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Why does Acton publish "In the Liberal Tradition" and why is it important to our mission?

Our institute is named after Lord Acton, a person that stands as a constant reminder that our ideas spring from deep roots. The writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner once said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Every day at Acton, we find the truth in those words. We work at cultivating a rich tradition rooted in economic liberty, moral reflection, and the dignity of the person. We are passionate about bringing this tradition forward to new audiences.

The principles we teach are timeless and there are some fantastic stories and people behind those ideas. We want to promote those ideas by putting a name and face behind them. We hope that "In the Liberal Tradition" will inspire people to read more about the figures featured in the pages of R&L and help the reader expand their knowledge of the liberty movement and its historical and contemporary significance.

Charles W. Colson, a tremendous friend to Acton before he passed away in 2012, is just one of many figures who has been profiled. We've highlighted great people like the Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, and the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville to name a few.

There are some important requirements for selection "In the Liberal Tradition." The figure profiled must have passed away. They must have contributed in a significant way to a freer and more virtuous society. Many of them, like Lord Acton, made advancing liberty their life's work. We also make sure that the person bears the mark of an individual shaped by a strong moral and religious ethos. Features have included thinkers in several major religious faiths.

It's essential to chronicle these figures and I know their ideas and witness will outlast many of the politicos and commentators that we are deluged with daily in society. When Rev. Robert Sirico and I founded the Acton Institute in 1990, we were fortunate in the years that followed to meet and become friends with some of the figures profiled "In the Liberal Tradition." We have been saddened to see friends like William F. Buckley, Charles Colson, Richard John Neuhaus, Edmund Opitz, and Lester DeKoster leave this earth. But we will continue to champion and promote their ideas at Acton and within our lives.

DeKoster, who was featured in the Fall 2009 issue, is a great example of the work we are currently continuing through his inspiration with our Christian's Library Press Publications. DeKoster once said, "While the object of work is destined to perish, the soul formed by daily decision to do work carries over into eternity." This is true too of the work of the figures we profile and the work of the Acton Institute.

Kris Alan Mauren
Executive Director