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On Wednesday, May 1, Acton was proud to host its annual Detroit luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club, with nearly 100 friends and supporters of Acton in attendance.

Rev. Robert Sirico gave the afternoon’s keynote address on “Moral and Practical Problems with Resurgent Socialism.”

Rev. Sirico stressed the troubling socialist ideology taking shape with the rise of self-professed democratic socialists in Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. “Fifty-three percent of Americans of a millennial age under 30 are in favor of socialism in one form or another,” Sirico began. “These young people have never seen real socialism and don’t see it even when they look at Venezuela.” Many university students from Venezuela have attended Acton University and have given witness to the human rights atrocities that take place in their home country.

Sirico encouraged the audience to think of the problems at the root of the current attraction to socialism as being two-fold: practical and moral. “There are very few people who aren’t concerned about human well-being, about the poor, or about the vulnerable,” Sirico pointed out. “The first question is not where we want to go. The question is, how do we get there?”

Practically, argues Sirico, economic issues involve many factors and many people, making broad centralized planning an inefficient tool when it comes to approaching economic problems arising from the ground level. The knowledge of government officials, at the federal or state level, is limited. “This is what happens in a socialist economy; it’s the presumption of knowing at the practical level what the needs are and how to satisfy those means.”

Socialist governments also fail to realize the intrinsic dignity of the human person, stripping individuals of freedom in work and business. Each person has the capacity and mandate to reflect his or her creator in their work and entrepreneurial efforts, a deeply moral calling. “Good impulses shouldn’t be coerced by a bureaucracy that enforces it,” Sirico said.

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Caroline Roberts is a writer and producer of the Acton Line podcast.