• This week, Eric, Anthony, and Emily are joined by Aaron Pomerantz, a post-doctoral research fellow at Rice University who specializes in conspiracy theories. They begin by discussing the first presidential debate through the lens of an observation by Anthony: that what we’re seeing is people caring more about politics than about Joe Biden’s well-being. Then Aaron shares his thoughts on why conspiracy theories still abound in this election and in modern society. And finally, the Supreme Court overturned Chevron deference. What will this mean for representative governance and the rule of law?
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    Video of the Presidential Debate
    The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories | Acton Line
    Can Americans Learn to Trust Again? | Christine Rosen, Religion & Liberty
    Supreme Court Overturns the Chevron Doctrine | The Morning Dispatch

  • This week, Eric, Dan, and Dylan are joined by AEI’s Christine Rosen to discuss her cover essay for the Summer edition of Religion & Liberty, "Can Americans Learn to Trust Again?” Why has social trust eroded in America, and what can be done to restore it? Then, would warning labels on social media like we have on cigarettes protect children, or anyone, from its harms? And finally, Cornerstone University here in Grand Rapids has laid off its humanities and music faculty, in addition to making other cuts. Is Christian higher education in a crisis?
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    Can Americans Learn to Trust Again? | Christine Rosen, Religion & Liberty
    Christine Rosen | American Enterprise Institute
    Surgeon General: Why I’m Calling for a Warning Label on Social Media Platforms | Vivek Murthy, New York Times
    Decay and Reform in Christian Higher Education | Dylan Pahman, Acton Institute

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  • This week, Eric, Noah, and Emily discuss the secret recording of SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. What will be the long-term consequences of these attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court—one of the few institutions left that Americans still have faith in? Next, actor-director Rob Reiner has co-produced a new documentary on the threat of Christian Nationalism. Noah discusses his review of the film and if there’s any there there. And finally, former President Donald Trump proposed eliminating the federal income tax and replacing it with import tariffs to raise revenue. Bad idea? Or the worst idea?
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    Filmmaker who recorded Alito, Roberts says she did it ‘in service of a public good’ | NPR
    The Smear Campaign Against Justice Alito | National Review
    A Christian Nationalist on Every Corner? | Noah Gould, Acton Institute
    The Will to Power Is Not the Christian Way | Jonathan Clark, Acton Institute
    Can Trump Eliminate the Income Tax? Maybe with an 85% Tariff | Forbes

  • This week, Eric, Dan, and David discuss the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation/Ticketmaster. Is there anything the federal government can do to appease unhappy Taylor Swift fans who couldn’t get tickets to the Eras Tour? And, more importantly, is Live Nation literally a monopoly? Next, the United States’ trade deficit surged by 9% in April. Does it matter? How concerned should we be with the balance of trade between the United States and the rest of the world? And finally, the guys break down the election results in India and Europe. Are we all in our populist era?
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    U.S. Calls for Breakup of Ticketmaster Owner | New York Times 
    The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America | Burton W. Folsom
    Trade deficit jumps to 18-month high, but rise in imports is ‘good news’ for economy | Marketwatch
    Trade Deficits: Accounting Masquerading as Economics | David Hebert, AIER
    Relying on coalition partners, Modi is sworn in for a rare third term as India’s prime minister | Associated Press
    Far-right gains in the EU election deal stunning defeats to France’s Macron and Germany’s Scholz | Associated Press

  • This week, Eric and Dan are joined by Jeffrey Polet to discuss his essay in the Spring 2024 issue of Religion & Liberty, “The Teacher as Prophet: John Dewey’s Liberating Education.” How did Dewey’s vision shape education in America and how is he still influential today? Next, Emily joins the conversation about Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker’s commencement address heard ’round the web. In what ways did it miss the mark? Are there any positive lessons we can take from it? Then, does Apple want to crush all your creative things? A new ad for the iPad Pro suggests yes, but only if you’re hyper-literal. And finally, what does the lewd and inappropriate behavior at The Portal art installation connecting New York City and Dublin, Ireland, reveal about human behavior?
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    The Teacher as Prophet: John Dewey’s Liberating Education | Jeffrey Polet, Religion & Liberty
    Harrison Butker’s Benedictine College Commencement Address | National Catholic Register
    Harrison Butker Misses the Point | Haley Strack, National Review
    Crush! Apple iPad Pro Ad
    Dublin–New York portal reopens with set hours | BBC

