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Os Guinness on Virtue in a Free Republic
blog.action.org ^ | May 17, 2012 | by RAY NOTHSTINE

Posted on 05/17/2012 1:28:30 PM PDT by Jim Robinson

Right now I am reading an advanced copy of Os Guinness’s's A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future. The book will be released by IVP on August 6. It’s an essential read and I pledge to publish a future review for our PowerBlog readers. Guinness was interviewed in Religion & Liberty in 1998.

In my recent talks around town I have been asking questions about our capacity and desire for self-government as a community and nation. I recently gave a local presentation on President Calvin Coolidge and he helped inspire a greater desire to ask the foundational questions. In my view, Coolidge saw public service as a chance to educate Americans in civics, elevating the greater truths from our revolutionary and founding period.

Below is a great excerpt from Guinness’s forthcoming book:

Beyond any question, the way the American founders consistently linked faith and freedom, republicanism and religion, was not only deliberate and thoughtful, it was also surprising and anything but routine. In this view, the self-government of a free republic had to rest on the self-government of free citizens, for only those who can govern themselves as individuals can govern themselves as a people. As for an athlete or a dancer, freedom for a citizen is the gift of self-control, training and discipline, not self-indulgence.

The laws of the land may provide external restraints on behavior, but the secret of freedom is what Englishman Lord Moulton called “obedience to the unenforceable,” which is a matter of virtue, which in turn is a matter of faith. Faith and virtue are therefore indispensable to freedom – both to liberty itself and to the civic vitality and social harmony that go hand in hand with freedom.

Burke wrote in full agreement, “Manners [or moral standards] are of more importance than laws.” Rousseau had written similarly that mores, customs, and traditions, which are “engraved neither in marble nor in bronze but in the hearts of the citizens” form “the true Constitution of the State” and the “Keystone of the Republic.”

Tocqueville emphatically agreed. His objective in writing Democracy in America was not to turn Frenchmen into Americans, for liberty should take many forms. “My purpose has rather been to demonstrate, using the American example, that their laws and, above all, their manners can permit a democratic people to remain free.”



TOPICS: Government; Politics; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: faith; founding; freedom; liberty; osguinness; selfgovernment; virtue

1 posted on 05/17/2012 1:28:35 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson

Excellent. Thanks for posting this.


2 posted on 05/17/2012 1:32:17 PM PDT by aposiopetic
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To: Jim Robinson

Fascinating. Should look this book up myself, to read.


3 posted on 05/17/2012 1:33:42 PM PDT by Lazamataz (The so-called 'mainstream' media has gone from "biased" straight to "utterly surreal".)
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To: Jim Robinson

Thanks for the heads up. I hope it also comes out in Kindle...


4 posted on 05/17/2012 1:38:34 PM PDT by bcsco
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To: Lazamataz
"Should look this book up myself, to read."

To read? Well what else might you do with it?

Regards,

Cope

5 posted on 05/17/2012 1:41:49 PM PDT by Copenhagen Smile
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To: Jim Robinson

Outstanding, JR. I’ve always been a big fan of Os Guinness. Balanced and insightful.


6 posted on 05/17/2012 1:41:56 PM PDT by newheart (At what point does policy become treason?)
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To: Jim Robinson
This is from a Rick Santorum speech that he was giving back in 2010 before running for POTUS ...

He quoted Guinness repeatedly, particularly regarding the The Golden Triangle of Freedom.

The movement in our country to fly on "one wing," reason alone, will ultimately undermine the very foundation of our country -- freedom. America is rooted in the founders' belief that free people, whose God-given rights are protected by a government that allows the individual to pursue their dreams and reap the fruits of their labor, would build the most just and prosperous society in the history of man. They were right; freedom was the key ingredient in the American experiment. Our founders understood it was relatively easy to establish freedom in our Constitution, the harder task was to create a system that would maintain it against the corrosive force of time. The author Os Guinness describes how they accomplished this as the Golden Triangle of Freedom: "Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith and faith requires freedom and around again."

That freedom requires virtue was explained by the political philosopher Edmund Burke, who wrote: "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites ... Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

Virtue requires faith because faith is the primary teacher of morality. That is not to say that one cannot be virtuous without faith, but for society as a whole faith is the indispensable agent of virtue. Faith requires freedom. Why has America remained a deeply religious country averting the road to secularism traveled by our European brothers and sisters? Again Madison's "true remedy," the combination of "free exercise" and no religious state supported monopoly, has created a vibrant marketplace of religions extolling everywhere the word of God to inspire people to fulfill His special plan for each of us. Our founders' inspired brilliance created a paradigm that has given America the best chance of any civilization in the history of man to endure the test of time. Time, this time now in American history is putting that to the test.

7 posted on 05/17/2012 2:02:27 PM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Tea Party movement: more obstinate, unyielding and hostile to Democrats …)
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To: Copenhagen Smile; Lazamataz

Don’t hurt the n00b, Laz. He doesn’t know what he’s asking.


8 posted on 05/17/2012 2:19:53 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: Jim Robinson

I like a lot of what Guinness writes. Unfortunately, he is a real America-basher when speaking. This really turns me off when he does so, which is frequently.


9 posted on 05/17/2012 2:28:05 PM PDT by Dr. Thorne (Don't vote for anyone who worked for Goldman Sachs)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Lazamataz
Ah, but I DO know!

I know everything about everthing. Especially Freerepublic. More than you. More than laz. More than admin moderator his very self!

After all, I'm a n00b. My status is indicative of my omnipotent, all-knowing knowledgeness.

True story.

Regards,

Cope

10 posted on 05/17/2012 2:32:13 PM PDT by Copenhagen Smile
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To: Jim Robinson

In this prickly era, your post of this book inspires us to return to this type of reading. God and faith determine right courage for defending our God given Republic. You did good.


11 posted on 05/17/2012 2:33:17 PM PDT by RitaOK (ABR & ABO Few are unafraid, but I thank God for the few. We are the resistance.)
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To: Copenhagen Smile

You left out the gratuitous maniacal cackling and cough.


12 posted on 05/17/2012 3:14:37 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: Jim Robinson
On October 11, 1798, President John Adams addressed the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in a letter: 'We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'
13 posted on 05/17/2012 3:14:40 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Copenhagen Smile; fieldmarshaldj; Lazamataz

Sniff, Sniff...

LOL

Welcome nOOb...


14 posted on 05/17/2012 3:56:51 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome; fieldmarshaldj; Lazamataz
Could we possibly get humblegunner in on this or is he still recovering from that little snafu of the other day?

I want my induction...er, hazing to be a memorable one.

Regards,

Cope

15 posted on 05/17/2012 4:53:43 PM PDT by Copenhagen Smile
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To: Copenhagen Smile; Vendome; fieldmarshaldj; Lazamataz; humblegunner

Incoming....

LOL


16 posted on 05/17/2012 5:40:25 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vendome; Copenhagen Smile; Lazamataz

Shall we do with him what we did with the last guy ? Drop him on John Travolta’s doorstep wearing nothing but a g-string and a tube of chapstick ?


17 posted on 05/17/2012 5:44:55 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: fieldmarshaldj
Apple flavored chapstick.

Cherry kind makes me sneeze.

18 posted on 05/17/2012 5:55:45 PM PDT by Copenhagen Smile
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Copenhagen Smile; Lazamataz

Needs a bowtie and white gloves as well....

LOL


19 posted on 05/17/2012 6:02:59 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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