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5 Stars Out Of 5
Os Guinness strikes a balanced approach.
February 22, 2014
This book is a must keep. Guinness realizes that the role of virtue is a necesary quality in public officials and its citizens; otherwise, the American experiment will inevitably collapse. This is not a sly argument for a theocratic government in the U.S. but one that encourages virtuous order and civility among and within the balance of powers and its citizens regardless of particular biases.
American's love freedom. But Guinness believes that America's deepest crisis at present is that of ordered liberty and sustainable freedom.
Freedom is its own greatest enemy. It can prove to be an Achilles' heel, dissipating into license, triviality, corruption, etc. Freedom requires order and self-restraint. Guinness believes, "Americans today are heedlessly pursuing a vision of freedom that is short-lived and suicidal." (29)
"If the founders were correct, contemporary America's pursuit of political leadership without character, economic enterprise without ethics and trust, scientific progress without human values, freedom without virtue...can only end in disaster." (34)
Guinness covers the founders' understanding of the tasks of sustainable freedom, the classical understanding of why no political systems have endured, the founders' solution to the challenge of sustaining freedom, the condition of American freedom today, America's international standing, and the possible grounds for America's restoration.
Guinness brings reality to the discussion. The world is flawed. There is not going to be any lasting victory for freedom in the world. American freedom is being tested in the international arena.
Guinness believes in the possibility of American renewal. He outlines the three tasks necessary for freedom to last. There will be a high price to pay if Americans do not act soon.
Guinness' book is not light reading. He critiques America's current situation. It is not an encouraging situation. But there is hope.
This is a fascinatingly objective summary of the historical and philosophical foundations of the American Revolution, written by an Irishman. However, I was a bit surprised that the author, an accomplished Christian apologist, had so little to say about the contributions of Biblical or theological currents in the outflow from freedom's spring. His concluding optimism seems a bit humanistic and unsubstantiated by current events.