Acton Line

The official podcast of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

Dedicated to the promotion of a free and virtuous society, Acton Line brings together writers, economists, religious leaders, and more to bridge the gap between good intentions and sound economics.

Trent Horn on Can a Catholic be a socialist?

Ep. 273
We are bringing you a conversation with Trent Horn, staff apologist for Catholic Answers, and Eric Kohn, the director of communications here at Acton. In this episode, they discuss Horn’s new book, Can a Catholic be a Socialist?Horn explains that, “Societal injustices are the result of deeper moral evils like greed, envy, indifference, and selfishness. However, simply reordering society so people aren’t poor can’t eliminate these vices (and doesn’t solve poverty, either).”Some Catholics who claim to be socialists look at government as an altruistic solution - if done correctly - to solve all the world's problems with their infinite resources and boundless regulation. This simply just isn't the case. Horn writes that “Governments are really just groups of individuals who have been given weighty responsibilities. Those individuals are not immune to the effects of vice; in fact, the temptations that government officials face make them more susceptible to sin and the magnitude of the problems they face make them more prone to error."According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, socialism is dangerous. Government interference can and will threaten individual freedom and liberty. The Church teaches the principle of “subsidiarity,” which “opposes all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.”We must work towards building a free and virtuous society. As long as humans are running our governments, there will be no “utopia.” The solution is not an overarching government, the solution starts and ends in our homes, where we build virtuous families, and care for our communities. As Horn puts it, “so we can have confidence and peace that in applying ourselves with hard work and diligence we can joyfully participate in God’s co-creation—a task we are urged to take up for the good of our families and our communities.”Can a Catholic be a Socialist?Is Raphael Warnock right that ‘the early church was a socialist church’?Subscribe to Acton Institute Events podcast

Stephanie Slade on the future of fusionism

Ep. 271
In this episode, we are bringing you a conversation with Stephanie Slade, the managing editor of Reason Magazine, and Eric Kohn, the director of communications here at Acton. In this episode they discuss the philosophy of fusionism.Slade writes that Fusionism is the marriage of two value sets: liberty & virtue. “Liberty - in the classical sense of freedom from aggression, coercion, and fraud; and virtue - in the Judeo-Christian sense of submission to God's commands.” In this unifying value set, we can see fusionism as a “distinct philosophical orientation unto itself.”Rather than a tug of war between two philosophies which we see played out today, fusionism introduces the idea that liberty and virtue should have never been separated. With Fusionism, we see this unbreakable bond between these two philosophies. Thus people can freely choose to live out their individual rights and freely live out the teachings of Christianity.The founding fathers believed that virtue and liberty were, according to Slade, “Mutually reinforcing—and that neither could survive long without the other. A free society depends on a virtuous populace.”The question we explore in this episode is this: If a free society requires morality, how do we live virtuously in an age that rejects it?Stephanie Slade - Reason MagazineIs There a Future for Fusionism? - Stephanie SladeThe Future of Fusionism - Jordan BallorFusionism and Western Civ - Jordan BallorFree marketers should take social conservatives’ concerns more seriously - Sam GreggThe Conservative Fight over the Size of Government - Sam GreggWill-to-power conservatism with Stephanie Slade - Acton LineSubscribe to Acton Institute Events podcast

Scott Lincicome on the myth of deindustrialization

Ep. 270
To listen to economic nationalists, national conservatives and certain politicians, you would believe that we’re in a period of mass deindustrialization. Employment in American manufacturing has been declining since the early 1980s. And manufacturing’s share of the economy has been declining since 1970.These trends, they argue, pose not just social and economic challenges to the country, but national security challenges, as well.The response from some political leaders in Washington is arguments for increased economic protectionism, tariffs, and subsidies to shore up the American manufacturing sector and the support people who work in it.But is deindustrialization really happening?In this episode, we speak with Scott Lincicome, senior fellow in economic studies at the Cato Institute, about his new paper: “Manufactured Crisis: ‘Deindustrialization,’ Free Markets, and National Security.” In it, Lincicome argues that the data paint a picture of the American economy and manufacturing base that is strong and resilient, even as it and the larger economy undergo disruptions, the consequences of which are in most cases beneficial, and in other cases better addressed by policy choices other than protectionism.Scott Lincicome - Cato InstituteManufactured Crisis: “Deindustrialization,” Free Markets, and National Security - Scott LincicomeBusting the ‘Deindustrialization’ Myth - Scott LincicomeTariffs (That Biden Won’t Remove) Threaten the U.S. Manufacturing Recovery (That Biden Wants) - Scott LincicomeScott Lincicome on how free trade benefits everyone - Acton LineScott Lincicome on how free traders crippled the free trade consensus - Acton Lecture SeriesSubscribe to Acton Institute Events podcast

Matthew Continetti on Rush Limbaugh's legacy

Ep. 269
On February 17, 2021, conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh passed away at the age of 70.From his humble origins as a rock music DJ in Cape Girardeau, MO, Rush rose to become one of the most recognizable names and voices in radio history, media history and of the modern American political scene.Enabled by the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, The Rush Limbaugh Show went national in 1988, bringing Rush and his “Excellence in Broadcasting” network to radios from coast to coast. At its peak, the program was heard on over 600 radio stations and attracted more than 20 million listeners a week.A cheerleader for conservative causes, Rush was no stranger to controversy. Indeed, in many ways he courted it by, in his own words, illustrating absurdity by being absurd. In doing so, he inspired derision from his opponents as well as the loyalty of his listening audience.What is the significance of Rush Limbaugh to American conservatism and what influence did he have our modern political culture?In this episode, we talk with Matthew Continetti, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, about Rush’s legacy and his place in conservative history and conservative politics.Matthew Continetti - American Enterprise InstituteRush Limbaugh, RIP: 6 quotations on socialism, the Founding Fathers, and life - Rev. Ben JohnsonRush Limbaugh on clergy who accept socialism - Rev. Ben JohnsonRise of the national conservatives with Matthew Continetti - Acton LineRegister for Business Matters 2021Subscribe to Acton Institute Events podcast