The “Golden Triangle of Freedom”

Os Guiness’s A Free People’s Suicide

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. (see “Guiness” below)

In Guiness’s book, he introduces the “Golden Triangle of Freedom.”

GT_Freedom-2

Freedom requires virtue.
Virtue requires faith.
Faith requires freedom.

If one of the three aspects of this “Golden Triangle” is removed, the whole thing collapses. Freedom is gone.

In What Sense is America a Christian Nation is the Question

download

Marvin Olasky, pictured above, is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books.

We cannot find Christian ethics transcribed word for word from the Bible into civil law. Elements of Judeo-Christian ethics are there as the basis of civil law. John 8:31-36 presents the necessary spiritual dimension which underpins the freedom citizens of any country has. However, without this spiritual dimension, freedom cannot exist for long among any people.

I love Marvin Olasky’s book, Fighting for Liberty and Virtue: Political and Cultural Wars in Eighteenth-Century America (see “Olasky” in notes below for full information). I got it free from a book club I was a member of back in the mid-1990s. I have marked it up with notes and highlights. It is pure gold! Sadly, it now out of print.

5187Q7X8HWL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_In Fighting for Liberty and Virtue Olasky introduces another book by John Brown—the famous eighteenth century essayist and poet (and not the nineteenth century abolitionist by the same name). Brown saw his own country, Great Britain, in danger of moral, spiritual, and political collapse.

Strangely, Brown also saw the American colonies as Britain’s hope of salvation. Brown wrote his observations in An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (published in 1757). He asked the following question: “Do the present ruling manners and principles of this nation tend to its continuance or destruction?”

John_Brown_Estimate_of_Manners

We ought to ask this same question today concerning our own country and our own personal ethical lives.

Brown concluded that one of the chief problems Britain faced was that the leaders of England in his day were nothing but promiscuous self-pleasers. They were supposed to set the moral and spiritual tone for the people they ruled, as our governmental leaders are supposed to do for us.

Like the leaders of Britain in Brown’s day, however, many of our leaders in America think that private actions are of no consequence to anyone but the individuals involved directly. We need to see that this attitude is self-serving in the extreme. It is not a sign of “enlightenment” to embrace immorality. Private immorality is sinful and leads men in elective office to neglect their obligations to the people they represent.

Judeo-Christian Ethics

Judeo-Christian ethics must be enshrined in the hearts of people if freedom in America is to remain. We cannot enshrine the Bible into civil law, but we can enshrine it in our own hearts. This is the sense in which America is a Christian nation or not.

The founders envisioned a rare form of democracy the world had never seen before. They wanted self-governance in America. They did not want a State Church or a Theocracy in the nation. 

A famous incident occurred at the Constitutional Convention as Benjamin Franklin exited it.

A lady asked Dr. Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got a republic or a monarchy?”

“A republic,” replied the Doctor, “if you can keep it” (see “Franklin” below)

Can we keep it? Are we doing our part by letting the Holy Scriptures to inform our behavior?

Notes

Franklin, Benjamin. (1787). Accessed 8 October 2018 from https://www.bartleby.com/73/1593.html

Guiness, Os. (2012) A Free People’s Suicide. Accessed 6 October 2018 from https://www.ivpress.com/a-free-people-s-suicide

Olasky, Marvin. (1996). Fighting for Liberty and Virtue: Political and Cultural Wars in Eighteenth-Century America. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc. N.B. this book is only available from used book sellers. 

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s