Opportunity is not merely the absence of artificially imposed impediments. It is also the capacity to pursue happiness, individually and in community. Adapted from the 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity.
The role of economic liberty in contributing to human flourishing and the common good remains deeply underappreciated, even by those who are dedicated to religious liberty.
A low but predictable inflation rate is sound, just policy.
If a society regards governmental manipulation of money as the antidote to economic challenges, a type of poison will work its way through the body politic, undermining justice and the common good.
Modern rhetoric of income inequality is driven by covetous envy that betrays America’s tradition of applauding those who succeed. Caritas, humility, gratitude, and goodwill toward others are a healthy society’s answer to the ancient curses of envy and pride.
All truly voluntary exchange should be allowed without state interference. But many exchanges that are not fully voluntary should be allowed, too. It is immoral to restrict the ability of market processes to create a space where right action is rewarded and immoral actions are punished.
The morality of the market, important as it is in a free society, is not the only kind of morality that matters in common life.
Government may be able to provide material assistance, but it has failed to address the deeper causes of poverty. Worse, it has discouraged the most important defenses against poverty in America—work and marriage.
Every economic system is based upon an implicit vision of the human person. Maciej Zieba’s new book provides an introduction to Catholic social thought that examines the anthropologies of Catholicism, liberal democracy, and the free-market economy.
The association of Protestantism with capitalism, famously articulated by Max Weber and now widely accepted by many, is theologically dubious, empirically disprovable, and largely incidental. An edited excerpt from Gregg's new book, Tea Party Catholic.
Constitutional amendments requiring Congress to pass a balanced budget are unrealistic and doomed to fail. It would be more effective to combat deficit spending by requiring the president to submit a balanced budget.
In most cases, Catholic social teaching provides the correct principles for resolving complex social and economic questions, not specific policy requirements. Nathan Shlueter reviews Sam Gregg’s new book in the voice of Paul Ryan.
Supporting crony capitalism weakens the appeal of social conservatism; it is difficult to hold the moral high ground on abortion and marriage while defending exploiters of the poor and oppressed.
We all have a moral obligation to use our surplus wealth to help those in need, but we should do so in a way that is effective, fair, and in accordance with our own vocations.
Private, not public, law enables healthy dependencies by carving out space for communities of people to deliberate together about what to do with the resources available to them.
Entitlement reform cannot succeed by eliminating dependence. Instead we should aim to promote healthy dependencies.
Natural law does not demand capitalism, but we can deduce from natural law that some institutions that are key to market economies are normally just, while practices key to socialist arrangements are usually unjust.
Aristotelian-Thomistic moral philosophy doesn’t imply that every economy should be capitalist.
Conservatives need to stop shying away from principled, as opposed to merely utilitarian, defenses of economic freedom and its associated institutions.
There is no right to lose oneself in a game of chance for the state’s benefit, and more than that there is no good in it. Video keno contracts liberty and virtue while accelerating the state’s colonization of civil society.
While there is something noble in economists’ assumption that social life is based on mutually beneficial exchange, rather than coercion and plunder, this fails to account for what philosophy, theology, and literature reveal to us about the true substance of marriage.
Good public policy can meet the needs of all Americans without redefining marriage.
Family, church, and school are the three basic people-forming institutions, and it is no wonder that they produce the best results—including economic and political ones—when they cooperate.
Economic liberty is necessary for achieving the real, non-economic goods of individuals and associations in civil society. Not the collectivist “we” of government, but the many “we’s” of civil society are the true ground of a just, and good, society.
A pilot program in New York City to give minors emergency contraception in school without telling their parents is an ineffective response to a non-existent “epidemic” of teen pregnancy.
Constitutional law has often been used to shape economies, but there are limits to the law’s ability to influence economic culture, especially when societal priorities no longer accord with constitutional principles.
Is inequality the cause of our worst social ills?
Work is at the core of our humanity, and our ownership of what we produce precedes laws demanding that we give it back to “community” in the abstract.
Close attention to particular decisions by European institutions and governments before and during the present economic crisis suggests that many have significantly infringed the rule of law.
Libertarians and conservatives should not allow their differences to impede political cooperation against the common adversary: egalitarian liberalism.
Has the Supreme Court rediscovered the institution of property? In a recent unanimous affirmation of property owners’ rights, the Court gives us reason to hope.
The Occupy Movement should be an occasion for the American left to rethink its own moral crusades, which turn out to be morally corrosive and hence incompatible with any serious commitment to social justice.
Libertarianism offers the best defense of individual rights that government can employ.
Conservatives value individual liberty as much as libertarians, but they deny that freedom from coercion is the only form of liberty.
Social activists opposed to the use of HEK-293—a kidney cell line derived from an aborted baby—in PepsiCo products should not respond with shareholder activism, because it wreaks political and economic havoc.
The negative side-effects of contraception are often ignored in our public discourse, but a truly free decision to use or not use them—and whether to use government to promote them—depends on a frank acknowledgement of their costs along with their alleged benefits.
Conservatism is misguided, arbitrary, inconsistent, and ultimately inimical to liberty and human flourishing. Libertarianism allows for human flourishing and harmony from respect and cooperation.
Libertarianism and conservatism are often lumped together, but there are fundamental differences between the two philosophies that make them incompatible.
Neither liberal nor libertarian, a principled conservative way of helping the poor.
It’s time to end the corporate income tax: it strains job-creating businesses, punishes workers rather than capital owners, encourages wealthy companies to find loopholes in the tax system, and allows some of the richest among us to pay strangely low personal income tax rates.
A successful account of social justice must affirm the primacy of communities, and institutions directed by communities, over both the individual and the state in promoting human flourishing.
The Obama administration’s efforts to regulate the cellular-phone service market through a decades-old trust-busting ideology is at odds with the courts’ more recent “new learning” approach to market competition. And there are lessons here for pro-lifers.
Economic, political, and ethical principles that encourage limited government must interact in our effort to secure long-term economic stability.
The eurozone’s current crisis is an opportunity for Europe to explore new monetary options that challenge the hitherto dominant vision of the European Union’s economic future.
Conservatives shouldn’t ignore or attack social justice, but must articulate sound principles of social justice.
Rawlsian “public reason” approaches to human capabilities are insufficient bases for social justice.
Private property should be preserved and protected because of its deep contribution to human well-being.
Growing national debt-to-income ratios need not become a threat to American solvency or a long-run impediment to implementation of our social policy choices. Historically-based approaches to social objectives can be improved through advances in economics.
Candidates in the 2012 presidential race should champion two principles for reviving America’s economy: the Adam Smith principle for limiting government and the subsidiarity principle for regulating government intervention.
The attempts by both the right and the left to politicize our Constitution must be firmly rejected for the sake of our nation’s health and prosperity.