Our modern American government is a disaster. The state has become a totalitarian monster that has invaded every aspect of life. Whereas God designed the spheres of the family and the church to govern in their own respects, the modern state has sought to usurp the authority of these spheres. This is so much the case that the concept of “government” is now synonymous with “civil government.” Instead of turning to the governing role of the family and the church, many Americans now look to the state for all their needs—education, childcare, healthcare, financial assistance, etc.
Americans desperately need to understand the proper role of the civil government. And this can be accomplished through education. There are two goals when studying the subject of government. The first is to understand the philosophy of government and different models in history. The second is to understand one’s current government.
The Ron Paul Homeschool curriculum accomplishes both of these goals through its two-part series on government. These videos are intended for 9th graders, but they are also suitable for older students. I think 11th or 12th grade is a great time to study government, especially if it is paired with a course on American history.
Each part of the Ron Paul government series is intended for a single semester, so both courses can be done within a year. The first part is taught by Gary North. The second part is taught by Tom Woods. Both are PhD level historians, and you can sample both courses on the Ron Paul site. I recommend them both. Woods covers all sorts of fascinating subjects, including Marxism, the welfare state, monarchy, inequality, taxation, price controls, and the New Deal.
Ron Paul Homeschool costs $250 per year for a family to subscribe, plus an additional $50 for each course taken. Woods’ course can be purchased to own for only $50 from Tom Woods Homeschool (though this does not have access to the Ron Paul forums). There are also many great courses on government (aimed at adults) at Woods' site Liberty Classroom.com, including an excellent course on the history of the Constitution.
Books on Government
While video instruction should form the basis for any government course, it is still beneficial to read some books on the subject. These are also great for adults who are looking to learn more about government.
The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul. This is a great introduction to government. Paul champions the freedoms on which America was originally founded. He also shows how these freedoms have been—and are continuing to be—destroyed. This is a renewed call for liberty.
The United States Constitution. Our civil government does not adhere to our founding document much anymore, but that does not mean we should not demand that they do. Part of the problem is that Americans simply do not know the Constitution. Much of this is owing to the fact that state schools do not study it in depth (surprise, surprise). It’s short. Just read it.
The Politically Correct Guide to the Constitution by Kevin Gutzman. This is a magnificent guide to the Constitution. Gutzman is both a lawyer and a PhD historian. He gives the history of the Constitutional Convention and then shows how the Supreme Court has reinterpreted the document over the years. This is a must-read for any serious student.
Who Killed the Constitution? by Tom Woods and Kevin Gutzman. Woods and Gutzman team up in this book for a topical treatment of America’s shredding of its founding document. Each branch of the federal government has trampled upon the Constitution—the courts, the president, and the Congress. And in doing so, the federal government has undermined the sovereignty of the states. Woods and Gutzman show how this has happened over the years.
The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution by Brion McClanahan. This is a great guide to what the Founding Fathers actually said about the Constitution. McClanahan gets the Founding Fathers' take on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, as well as the Bill of Rights. This is a unique book.
Government By Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment by Raoul Berger. This is a classic work by a legal historian defending an originalist reading of the Constitution. Berger shows how the Supreme Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, expanding phrases like "due process" and "equal protection" and then erroneously applying the Bill of Rights to the states. This is a more advanced read. You can read my short review of the book here.