Religion & Liberty Online

New ‘Religion & Liberty’ focuses on the student loan crisis

The newest issue of Religion & Liberty has been uploaded. You can view it here.

This issue of Religion & Liberty focuses on higher education in all its fulness.

Two statistics throw the college tuition crisis into stark relief: Since 1978 – the year the federal government offered subsidized loans to all students – the cost of college tuition has risen by 1,375 percent. And another 1,400 students default on those loans every day.

The cover story by Anne Rathbone Bradley unravels the crisis of student debt. “The essential problem of student loan debt and high tuition fees is not the loans themselves,” Bradley writes, “but the skyrocketing costs that are due to heavy government interference in higher education.” She explains the process that created our modern-day predicament and points the way to a solution.

Trey Dimsdale complements her essay with an article describing why proposals to “erase” student loan debt will only create additional moral hazards. His academic and legal background adds authority to his clear-eyed argumentation.

At that point, this issue dives deeper, asking not just how to pay for an education but what subject matter constitutes a proper education. Samuel Gregg, the Acton Institute’s director of research, addresses the unique strands of religion and philosophy that gave birth to liberty in this extended excerpt from his new book Reason, Faith, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Regnery Gateway, 2019). “Freedom is more than an absence of constraint,” he writes. “Man is free for something.” That something, he adds, is excellence.

Joshua Gregor addresses the widespread academic culture of intersectionality and identity politics, which castigates anyone who admires the Western inheritance.

Rev. Gregory Jensen reviews Daniel Mahoney’s The Idol of our Age, which features numerous short biographies of the intellectuals and leaders who enriched Western civilization.

Finally, Religion & Liberty Executive Editor John Couretas reviews a heart-wrenching account of the Armenian genocide, written by two Israeli historians. More than a century later, this first mass atrocity lies forgotten beneath a snowdrift of false denials and obfuscations. The most fundamental thing our education must teach us is to assure such a genocide never happens again.

Read the full issue of Religion & Liberty here.

(Photo credit: Katherine DaSilva /

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.