Acton Line

9/30/2020

Ilya Shapiro on Supreme Disorder and SCOTUS politics

Ep. 248
The untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016 amplified questions about the Supreme Court in the 2016 election to new highs. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s high wire act in denying a hearing and vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill that seat, Judge Merrick Garland, ultimately paid off for him: President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was then confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.A year later, the political world was rocked again by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the bench. Following one of the most contentions confirmation hearings in modern American political history, Kavanaugh was also confirmed.Now, the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created another election year vacancy on the nation’s highest court. President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat. The political temperature has again risen.In his new book, “Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court,” Cato’s Ilya Shapiro examines the history of the judicial confirmation hearings, how politics has invaded the Supreme Court itself, and how appointments to the Court have become one of the most explosive features of our system of government.In this episode, Ilya Shapiro discusses his new book, how our politics of the judiciary got this way, how that politics affecting us as a nation, and what, if anything, can be done about it.Ilya Shapiro at the Cato InstituteSupreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America's Highest Court - Ilya ShapiroTerm Limits Won’t Fix the Court - Ilya ShapiroRoberts Rules - Ilya ShapiroEverything you need to know about Amy Coney Barrett - Rev. Ben Johnson‘A different kind of lawyer’: Amy Coney Barrett on Christian vocation - Joseph SundeHigh Court, high stakes: Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Trey DimsdaleReligious liberty at the Supreme Court - Acton Line
9/23/2020

Stephanie Slade on will-to-power conservatism

Ep. 247
With fusionism –the strategic alliance of conservative foreign policy hawks, social conservatives and economic libertarians knitted together in the last half of the 20thcentury in opposition to international communism ­­– crumbling after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the modern conservative movement has been remaking itself in effort to address the problems of the current day.One of these seemingly ascendant factions are the so-called common good conservatives.In an article in the October 2020 edition of Reason magazine, managing editor Stephanie Slade examines the what she calls the “great liberalism schism” that has emerged out of the collapse of fusionism.And for the common good conservatives shedding classical liberal norms, she identifies a new moniker: will-to-power conservativism, borrowing a concept from German philosopher Friederich Nietzsche.In this episode, Stephanie Slade discusses will-to-power conservatism, who exactly has a claim on the concept of the common good, and what the great liberalism schism means for our politics and society.Stephanie Slade at Reason magazineWill-to-Power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism - Stephanie SladeThe biggest problems of national conservatism - Acton LineThe Post-Liberal Right: The Good, the Bad, and the Perplexing - Sam GreggPatrick Deneen and the Problem with Liberalism - Sam GreggRev. Robert Sirico responds to Marco Rubio's 'common good capitalism' - Acton Line
9/2/2020

Daniel Darling on using social media for good

Ep. 244
On February 4th, 2004, a sophomore at Harvard University by the name of Mark Zuckerberg launched TheFacebook. At the time, the social networking website was limited to only students at Harvard. And while other social networking platforms like MySpace and Friendster predated the launch of Facebook, it was that February day in Cambridge, Massachusetts that the age of social media was truly born.Today, Facebook boasts 2.5 billion active users, is available in 111 languages, and is the 4th most trafficked website in the world. And from there, other platforms followed: Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Pintrest and, most recently, TikTok.While these platforms were launched with a promise of connecting the entire world together in conversation, today they also have a reputation for fostering hate, animosity, vitriol, conspiracy mongering, outrage mobs and a litany of other negative societal impacts.Does social media have to be this way? Or can we be better?In this episode, Daniel Darling, Senior Vice President for Communications at National Religious Broadcasters and author of the new book A Way With Words, discusses the promise of social media, where it went wrong, what our social media habits say about us, and how we can use our online conversations for good.Daniel Darling's websiteThe Way Home Podcast with Daniel DarlingA Way with Words: Using Our Online Conversations for Good - Daniel DarlingA Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream - Yuval LevinIs social media the source of our social problems? - Dan HuggerHow to drain the poison of outrage out of social media - Dan HuggerReligion & Liberty Winter 2019: Social Media
8/26/2020

Dr. David Hebert on COVID-19 pandemic economics

Ep. 243
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has brought with it enormous costs. These include, first and foremost, an enormous cost in the terms of human life, with more than 178,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the United States alone, and at least 814,000 deaths worldwide, as of late August 2020. But also, with the pandemic have come significant economic costs, fiscal costs, and personal costs to our happiness and quality of life.Why is living under quarantine so hard for people? In large part it’s because, prior to the pandemic, many people have enjoyed living under a system of mostly-free markets. But when we’re robbed of our ability to work in a lockdown, we’re also robbed of part of what comprises our innate human dignity, as this pandemic takes a toll not only in the loss of human life but in the loss of community.What can we learn from the economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic? How can economics and public choice theory help us better understand the actions of political leaders during this time? And how can entrepreneurship allowed for under free market systems innovate solutions to these problems?In this episode, Acton’s managing director of programs Stephen Barrows speaks with Dr. David Hebert, chair of the economics department and associate professor of economics at Aquinas College, about the economics of the quarantines and lock-downs in the Covid-19.Dr. David Hebert at Aquinas CollegeWhy quarantine is no fun, part 1 (video) - Dr. David HebertWhy quarantine is no fun, part 2 (video) - Dr. David HebertPen and Paper EconomicsCreativity will kill COVID-19 - Anne Rathbone BradleyRev. Robert Sirico on the church's response to COVID-19 - Acton LineA free-market agenda for rebuilding from the coronavirus - Henrik Rasmussen