  • This week, Eric and Noah are joined by Acton’s Dan Hugger to discuss his essay in the Spring 2024 issue of Religion & Liberty, “The Rambler and the Transformative Power of Magazines.” Why, even in an age of digital publishing, have print magazines endured? Then the group looks at legislation that has recently moved in Congress to add a definition of anti-Semitism to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If we acknowledge that anti-Semitism is a problem on college campuses, is this the best way to address it? And finally, Oklahoma’s charter school board has approved a Catholic charter school. We don’t yet know if this is legal, but is it a wise move by proponents of religious education?
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    The Rambler and the Transformative Power of Magazines | Dan Hugger, Religion & Liberty
    The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics | First Things
    The Paper of Record Meets an Ephemeral Web: An Examination of Linkrot and Content Drift within The New York Times | SSRN
    House passes bill to expand definition of antisemitism amid growing campus protests over Gaza war | Associated Press
    First Religious Charter School Sparks Legal, Philosophical Battles | Wall Street Journal

  • This week, Eric, Anthony, and Emily are joined by Gene Edward Veith to discuss his essay “Sheen and Maier: Broadcasting Theology,” which explores the broadcast ministries of Fulton J. Sheen and Walter A. Maier. Then, are frat bros the heroes we’ve been waiting for, pushing back on the radical protests on elite college campuses and defending the American flag? And finally, Florida has banned lab-grown meat. Is there anything more to this than protection for the traditional meat industries? 
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    Sheen and Maier: Broadcasting Theology | Gene Edward Veith, Religion & Liberty
    UNC frat brothers who defended US flag speak out: 'Deeply important to us’ | The Daily Mail
    Flag-Protecting Frat Brothers Have Plans for $500K in Donations | Newsweek
    Heroic Fraternities: How College Men Can Save Universities and America | Anthony B. Bradley
    ‘We Will Save Our Beef’: Florida Bans Lab-Grown Meat | The New York Times

  • This week, Eric, Dylan, and Dan are joined by Karen Swallow Prior to discuss her essay in the new Spring 2024 issue of Religion & Liberty, “Who Will Comfort Me? The Total Care of Cicely Saunders” and issues of, literally, life and death. Then Eric, Dylan, and Dan discuss the place of free markets within the conservative movement and how college administrations should be dealing with the protest encampments being established on their campuses.
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    Who Will Comfort Me? The Total Care of Cicely Saunders | Karen Swallow Prior, Religion & Liberty
    The Conservative Movement Is Defending Free Markets — from Both Sides | Erick Erickson, National Review
    Heritage Foundation’s Wesley Coopersmith’s Response
    Karl Polanyi's Battle with Economic History | Alex Nowrasteh, Libertarianism.org
    Texas Gov. Abbott faces backlash after mass arrest at UT Austin pro-Palestine protest | The Hill
    UF threatens student protesters with suspension, banishment from campus for 3 years | WUFT

  • This week, Eric, Dan, and Emily discuss the death of O.J. Simpson and examine how the combination of his celebrity and his criminal trial launched a thousand cultural ships, including reality TV, true-crime obsession, and the 24/7 news cycle. Next, Belgian politicians tried to shut down the National Conservatism Conference, only to have it saved by liberal institutions. Oh, the irony. And finally, what can we learn from NPR senior business editor Uri Berliner’s piece at The Free Press accusing NPR of losing its journalistic integrity?
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    O.J. Simpson, Football Star Whose Trial Riveted the Nation, Dies at 76 | New York Times
    Europe’s hard-right bags big win after ‘own goal’ by Brussels mayors | Politico
    Brussels Mayor Attempts to Shut Down National Conservatism Conference by Force | Stephanie Slade, Reason
    What I Saw at the National Conservatism Conference | Dan Hugger, Religion & Liberty
    National Conservatism One Year Later | Dan Hugger, Religion & Liberty
    I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. | Uri Berliner, The Free Press

  • This week, Eric, Noah, and David Hebert, making his maiden voyage on the podcast, discuss squatters’ rights: Do they really exist? And if so, how big a problem are they really?. Then, has the problem with industrial policy been that we just weren’t doing it right all these years? Sen. Marco Rubio thinks so. Oh, and a new California minimum-wage law for fast-food workers has taken effect. Our future fast-food robot overlords are appreciative. And finally, Sam Bankman-Fried gets 25 years for the fraud he perpetrated. Is this sentence too harsh, too light, or just right?
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    What’s Behind Recent ‘Squatters’ Rights’ Disputes? | Reilly Stephens, The Dispatch 
    Why Christians Should Be (the Best) Landlords | Rachel Ferguson, Religion & Liberty Online
    Why I believe in industrial policy—done right | Sen. Marco Rubio, Washington Post
    Beware the Bipartisan Folly of Industrial Policy | Noah Gould, National Revie 
    California’s Crazy ‘Fast Food’ Minimum Wage Takes Effect | David Neumark, Wall Street Journal
    FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years for crypto fraud, to pay $11 billion in forfeiture | CNBC

