“Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; and faith requires freedom.”
The founding of America was based on something new – ideals. A group of people came together bound by the idea of freedom and created a self-governing country. When a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had created, he replied, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.” Have we kept it? Why has America changed so much over the years? What can we do to keep the republic we’ve been given.
Eric Metaxas explores these ideas in If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. I was given an advanced copy of the book as part of the book launch team. I originally discovered Metaxas when I read his biography of Bonhoeffer a few years ago. It was a great biography (and a book I highly recommend) and I have been following what he has written since then. I was also on his book launch team for Miracles.
In If You Can Keep It, Metaxas explores the history of how America was founded and then presents the key elements of how the republic can stay alive – how we can keep it. Os Guiness presented the Golden Triangle of Freedom: Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; and faith requires freedom. This triangle is the core of a republic. The people must be virtuous to self-govern themselves (this extends to those who are elected as well). A standard of virtue often comes from a faith or belief system, but there is usually a common set of standards within a culture. Faith is best allowed to flourish in a place where there is freedom to practice it. Keeping our republic would require us having virtues, faith and freedom. Metaxas also argues that Americans need heros to look up to in the past, present and future. There must also be a common thread tying us all together – a love of our country. We can love our country and accept the good and the bad, just as we do with the people we love.
I am glad I read this book because it presents ideas I had been wondering in a new light. The book doesn’t complain about American’s current state or bemoan its future, but gives a plan on how America can hold the course and remain a republic that has given the world a great example of how people can live in freedom.
I would recommend this book to any adult who has any concern about the state or future of our country.
“So go forth and love America, knowing that if your love is true it will be transmuted one way or another into a love of everything that is good beyond America, which is her golden promise to the world, and the promise that we, you and I, must keep.”