Although not everyone see its, technological progress has meant progress in human flourishing, notes Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. To answer the Luddites, first of all we must acknowledge that there is truth to what is seen. Note: This is the second in a series examining the positions of several minor party and independent presidential candidates on issues covered by the Acton Institute. Although minor parties — often called “third parties” to distinguish them from the dominant two — have always been a part of American politics, the dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties in the current election season has led some Christians to give them more consideration.
When we think of the intersection of work and calling, many of us think immediately of our long-term career aspirations. Yet for the Christian, economic transformation begins where creator and producer meets neighbor, no matter the product or service. Today at The Stream I provide some analysis of Donald Trump’s speech earlier this week at the Detroit Economic Club. In Trump’s campaign there is a mix of both nostalgia and optimism, which bookend serious critiques of America’s more recent past and the legacy of his political opponents in particular.
The real challenge for Trump is to express this hopeful vision about the future while simultaneously hearkening back to an idyllic past. The future of the economy is going to be at the center of the 2016 campaign this week, as Donald Trump is slated to give a major speech on the topic today and Hillary Clinton will share her views days later. Most of Africa’s remaining developmental challenges are caused by domestic factors that require domestic solutions. It’s hard to ignore the fact that in recent years, there has been a significant erosion of support for and understanding of religious liberty in western nations. The Acton Institute is funded through the generous contributions of individuals such as yourself.

The economic nationalists who oppose trade, like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, clearly do not. A previous series covered the Democratic Party platform (see here and here) and the Republican Party Platform (see here and here).
The intention of this series is to provide some basic information on where some of these parties stand on issues covered by the Acton Institute. Despite most of us beginning our careers in some sort of menial labor, these are not the types of services or stations our culture deems significant or inspired. Our fundamental calling is to love our neighbor, and that begins the moment we get our hands dirty. This approach is appealing to an important, and often overlooked segment of the American public. Trump’s larger economic vision certainly does bear some resemblance to Bernie Sanders’ agenda, as they emphasize nationalism, interventionist trade policy, and a revitalization of traditional manufacturing and labor sectors. If Clinton is “the candidate of the past,” it is the recent past, the last few decades of the Obama administration and bad trade deals like NAFTA. Twofold Fatherland is included in the forthcoming On the Church volume of the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. It’s also important for Christians to understand the economics of public life, the decisions made outside of markets and inside politics, because all choices bring costs, regardless of the arena in which those choices are made. More and more people think of religious liberty only as the right to worship as you please, but not the right to fully engage one’s religious principles in the public square.
When that happens (and it does), Christians and other people of good will should not be indifferent. According to economist Ben Casselman, “In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail.

God is glorified in all of our labor, and that includes the work of the fast-food cook or the late-night cleaning crew. These are the new voters who Trump has promised to bring to the GOP, and who have sometimes embraced his campaign with a kind of religious fervor. It remains to be seen how many of Sanders’ supporters will migrate to the similarly nationalist approach of Donald Trump. Trump, meanwhile, is both the candidate of the future as well as of the more remote, perhaps even mythic past, in which America was first: in jobs, manufacturing, global influence, leadership, and military strength.
Over the course of the last three years, the Acton Institute organized a series of conferences to address this vital issue, and this book is the product of that effort. Today, those numbers have almost exactly reversed, and the gap is widening.” He continues to note, however, that manufacturing production in the United States is still quite strong, having more than recovered since the 2008 recession. In this interview, Schmiesing discusses the importance of religious and economic liberty to each other and to a flourishing society, and examines some of the threats to these vital concepts that people of faith face today. At the same time, manufacturing jobs have not increased proportionally with that production.
Despite their smaller numbers and the relative unpopularity of their cause, the neo-Luddites have a better case to make than the economic nationalists.

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