border manifesting in around 14,000 migrants descending on Del Rio, Texas, and the refugees fleeing the Taliban rule in Afghanistan following the American exit from that country. How should we approach these problems as Americans, and as Christians? Crime has been rising in American cities. How should we understand the problem, and how important is it to truly understand the nature of the problem and how it’s different in different places before we attempt to pick and choose policies to solve the problem? And finally, Brookings senior fellow and Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan says our constitutional crisis is already here. When they’re subject both to erosion and attack, how long can our American institutions hold up?

 

This week, Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and Dan Hugger discuss what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes’ Met Gala tax-the-rich dress stunt says about the current state of our elites and of elite culture. Are our elites so frivolous because we’ve become frivolous? Or is it the other way around? And why are we so preoccupied with identifying hypocrisy rather than observing and highlighting the underlying implications of that hypocrisy, and the tributes that vice are paying to virtue when we find them? Then, they discuss the email sent to observant Jews at Barnard College in New York City, in effect demanding that they violate their Shabbat obligations to utilize technology for Covid-19 symptoms and to participate in contact tracing. Why is religious freedom so often an afterthought?

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This week, Eric Kohn, Stephen Barrows, and Dan Churchwell discuss the new vaccine mandate President Joe Biden has announced for businesses larger than 100 employees, to be administered by OSHA. In what ways are they failing to consider the role of incentives, and what unintended consequences might this effort have? Will it just drive people further into their political corners and continue to undermine faith in our institutions? Then, they discuss a new piece in Wired from Azeen Azhar about the concept of exponential growth. Are we prepared for a time when technological growth happens at a blinding pace? Can we even effectively prepare for it? Are we at all prepared to cope with the unrest that it will create?

 

This week on Acton Unwind, Sam Gregg, and special guests Dan Hugger and Michael Miller discuss the ongoing developments in Afghanistan as we approach the 31st deadline. Then, they discuss the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill and how we can look to C.S. Lewis for guidance on how to respond. What is human infrastructure? Is the United States a civilization-building nation? Is all truth subjective?

 

This week on Acton Unwind, Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and special guest Mustafa Akyol discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan, as the United States works feverishly to get Americans out of the country. How many refugees should the United States accept? What will rule by the Taliban look like? Have they changed at all, as some people have suggested? Then, Eric and Sam discuss the FDA’s final approval of the COVID vaccines, the lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand and the resistance they have produced, and whether our elites and civic leaders are more incompetent than they were in the past, or whether the velocity and availability of information just makes it seem that way.

 

This week on Acton Unwind, Eric Kohn, Sam Gregg, and Dan Hugger discuss the collapse of the Afghanistan government as the United States withdraws from the country nearly 20 years after September 11th and the beginning of combat operations there. We were told a collapse might happen in a year. Instead, it took days. What lessons should be learned from this? And how are we to trust our institutions when they’re constantly shown to be either wrong or lying to us? August 15 marked the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon taking the United States off the gold standard. How much of the economic turbulence in the decades since can be blamed on this decision? And, what role can cryptocurrencies play in the future of monetary policy?

 

We’re thrilled to bring you a new podcast from the Acton Institute: Acton Unwind.

Acton Unwind is a weekly roundtable discussion of news and current events through the Acton Institute’s lens on the world: promoting a free and virtuous society and connecting good intentions with sound economics. Each week I’ll be joined by Dr. Samuel Gregg and other Acton Institute experts for an exploration of news, politics, religion, and culture. This week, we discuss the extension of the CDC’s unconstitutional eviction moratorium, the Biden administration’s economically problematic proposal for free community college, and the New Right’s infatuation with Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.