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

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

IVP Books 2012 Paperback

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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." --
Abraham Lincoln

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.

More Product Information


  • Publisher: IVP Books
  • ISBN: 0830834656
  • ISBN-13: 9780830834655
  • SKU: 9780830834655
  • Release Date: July 10, 2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback

About the Author


Os Guinness

Os Guinness

Os Guinness (DPhil, Oxford) is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including Fool's Talk, Renaissance, The Global Public Square, A Free People's Suicide, Unspeakable, The Call, Time for Truth and The Case for Civility. A frequent speaker and prominent social critic, he has addressed audiences worldwide from the British House of Commons to the U.S. Congress to the St. Petersburg Parliament. He founded the Trinity Forum and served as senior fellow there for fifteen years. Born in China to missionary parents, he is the great-great-great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer. After witnessing the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949, he was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to England where he was educated and served as a freelance reporter with the BBC. Since coming to the U.S. in 1984, he has been a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was the lead drafter of the Williamsburg Charter, celebrating the First Amendment, and has also been senior fellow at the EastWest Institute in New York, where he drafted the Charter for Religious Freedom. He also co-authored the public school curriculum Living With Our Deepest Differences. Guinness has had a lifelong passion to make sense of our extraordinary modern world and to stand between the worlds of scholarship and ordinary life, helping each to understand the other - particularly when advanced modern life touches on the profound issues of faith. He lives with his wife Jenny in McLean, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

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