  • This week, Eric, Dan, and Dylan are joined by Mike Cosper of Christianity Today to discuss his cover essay in the latest issue of Religion & Liberty, “There Shall Be None to Make Him Afraid: American Liberty and the Jews.” Then they turn their attention to controversial LSU basketball coach Kim Mulkey to explore how hard-driving and tough-coaching styles fit in the modern world and what it means for a perspective on leadership.
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    There Shall Be None to Make Him Afraid: American Liberty and the Jews | Mike Cosper, Religion & Liberty
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    Promised Land podcast | Christianity Today
    Why do some people hate the Jews? | Acton Line
    The History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict | Acton Line
    A Christian Perspective from Visiting Israel | Acton Line
    The Kim Mulkey Way | Washington Post
    The Bobby Knight Problem | The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill
    They’re Coming After Us | John Podhoretz, Commentary Magazine

  • This week, Dan Hugger, Noah Gould, and Emily Zanotti discuss the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Maryland. They then turn their attention to the announcement of the God Bless the USA Bible, the only Bible endorsed by President Trump and country music sensation Lee Greenwood. What does this reveal about the state of religion, politics, and culture in America today? And finally, is it time to rethink the culture war?
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    The impact of the Baltimore bridge disaster | Economist.com
    Lawyers Gear Up for Swift Start in Legal Fight Over Baltimore Bridge | WSJ
    Donald Trump Is Selling a 'God Bless the USA' Bible for $60 | NPR
    God Bless the USA Bible
    The New Culture Warriors | Religion & Liberty Online

  • This week, Eric, Anthony, and Dan discuss the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices in the smartphone market. They then turn their attention to a strange essay in National Affairs on the “Soft Tyranny of Smartphones” and explore whether a desire to use a smartphone less requires government action. And finally, should we be concerned about Elon Musk’s brain-chip company, Neuralink, or should we celebrate such a technological advancement?
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    U.S. accuses Apple of illegally maintaining monopoly in broad lawsuit | Axios
    The Apple Antitrust Case and the ‘Stigma’ of the Green Bubble | Wired
    Brandon Sanderson Says Deal with Audible Is in the Works | Publishers Weekly
    The Soft Tyranny of Smartphones | National Affairs
    Patient of Elon Musk’s Neuralink Shows Off New Life With Implant | Wall Street Journal

  • This week, Eric, Noah, and Emily discuss the legislation moving through Congress that would force the sale of TikTok from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, or ban the app’s availability in the United States. Are the national security issues serious enough to trump all other concerns about setting such a precedent? Then the panel turns its attention to Ben Shapiro’s comments about work and retirement. How should we think about work and its role in our lives—now and when we’re older?
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    House passes bill that could lead to TikTok ban | Axios
    Acton Institute on TikTok
    TikTok Suspends a Film on Jimmy Lai | Wall Street Journal
    Ben Shapiro on work and retirement | X
    Closing the Gap Between Work and Life | David Bahnsen, Acton Line

  • This week Eric, Dan, and Emily discuss President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address and give their own takes on the state of the union, the recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that implicates IVF treatment, and the recent remarks by Pope Francis calling for Ukraine to have the “courage of the White Flag” in bringing about an end to the war in Ukraine.
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    Remarks by President Biden in State of the Union Address | The White House
    Put the State of the Union address out of its misery | Eric Kohn, Religion & Liberty Online
    Alabama Supreme Court Sparks IVF Debate | The Morning Dispatch
    It’s time for hard conversations about frozen embryos | Emily Zanotti, Deseret News
    Alabama Against IVF | Advisory Opinions podcast
    Pope Says Ukraine Should Have the ‘Courage of the White Flag’ | New York Times
    Kremlin says appeal by Pope Francis for Ukraine talks is quite understandable | Reuters

  • On this special bonus episode of Acton Unwind, Eric, Dan, Dylan, and Daniel discuss Dune: Part Two, the second entry in director Denis Villeneuve’s trilogy adapting the Frank Herbert novels. The panel discusses the technical filmmaking, how this film compares to the 1984 David Lynch adaptation of Dune, how it compares to the original books, what was left out, and more. Warning: Spoilers!
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    Dune: Part Two trailer
    Dune: Part Two and the Death of Freedom | Joseph Holmes, Religion & Liberty Online
    Discovering human dignity in Villeneuve’s Dune | Dylan Pahman, Religion & Liberty Online

