How can a free republic maintain its freedom? "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." --
In this highly polarized age, political leaders on all sides debate what it means to be a free people. People confuse freedom with mere consumer choices. Popular movements contend against how government or corporate entities infringe upon individual and collective freedom. Economic crises and social inequities call into question whether our American notion of freedom is real or merely illusory.
Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. While freedom is perhaps the most defining trait of American society, it is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained.
Unrestrained freedom is unsustainable because it undermines the very conditions necessary for freedom to exist. Guinness's careful study of history reminds us that it is not enough to have negative freedom from constraint. He calls us to cultivate the essential civic character needed for ordered liberty and sustainable freedom.
True freedom requires virtue, which in turn requires faith. Only within the framework of what is true, right and good can freedom be found. "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.