A Free People's Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

A Free People's Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

by Os Guinness

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Overview

  • 2013 Logos Book of the Year in Christianity/Culture
"If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
Abraham Lincoln
Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders' belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today?
It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained. Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom—most typically, a negative freedom from constraint— are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.
"In the end," Guinness writes, "the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor." The future of the republic depends on whether Americans will rise to the challenge of living up to America's unfulfilled potential for freedom, both for itself and for the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830834655
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 07/10/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 380,654
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Os Guinness (D.Phil., Oxford) is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including The American Hour, Time for Truth and The Case for Civility. A frequent speaker and prominent social critic, he was the founder of the Trinity Forum and has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. Born in China and educated in England, he now lives near Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

1. What Kind of People Do You Think You Are?

2. Always Free, Free Always

3. Using History to Defy History

4. The Golden Triangle of Freedom

5. The Completest Revolution of All

6. An Empire Worthy of Free People

7. The Eagle and the Sun

Grateful Acknowledgments

Notes

Name Index

Subject Index

What People are Saying About This

Wilfred M. McClay

"In a passionate work that blends historical-cultural analysis with moral exhortation, Os Guinness finds at the heart of America's culture wars something different than what many observers have seen. He identifies a 'freedom war,' a struggle over the very concept of freedom itself. As the Founders well understood, it is not enough for Americans to invoke endlessly the name of 'freedom' when they no longer agree as to what it means or what ends freedom is meant to serve. Guinness warns that freedom cannot long endure unless it is consecrated to purposes beyond itself. It is a warning worth heeding."

Michael Cromartie

"With passion and urgency Os Guinness gives a sweeping historical account of America's past and her prospects for the future. He urges us to pay serious attention to a deeper understanding of freedom and makes a compelling case for why freedom requires virtue. Weaving together a wide-ranging knowledge of classical, constitutional and contemporary history, Guinness warns of America's decline but charts a course for America's renewal. It is a straight-shooting and sober volume, yet in the end it is a hopeful book."

Jean Bethke Elshtain

"Os Guinness enlightens, cheers, chastises and informs with this latest contribution to our civic discourse. Guinness here solidifies his reputation as one of the most nimble voices from the Christian community as he surveys our history and our present with appreciation as well as deep concern. Highly recommended for all interested citizens, whatever their political or faith commitments."

Eric Metaxas

"Sometimes a book is so important and so timely that not to have read it is to embarrass oneself. This is such a book. Its message is so crucial and so clear that all Americans are obligated to read it and have a national conversation on its themes. No cultural commentator or politician who has not read this book should ever be taken seriously again. Let this book be the new litmus test. If you are serious about America, be familiar with its themes and expect to discuss them and to be tested on them. Rest assured that you will be, because America is now herself being tested on them. Alas, we will not be graded on a curve. This book's clarion call is both piercing and full of hope. May God help us to hear it and to take action."

James W. Sire

"A Free People's Suicide is an inside view from the outside. Os Guinness has a clear eye, a quick mind, a profound grasp of political philosophy and an eloquent pen. His analysis of American freedom, what it has been, now is and is likely to become, is a clarion call for renewal of the founders' vision for a free people."

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