  • This week, Eric, Anthony, and Dylan discuss the self-immolation of Aaron Bushnell and the ethics of using his suicide to advance the Palestinian cause, the online free-speech cases that SCOTUS heard last week, and the story that the fast-food chain Wendy’s was planning to roll out surge pricing in the spirit of Uber and Lyft. Wendy’s isn’t doing that—but should it?
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    Man Dies After Setting Himself on Fire Outside Israeli Embassy in Washington, Air Force Says | New York Times
    Cornel West tweet about Aaron Bushnell
    The History of Self-Immolation as Political Protest | TIME Magazine
    US Supreme Court weighs landmark online free speech case | BBC
    ‘Mainstream Media’ Doesn’t Have a Liberal Bias | Dylan Pahman, The Federalist
    Supreme Court justices raise First Amendment concerns in NetChoice oral argument | FIRE
    Wendy’s says ‘dynamic pricing’ is different from ‘surge pricing,’ but whatever it’s called may still alienate customers | Fortune
    Consumerism, Service, and Religion | Dylan Pahman, Religion & Liberty Online

  • This week on Acton Unwind, guest host Dan Hugger is joined by Dylan Pahman and Noah Gould. They begin the podcast by discussing two recent essays that call into question Hillsdale College’s “Christian College” bona fides. What makes a college Christian, and does Hillsdale fit the bill? Next, Google’s Gemini generative AI chatbot’s political biases are explored. What does AI bias look like? Why is it important, and what can be done to mitigate it? Is it inadvertent performance art? 
    Finally, the group unpacks the recent scandal that has engulfed science fiction and fantasy’s most prestigious award, the Hugo. Is it prudent to host such awards in China? Is the Hugo scandal an indictment of democracy? How does this scandal effect the award’s credibility going forward?
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    Selling “Christian” Hillsdale | Current 
    Some additional thoughts about Hillsdale | Current
    On Hillsdale College and Christianity by Dan Hugger | Reign of Conscience
    On Constitutions, Confessionalization, and Gandhi | Reign of Conscience (Substack)
    More human than human: measuring ChatGPT political bias | Public Choice
    Hugo Awards 2024: What Really Happened at the Sci-Fi Awards in China? | Esquire
    Authors ‘excluded from Hugo awards over China concerns’ | The Guardian
    Your New Aesthetic | YouTube

  • This week guest host Dan Hugger is joined by Dan Churchwell and Emily Zanotti.
    The panel begins by discussing the recent death of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny in prison. How should the international community respond? Will this tragedy cause Americans on the extreme left and right develop a more critical attitude toward Vladimir Putin? Next, recent discoveries of rare-earth minerals in Wyoming promise to give the U.S. a geopolitical and economic edge, but what tradeoffs are involved in the extraction of natural resources? Then—what does OpenAI’s plans for investment in chip production mean for our world and our home? 
    Finally, the gang reflects on the penitential season of Lent. What’s behind its increasingly ecumenical appeal? It’s cultural, political, and theological dimensions are explored before the panelists share their spiritual practices for the season.
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    Putin critic Alexei Navalny dies in Arctic Circle jail, says Russia (bbc.com)
    Russian Exceptionalism | New York Review of Books
    Wyoming Hits the Rare-Earth Mother Lode | WSJ
    Rare Earths Discovery Near Wheatland So Big It Could Be World Leader | Your Wyoming News Source (cowboystatedaily.com)
    Sam Altman Seeks Trillions of Dollars to Reshape Business of Chips and AI | WSJ
    ‘The astonishing Jensen Huang of Nvidia talks about the future of AI. Sovereign AI is the future and more valuable than oil or gold’| Twitter (X) 
    More Work For Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave 
    The Harried Leisure Class | Marginal Revolution 
    2024 Lent Project | Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts
    Tuna Fish and Tollhouse Cookies | Emily Zanotti (substack.com)
    Catechism of the Catholic Church 

  • This week, Eric talks with Mustafa Akyol about his essay in the Winter issue of RELIGION & LIBERTY, a book review of “Wahhābism: The History of a Militant Islamic Movement.” Where did Wahhabist Islam come from and how much sway does it hold in the Muslim world today? Then Eric is joined by Anthony Bradley and Noah Gould as they discuss the He Gets Us ads from the Super Bowl, Tucker Carlson’s interview of Vladimir Putin, and how old is too old to be president of the United States.
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    The Rebirth of a Heretical Islam | Mustafa Akyol, Religion & Liberty
    Foot Washing | He Gets Us
    Who is My Neighbor? | He Gets Us
    Vladimir Putin tells Tucker Carlson that Russia is 'willing to negotiate' with Ukraine | USA Today
    Overwhelming majority think Biden is too old to serve following Hur report: Poll | The Hill
    Ad-Copy Gospel and the Christian Marketing Dilemma | Isaac Willour, Religion & Liberty Online