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A lecture series for knowledge-seekers, sponsored by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A lecture series for knowledge-seekers, sponsored by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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A lecture series for knowledge-seekers, sponsored by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.






Joseph Connors on the fall of extreme poverty

It might come as a surprise, but poverty rates in the developing world are dropping dramatically. In fact, economic growth in developing nations has far outpaced the growth of high income countries. Thus, not only has the world experienced a historic reduction in poverty over the last twenty-five years, but global income today is much more equal than at any time in the last 100 years. This event presents the good news about poverty alleviation.This event was co-sponsored by America's...


Hank Meijer on the global legacy of Senator Arthur Vandenberg

How Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg forged a consensus that helped make the American Century.


Alan Guelzo on Abraham Lincoln's moral constitution

As one of only two presidents to have never formally joined a church, people have wondered just how much Abraham Lincoln himself was under God when he said that the United States should consider itself as such as it strove for a new birth of freedom.However, the Civil War shifted the ground decisively under Lincoln's feet. In the cauldron of war, he discovered that God was not merely a remote force or a faceless universal power, but a personal, intelligent, and willing God who intervened...


John Suarez on communism in Cuba

John Suarez is the program officer of the Washington, DC based Center for a Free Cuba. He has been interviewed by TV, radio and print media on Cuba. Mr. Suarez is a human rights activist. He holds degrees from Florida International University and Spain’s Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. He has testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington DC, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and served as an interpreter for Cuban dissidents in Congressional...


Greg Forster on Whittaker Chambers’ witness for the 21st century

A Soviet spy who was converted to Christ, Whittaker Chambers sacrificed everything for the sake of his Christian witness against injustice. As one of the most profound Christian thinkers of the 20th century, Chambers offers reflections on religion and public life with far-reaching implications for the 21st. This lecture will explore how his story points to uncomfortable lessons for Left and Right alike in our own day. ===Greg Forster, Ph.D. serves as the director of the Oikonomia Network...


Jennifer Roback Morse on the economic and social costs of family breakdown

Only the family can provide the sense of security and identity that every person needs. Civilization itself depends on children having a good first year.Family breakdown is expensive. Taxpayers provide programs to step in when the family fails. Businesses have trouble finding workers they need, with even basic skills. Individuals and families struggle to make ends meet when families don’t work together. What exactly are we going to do about all this? Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, long-time...


2017 Chicago Open Mic Night

Acton’s 8th Annual Chicago Open Mic Night took place on Wednesday, November 8th at the University Club of Chicago. The panel for the evening included:Paul Bonicelli, Ph.D., Director of Education and Programs, Acton InstituteIsmael Hernandez, Founder and Director, Freedom and Virtue InstituteSamuel Gregg, D.Phil., Director of Research, Acton Institute


J. Daryl Charles on natural law and the Protestant Reformation (10.26.2017)

While the formal significance of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation might be celebrated by Protestants and lamented by Catholics, reflecting back on sixteenth-century reform 500 years removed affords valuable lessons. The occasion also allows us to highlight the theological and legal thinking of a most remarkable though much forgotten figure of the Protestant Reformation.


Jim McGann on think tanks, politics, and the casualties in the war of ideas (7.20.17)

In The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance, James G. McGann illustrates how policymakers have come to value the independent analysis and advice provided by think tanks and why it has become one of the defining characteristics of the American political system. Drawing on case studies in both foreign and domestic policy, McGann clarifies the correlation between think tank research and the policies enacted by the past three presidential administrations. He also describes...


Leonard Leo on the Trump Administration and the future of the federal judiciary (5.11.17)

The US Supreme Court hangs in the balance when it comes to some of the most important areas of the law, with a couple of more vacancies possible, and there are an unprecedented number of vacancies anticipated on the Federal appeals courts. Leonard Leo - Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society - describes how this state of affairs presents a unique opportunity to transform the courts so as to engender a greater respect for limited, constitutional government.


Avik Roy on the end of cultural conservatism as we once knew it (1.19.17)

After ​World ​War ​II, ​Bill ​Buckley, ​Frank ​Meyer, ​and ​others ​assembled ​the ​“three-legged ​stool” ​of ​modern ​American ​conservatism: ​free ​markets, ​anti-communism, ​and ​cultural ​conservatism. ​It ​was ​a ​synthesis ​that ​elected ​Ronald ​Reagan ​and ​won ​the ​Cold ​War. ​But ​that ​synthesis ​is ​fraying, ​because ​cultural ​conservatism ​itself ​has ​diverging ​strains ​that ​came ​together ​in ​the ​20th ​century, ​but ​are ​now ​going ​their ​separate ​ways. ​Cultural...


Ilya Shapiro on judicial abdication and the growth of government (12.1.16)

The fight for the Supreme Court during the presidential campaign has crystalized the importance of judges' both having the right constitutional theories and being willing to enforce them. Too much "restraint" - like Chief Justice Roberts in the Obamacare cases - has led to the unchecked growth of government, toxic judicial confirmation battles, and even our current populist moment.


Victoria Coates on how democracy inspired the West (11.3.16)

In Victoria Coates’ 2016 book David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art the author argues that democracy has had a unique capacity to inspire some of the greatest artistic achievements of western civilization from the Parthenon to Picasso’s Guernica. While Dr. Coates does not maintain that this is an exclusive arrangement, or without its fair share of failure and catastrophe, ultimately democracy emerges as one of the great catalysts of western civilization. In this talk...


Benjamin Domenech on the rise of American populism (10.13.16)

America has experienced a surge of populism in recent years that has turned the established order of our politics on its head. Where do these movements come from? What can history tell us about where they are going? And what can statesmen do to channel this political outrage for the good of the people?