Why Worldview Matters in Teaching Economics and American Government

by | May 29, 2018 | Articles | 1 comment

One might ask the question, why would I want to use an American Government textbook that was written twenty-five years ago? It is because this is a text that is sorely needed today. Read a little of Dr. Clarence Carson’s Preface, and ask yourself if this is not an endeavor worth the time and effort of your students. These principles, truly understood, will prepare them for their future:

It would be a considerable fraud to do a book on American government which talked as if the Constitution were still being substantially observed, that pretended that when Presidents took the oath of office they intended to observe the bounds set by the Constitution, that Congressmen recited their pledges with the same intent, and that Federal judges were still construing the Constitution as it was written. In sum, any book on American government worthy of the name ought to make clear how remote from the Constitution the government has become. Every effort has been made to do so in this book.


This book is not, then, simply a manual on the nuts and bolts of government which accept whatever it is that government does without reference to constitutional authorization. It is not a manual on how to live under its authority and operate the government in the year of our Lord 1993. There are manuals aplenty that provide such information. On the contrary, this is a work addressed to potential citizens, who wish to constrain and control their government by constitutional means, not to conforming servants, beggars for portions of its loot, nor employees or operators of a leviathon-sized government.


This book contains an account of the general government as established by the Constitution, of the state governments which preceded it and came after it and their constitutions. More, it details the Ancient and modern foundations, scriptural and secular, on which these constitutions and governments rested. The Founders of the United States built on a great foundation, and the story of that is told in these pages. The story is told, too, how the Constitution of 1787 became the Higher Law for many Americans, including most of those who governed them in the 19th century. It ends with a detailed account of the massive departures from the Constitution in the 20th century on the way to constructing a Leviathon, in which government is now out of control.


This is a work intended for citizens and potential citizens of the United States of all ages and conditions. Can such a work be intended for young people? Indeed, it can and is, for however shameful the departures from and betrayal of the Constitution have been, the knowledge of them is not something from which anyone should be protected…

When Clarence Carson set out to write an economics text and an American government text he knew that certain fundamental principles had to be taught. He knew then that our government had abandoned the Constitutional restraints that our Founders had imposed. Moreover, he knew that modern economics textbooks had largely departed from natural law foundations by embracing a form of positivism that is destructive of our natural rights to life, liberty, and property.

Things have only gotten worse. We live in a day when it is absolutely necessary that we educate today’s students in the fundamentals of the natural law tradition if our nation is to be salvaged from the tyrannies being imposed upon us. Ignorance and false understanding of the nature of economics and government can only result in the further demise of the nation. Indeed, such ignorance has yielded a rising tide of tyranny and despotism and out of control government action. The time for restoration is now and that can only occur when the new generation comes to grips with the essential nature of the fundamental principles we have abandoned as a nation, and as they recognize and root out the half-truths and outright falsehoods that have been proliferated in the guise of promoting the “common good” in our society. Basic Economics (4th ed., updated in 2018) and Basic American Government are an important tandem aimed at rightly educating this new generation.

Dr. Paul Cleveland is a professor of economics at Birmingham-Southern College. He has authored or co-authored four books. His most recent is an update to Dr. Clarence Carson's economics text: Basic Economics: A Natural Law Approach to Economics, Fourth Edition.

Average Rating

55 out of 5 stars (based on 10 reviews)
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No Title

October 11, 2018

Very insightful as to what people can think of themselves.

Ron Martin

A Must Read!

July 12, 2018

Basic Economics is a must read! So much of what is taught today as economics is 180 degrees opposite of the truth. It’s all about how you think and this book will make sure you get it right.

Nelson Nash

A Must Read

June 29, 2018

An awesome book and a must read. Well written. Would be great if our leaders had even the basics of this understanding.

Jim King

Understanding Motives

June 29, 2018

In his latest book, Dr. Cleveland clearly explains the motives behind so many of the destructive policies that are affecting our nation and world today. After reading this book you will have a better understanding of why national and international leaders are making the decisions they make and how it will affect all of us. I am hopeful that his next book will help us understand what steps we can take, as individuals, communities, and a nation, to avoid the disasters in store for us.

Matt Davis

Every American Should Read It

June 29, 2018

Paul Cleveland is a brilliant professor, but in this book he explains the big idea behind so much of what affects our culture and society today in terms that those of us with simpler minds can clearly grasp. I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate the clear and straightforward presentation of truth. I strongly recommend that every serious American should read it.

Mary Anne Turnbull

Great Read!

June 29, 2018

W. Sanford Greer

Comments from email:

June 29, 2018

These comments were recently sent to us and we wanted to pass them on:

We presently use Dr. Cleveland’s Understanding the Modern Culture Wars as the primary text for our World History I-IV classes in conjunction with great books from each of the time periods. We have been quite pleased with it on many levels: it covers the important periods/issues/ideas and such, and does so from a biblical worldview perspective. There is no other text that does this to the best of my knowledge.

I had for years envisioned writing a history text, but never had the time for such an undertaking. Dr. Cleveland’s book is very much the book I had in mind, though I think he has done it with more success than I could have managed.

S. Alan Corlew Teacher, Logic and Rhetoric Schools

No Title

June 29, 2018

This entire series gives a far more accurate account of our history and puts Progressivism in its place. It’s about time honesty and integrity is returned to the discipline of historic studies! Even Edward Gibbon would approve!

Bill Murrin

From the Sonlight Curriculum Ltd. Catalog:

June 29, 2018

We looked at dozens of texts before settling with delight on this volume. It provides exactly the kind of basic outline we need for a high school civics class. Mr. Carson offers an astonishingly broad perspective on the entire range of cultural and historical sources that lay behind America’s constitutional government as it was being born. He also provides a thorough view of the historical events that have permitted our national government to become the Leviathan it is today. For a work that covers so much difficult and complex material, this book is astonishingly thorough, well-organized, and easy to read.

Site Admin

Important Perspective on Economics

June 6, 2018

Great argument for Incorporating a Christian world view to our understanding of economic theory and application.

Steve Gathings

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