The Humanities and the Sciences
The surest guides for this quest are the great works of literature, philosophy, politics, and art that mankind has produced, which teach us about human nature and the human good, along with the serious study of mathematics and the sciences, which teach us about the natural order. Together with the study of history, which teaches us to know ourselves by understanding our place in the unfolding of the human story, the serious pursuit of knowledge across all subjects equips us for fully human lives.
Classical education liberates us in the true sense. It frees us from ignorance and confusion, from prejudice and delusion, and from the wild passions and fanciful hopes that can degrade and destroy us. It liberates by making us rational, allowing us to see the world clearly and honestly. In revealing our nature, it necessarily reveals what we need by nature—what is right and good for us.
For these reasons, classical education provides, in part, moral education. Rather than do violence to human nature in a vain attempt to remake it, a classical education cultivates human nature so it can grow properly and flourish. By teaching students to cultivate moral virtue, it guides us into freedom by making us self-reliant and responsible, capable of governing ourselves and taking part in the self-government of our communities.
Civic Education and Thoughtful Patriotism
The serious pursuit of a classical education shows us that the life of the mind and the existence of education itself depend on the existence of civilization—not to mention political order, security, and freedom of thought. A thoughtful study of history shows us how difficult these goods are to achieve, gives us an appreciation for how rare and precious our own American circumstances are—and shows us how important it is to preserve them.
In studying the origins of our country and its history, in all of its triumphs and tragedies, students acquire a mature love for America, one which appreciates our unprecedented founding, a product of reflection and choice, and measures the health of our republic in light of the standards set forth in our founding documents. From that knowledge, we become citizens capable of judging rightly what ought to be preserved and what changed, and in making this judgment we fulfill a central part of our human nature, becoming free citizens.