A More Civil Society
Brett Harkey, Director of Advancement
Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political philosopher, in his writing Democracy in America, was keen to note how Americans had a strong inclination toward civil associations. Indeed, this characteristic illustrated for him one of the ways American life is unique in the world.
“Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing associations, in which all partake, but associations of a thousand other kinds—religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government of France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.”
The American ideal of “rugged individualism” may have largely shaped our national personality, but to fully understand the character of American individualism, it is necessary to acknowledge this individualism has been accompanied by a vibrant communitarianism. We have gravitated towards creating a nation of flourishing communities full of strong healthy families and neighborhoods. We have formed innumerable associations including civic and community groups, charities, libraries, hospitals, faith communities, fraternal clubs, and schools.
These constitute what we call civil society. Civil society is the space existing between the individual and the state. This is where true freedom thrives and much of life is lived—where we voluntarily gather to improve our communities, care for one another, educate our children, promote just causes, heal the sick, and worship together.
This impulse towards civil society is why our nation is preeminent in the world in terms of philanthropy. According to the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index, private giving in the United States exceeds the world’s other major nations by almost every measure. Civil society is enabled and empowered by the independent and free choices made by Americans to fund organizations and institutions with which they most resonate.
Liberty Common School was established with this same instinct. In the early 1990s, a group of parents gathered to discuss how to effectively educate their own children. In time, this loose association of parents would go on to form a school where families would voluntarily choose to send their children. Parents, exercising their “right and responsibility to direct the education and upbringing of their children,” elect to entrust their most cherished blessing to our educational community.
Liberty Common School is an important part of civil society. Together, we aim to improve the world around us by enabling true liberty through the gift of education. Together, we help fund this sacred journey towards human flourishing. Together, we create a more civil society. UNA SURGEMUS. Together we rise.