Friends of the Napa Institute,
I don’t often recommend books, but then I don’t often read books worth recommending. “There’s No Free Lunch: 250 Economic Truths” by David Bahnsen, is an exception. Below is a quick review I wrote, but honestly, you can skip it and just buy the book.
I bet you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Because David diagnoses a huge part of what’s wrong with our society – and more importantly, the path to right it, in line with our faith.
David Bahnsen pictured
You may have heard David Bahnsen’s excellent talks at the Napa Institute’s conferences. You may remember encountering his remarkable personality at our events over the years. And you will remember his extraordinary new book, if you take the time to read it – “There’s No Free Lunch.”
I met David several years ago, and we quickly recognized our common interest in the Christian faith. By training, he’s a money manager, with offices in Newport Beach, New York, Minneapolis, and Nashville, and he serves on the boards of the National Review Institute, the Acton Institute, and The King’s College in New York City. But by passion, he’s a writer.
The proof is on the pages – too many to count. He writes columns for a wide range of audiences, and he’s also written a number of books – all of which I’ve found thoughtful and animating. But his latest book is on another level. The subtitle is “250 Economic Truths,” and every single one of those truths is foundational to our society and essential to our future.
Many of these truths can be found in David’s latest Napa talk at the 2021 Principled Entrepreneurship Conference in New York City – you can listen to it here. Basically, he provides an introduction to the principles that undergird our incredible prosperity and potential – drawing out the best of economists’ lessons without the worst of their academic jargon. More importantly, he layers a Christian understanding of humanity on top of everything, giving a higher meaning to deeper truths.
Napa regulars – and Christians worldwide – will know that understanding well. It includes such truths as all work has dignity. Without work, we cannot be joyful. Without work, we do not have purpose and fulfillment. Work is an act of co-creation – something God calls us to do alongside Himself. Truths like these (and there are so many more) matter.
Why? Because those truths are being forgotten.
After spending the past century fighting socialism, communism, and collectivism of any kind, America has slid toward the very thing we tried to avoid. What began with the New Deal and the Great Society has morphed into an ever-growing government that denies human dignity and the value of work.
Case in point: America has now spent at least $23 trillion fighting poverty through government control instead of empowering people to rise, which is their God-given right. Compare that to the global fall in the poverty rate from 80% a century ago to 10% today. That wasn’t driven by government; it was driven by people in a free and fair market. If we rediscover our national passion for empowering people to realize their potential, and fulfill their calling to co-create with God, there’s no telling what our country will accomplish.
David’s book is filled with lessons America needs to hear. Not only will you enjoy it, I believe your children and grandchildren will find it enlightening, too. It’s the polar opposite of the lies being taught in most high schools and universities these days. The best way to dispel those lies is with the truth – and in “There’s No Free Lunch,” David Bahnsen offers 250 truths that we all need to hear.
I highly recommend it.
Below are two of David’s talks from the Napa Institute conferences. Check them out below:
Impact of Debt on Growth in the Economy with David Bahnsen
Excessive Debt and the Future of Civilization
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The Napa Institute Summer Conference brings together some of the world’s most prominent Catholic and Christian thinkers each year to engage, encourage, and inspire the over 700 participants who gather from every corner of the country and around the world. This conference provides unique opportunities to build community, share ideas, and grow in friendship with some of the most effective Catholics leaders in the country.
On May 18, 2023, the Napa Institute co-hosted a talk with the Catholic Information Center in Washington, DC featuring special guest, Fr. Paul Scalia on how to love our enemies. As a result of the cult
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