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Works and Days

The Launch of the Freedom Academy

October 28th, 2013 - 6:23 am

Today launches the Freedom Academy®, a project some 18 months in the making. In the present age, we need a meeting place where people can rediscover what freedom entails and appreciate the origins and role of liberty. The majority of Americans yearn for a rebirth of these values that have sustained Western civilization, and birthed the American experiment. Such reverence for our heritage and origins is why we at PJ Media will offer a variety of ways to understand our present dilemmas through an appreciation of past ideas and events.

Despite all the contemporary upheavals in Washington—whether over the government shutdown, debt-ceiling increase, or Obamacare—we can be certain that history remains both our gateway to the future and our window to the past. The political strife we are witnessing is not new, but a continuance of the age-old struggle between the tragic and therapeutic views of the human condition, over the collision of history and humanities with the social sciences, and the liberty of the individual pitted against the coercive power of the collective.

We cannot fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of our current challenges if we do not study the world around us through learning from past events and the contributions of earlier minds—both the ordeals and triumphs of people of action, and the thoughts and ideas of others who tried to make sense of such events through literature and philosophy.

The Academy is the online home for the intellectually curious. They can draw on a book club that encourages reading and discussion of the principles of freedom and liberty, e-books, discussion guides, and a video lecture series that bring to life the ideas, people and states that shaped Western civilization.

Anyone can read, listen, or watch the current news. Yet if you want to place the present noise in a larger context of understanding modern civilization, then the Freedom Academy Lecture Series and its Book Club can aid your odyssey of intellectual and political discovery. While we have created the content of the Academy especially for those who love freedom and liberty—and are worried over the present endangerment of both—we were also mindful to make our offerings appealing to all generations through videos, written texts, and web formats.

Beginning with the first lecture series, the Odyssey of Western Civilization, I will guide viewers on a 2,500-year journey across the landscape of Western civilization, from its origins in the Greek city-states to its most affluent and free expression in modern America. The second series, The Western Story, explores the many connections between the classical Greek and Roman worlds and the present era, and how our contemporary experiences are explicable through the knowledge of our classical culture and civilization. My final series, History in the News, also correlates the present with the present by showing how present controversies are best understood through drawing on historical precedents.

The Freedom Academy also features a fourth video lecture series created and narrated by Scott Ott. Called Freedom’s Charter, this 20-episode video series takes you behind the scenes of the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

Comprised of four-lecture series, the Freedom Academy’s online video lectures and companion e-books can be purchased on its website http://freedomacademy.com. The Freedom Academy Book Club is free and a veritable intersection where those who cherish freedom and liberty can explore books that can shape our common destiny.

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history…[we] will be remembered in spite of ourselves.” I fully agree with Lincoln and I so also believe “we know how to save the Union.” If we do not educate ourselves on our past—and the past of other nations—then we fail. The choice is ours to make, or break, the “last best hope of earth.”

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All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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Recently I completed the Odyssey of Western Civilization lecture series, enjoyed it very much, and learned so many new things about our history. I appreciated both reading each of the eight parts and watching the corresponding videos, and was amazed at the beautiful artwork that accompanied each lecture. It was a very enriching experience and I fully intend to go through the series again to refresh my understanding (and to see the art again!). I highly recommend the premier PJ membership for the excellent learning experience. I'm looking forward to taking the three other video lecture series in the future, too. If you have not joined yet, do so today! It is so well worth it.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I also completed the Odyssey of Western Civilization and found it very informative. It must be quite a challenge to cover so much time in very little time, and do it well. Kudos.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most important, thank you so much, Dr. Hanson and all of the others who have worked so long and hard on the Freedom Academy. It's a true blessing for me.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
the radical concept is that the authority of the government shall be limited. King James was introduced to the idea at Runnymede in 1215.

applying law against the government is another matter. One should study Jefferson in this. there arte two critical quotes: "Any nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never will be". The second deals with the freedom of speech,-- "where the press is free and every man is willing and able to read -- all is safe".

with these ideas in mind read the Bill of Rights. It is the RX for Tyranny.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Bible as well.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two things:
1) I hope you include the role of Christianity in the shaping of Western thought and culture. Without it our society would be very different today.
2) Please put together a couple of elementary and middle school classes that volunteers can use to teach our founding principles and history. Thank you.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe it was Gylippus who directed us through a previous comment section to your lecture series, the Odyssey of Western Civilization. My family has watched it together.
Dr. Hanson. What a great pleasure to listen to your recounting of why we are here and what may lie ahead. The visual presentation was wonderful. Ancient architecture, art, maps . . . .
We couldn't have been more pleased.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We cannot fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of our current challenges if we do not study the world around us through learning from past events..."

I do not need to know what happened in Rome 1800 years ago or in England 1000 years ago to understand the current political and social problems in the USA. The reality is that freedom-loving, libertarian-oriented people are screwed. We comprise less than five percent of the population. The people who want more and more government goodies and more and more nanny-statism comprise at least half of the population. The remaining people are either politically inert or want to move toward extreme political positions such as communism, dictatorship, or theocracy. Our statements about regaining lost freedoms and reducing massive government will be a tiny signal lost in the background noise.

"The majority of Americans yearn for a rebirth of these values that have sustained Western civilization"

People always choose this type of answer when responding to surveys. You can ask a group of unfaithful married people if marital fidelity is important, and they will say yes. If you ask Americans whether they would give up government run safety nets in order to attain the freedoms of 1796, they would say no.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, I see now. I'm only signed up for the basic membership. In order to see the lecture series I'm going to have to upgrade my membership to premium.I won't be able to do that until my check gets here Friday. See you then!

Right now, with the basic membership I can see PJTV and a bunch of other stuff like Next Gen TV but the really interesting things happen with the premium level membership.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. Hanson,

you are not going to reach or influence very many Americans,

if you insist on putting everything behind paywalls!

Almost nobody but dedicated conservatives (and perhaps not even them!) is going to buy your materials IN ADVANCE.

The last time there was a major intellectual push, there were no paywalls. Milton Friedman's wonderful TV series "Free to Choose" was on PBS-TV. Anybody could watch it for free.

Ben Wattenberg's TV series "The Real America" was on PBS-TV. Anybody could watch it for free.

You had better find sponsors that will pay you to let folks view your stuff for free with embedded ads from sponsors.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll take individual responsibility, history and the humanities, to win every time. Not by chance they've been effectively eliminated from the school curriculum from coast to coast.

But the damage is deep and can't be fixed quickly; we're talking decades and time is a luxury we don't have. This 'freedom academy' is a fine and noble idea, and all patriots [DID HE SAY PATRIOT? REPORT, REPORT!] will wish it well, but there's a limit to how far you can punt and run. As things are, many of our children will be compelled to define their roles in the face of credible threats, automatic weapons and high explosives, all wielded under color of law by an abusive state run rogue. Hell, the national park service now has SWAT teams and a tendency to strut in uniform. Don't kid yourselves: it happened on our watch.

What'll it be? Parsing irregular latin verbs for children and 30-yr-old adolescents, or loading muskets while holed-up inside the cabin-in-the-clearing, as the indians land fire-arrows on the roof? Exaggerated, yes, and many will it as a ludicrous false choice. But it isn't. The guys at the sharp end will certainly need aid and shelter.

So, apart from study and watch videos, what will you do?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This will be a long term slog. We now have more people on food stamps than private sector workers, who, nominally support those on food aid.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/101m-get-food-aid-federal-gov-t-outnumber-full-time-private-sector-workers
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is this tranquil olive grove you could use, but it will be overrun by the barbarians while you read, ponder, lecture and discuss.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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