Book of the Month

Back to November 2015 Ed Reporter

Book of the Month

Self-Evident Truths: Foundations of American Political Thought, Bill Burtness, Xulon Press, 2012, $15.99

Self-Evident Truths is an excellent civics or history textbook for students (it even has study questions at the end of each chapter) or a refresher course for anyone seeking the truth about American government. It also provides insight into ways to make our schools an incubator of outstanding citizens.

The author explains that the Founding Fathers were influenced by the Bible. This book shows “how Biblical principles were implemented as the moral and then structural basis of society,” and even offers correlating Bible verses.

The Founders devised a new form of government that works when those who are governed are educated and self-controlled.

There is a vast difference between freedom and liberty. Freedom can mean doing anything one wishes, which eventually ends in anarchy. Liberty means having the freedom to do what is right, according to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. A civil government is meant to serve the people, not to control them. Liberty is the voluntary choice of the people to control themselves.

According to Prof. Burtness:

The Biblical view of man’s relationship to the state is that God is sovereign, the individual is the servant of God, and the state is the servant of the individual. But the pagan view of man and the state is that the State is sovereign and the individual is the servant of the state.

Society crumbles and kids turn to hedonism when teaching right from wrong is removed from school curriculum. America’s form of government requires individual character over which a corresponding civil structure is implemented. When character is missing, the government fails.

The non-sectarian humanist goal of education is to produce the “self-actualized child,” one who “recognizes no higher authority than ‘self,’” an outcome which will eventually end in failure and anarchy.

Burtness writes, “We must be careful that in our homes, schools, and churches we are building self-governing character in the next generation that can create and sustain liberty rather than dependent character.” Dependent people depend on authority to control them. Those who believe in something bigger than themselves behave well because of internal character.

Our nation and our public schools would improve if we could get professor Burtness’ book into the hands of every student, teacher, neighbor, and politician possible.