Back to the Classics

To teach, to learn, to change

What do you mean, classic?

I realized a few days ago that when I talk about ‘classics’ I really mean at least two different things. One is the ancient texts, mostly Greek and Roman, that form the earliest basis of the Western philosophy. That is what people are usually referring to when they talk about a “classical education”. But for the Freeman Academy, I have other books in mind as well: influential works of fiction and non-fiction that promote the ideas of freedom and individualism. That includes things like Frederic Bastiat’s tracts on economics, the American Declaration of Independence, Huckleberry Finn, and others. Those who teach in other languages will have to handle compiling similar collections in their respective spheres.

One of the things that I learned from The Great Conversation is the importance of the historical context of what we learn and do. When we understand the steps that led us to where we are, right and wrong, we appreciate what we have more. When a child sees how his father or mother worked to provide for them, rather than just seeing what they have, they will have more gratitude for what they’ve been given. In the same way, when we understand how men and women struggled for centuries to compile the knowledge we have now of human nature, of science, and the amazing developments we have in technology, we will better understand what we have and be better prepared to build on that foundation. We can go amazing places, but we need to understand how we got here.

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