Jurisdiction and authority

Jurisdiction: An Introduction

By Lauren Gideon

 We’ve all been there.

You come up on a mother and her child at the grocery store. The child demands an item that the mother has chosen not to purchase. Maybe this child objects with a dramatic tantrum, grabs the item, and defiantly places it in the cart, or perhaps he rips open the package, dumps the contents on the floor, and calls his mother some variation of a “stupid-head-poopy-face.”

At first, you may be tempted to laugh or say a prayer of thanksgiving that you were not in that parent’s humiliating position, but despite various philosophies of discipline, every onlooker thinks to himself, “That behavior was wrong, and it ought to be addressed. That kid needs a significant consequence.” 

We know the child ought to be corrected; the child corrected is good. However, what happens if you, the stranger, see what ought to be done, act, and do the thing that ought to be done? There is no way of knowing what might happen next, but you, the well-intended, astute stranger, are going to rightly find yourself in some trouble, maybe even in jail, depending on the course of correction you saw fit to apply. 

We all know there is a moral weight in the events happening all around us, but how often do we pause to consider the moral weight of who ought to address them?

The right thing done by the wrong person is immoral despite the intentions or “the heart” of the person or entity taking the action.

Observing the Ideas of Jurisdiction or Purview

We are observing the ideas of “jurisdiction” or “purview,” which communicate both the natural laws of authority and responsibility. While my illustration is both simple and obviously egregious, now, maybe more than ever, we are inundated with awareness of immoral actions, activities, and events happening all around us. 

In addition to this constant awareness, we have this righteous craving for justice, truth, and for things to be set right. Could we admit that we are often seeking the right actions from the wrong authority? Could we admit that when we see the immorality happening around us, often we don’t take time to consider jurisdiction?

Who Gives Authority and Responsibility?

Before I bog down all the “go-getters” with these inconvenient inefficiencies of the separation of powers, we must first consider who gives both authority and responsibility. When we consider the Author of the universe and that He has a plan and a purpose for how we humans interact with each other, we must also remember that we will give an account for the jurisdictions we trespass, abdicate, appeal to, or steward righteously.

Thus, it is imperative to apply the tools of the Trivium to the concept of jurisdiction for these three reasons. We need:

  • The Foundation of Grammar
  • The Structure of Dialectic
  • The Practice of Rhetoric to Live in Harmony with the Creator and the Creation

In a series of upcoming blogs, we will explore the following questions and others:

We Need the Foundation of Grammar

  • What are the human institutions commissioned with authority and responsibility?
  • What things are within their jurisdiction to govern?
  • What things are not? How should they govern?
  • Where should they govern?
  • Where is the revelation for God’s plan for jurisdictions found?

We Need the Structure of the Dialectic

  • Where are the boundaries of jurisdiction?
  • What happens when you cross boundaries?
  • How do spheres of jurisdiction interact with one another?
  • What happens when an entity abdicates its responsibilities to its jurisdiction?
  • Who are “the responsible” responsible too?
  • What happens when there is a disruption to the spheres of responsibility?

We Need the Practice of Rhetoric

Once we know the principles of jurisdiction and understand them in context with the whole, we have an obligation to move from the “knowing” to the “doing.” How should one appropriately execute and steward their responsibilities? An equally difficult question is how does one not trespass into a sphere he does not have jurisdiction over? How does one properly seek solutions in the appropriate sphere over the sphere he finds more expedient?

As I mentioned above, there will be action-minded allies (or even ourselves some days) who want to make excuses for sidestepping the consideration of jurisdiction.

            “Time is running out!”

            “The details aren’t that important!”

            “The situation is dire, and we have an obligation to ‘just do something’!”

             “If we don’t take matters into our own hands, who will?”

            “Did I mention this current crisis is the worst crisis!”

and my personal favorite;

            “It’s for the children!”  

Even my initial form of asking tedious questions instead of offering answers will irritate some. However, might I remind us:

Psalms 24:1-2

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,a
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Proverbs 25:2

“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.”

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Matthew 6:33-34

but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

It is imperative to apply the trivium to the concept of jurisdiction because we need the foundation of grammar, the structure of dialectic, and the practice of rhetoric to live in harmony with the Creator and the creation. Every human being, by merit of the breath in their lungs, has been given something to govern.

As Christians and heirs to a kingdom yet to come, we have the highest calling, purpose, and joy to seek out the will of our Father and walk it out in faith. Let us be good students and stewards of the revelation that has been entrusted to us.

Lauren is a regular contributor. You can find Lauren’s other blogs here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

Civil liberties, freedom, and responsibility

Civil Liberty & Responsibility—A Reflection On Freedom

By Lauren Gideon

            “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights.”

Benjamin Rush

Don’t Take Liberty for Granted

Civil liberty and air travel have something in common. They are both widely taken for granted.

Have you ever considered what the advent of air travel was like? No longer were people bound by the limitations that accompanied ground and water travel. Moreover, for this to be possible, there required a great deal of compounded disciplines. Consider geology and meteorology, as well as the laws of gravity and motion all have great authority in this sphere. This type of freedom didn’t spontaneously develop itself, and it isn’t independent from the laws that govern it nor the responsibility to know and apply those laws.

Civil liberty isn’t much different. In some regards, modern Americans were born into this freedom in the same way that they were born into the age of air travel. We can easily take for granted all the education and application that liberated humanity in both manifestations of “freedom,” but just as there will be consequences if our society neglects the laws of nature as it pertains to air travel, there are consequences when free people neglect the laws that govern freedom and civil society. 

Not only is this a civil and ethical issue; it is also a moral one. We know the laws written in nature come from the ultimate Law Giver. We know humans are blessed with dignity by merit of their imago Dei. To deny the laws of liberty, which require us to respect individual dignity, is to deny the authority of The Law Giver.

Consider the Creator’s Acknowledgment in our Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Don’t take your freedom for granted. Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat (“Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse”). At the end of the day, we, too, want to be good stewards and benevolent citizens to our neighbors and our posterity. How well do we each understand and take responsibility for spreading this knowledge?

           “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more”.

Luke 12:48b ESV

Read Lauren’s other articles.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship I.Q. on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

Education Vouchers vs. Free Market

Education Vouchers vs. Free Market Education

Republicans and Democrats across the country are seeking to pass ESA and education voucher legislation in their states. This has sparked a nationwide debate between education vouchers vs. free market education and whether parents and schools should accept government funding for education.

ESAs & Education Vouchers Over Free Market & Individual Freedom

Join Leigh Bortins and Teryln Gregson on Episode 58 of Faithful Freedom as they discuss how the question really comes down to whether parents and schools will choose government funds over the free market and individual freedom because, as Leigh likes to say, “The king’s coin makes the king’s man.”

After detailing the failings of government schools and the dangers of ESA and school vouchers, Leigh illustrates how there are many other ways for families to educate their children that don’t enslave them to the government’s dime.

One of these ways is through Classical Conversations®, which provides parents with the tools they need to give their children a classical Christian education that teaches them to “name like Adam, ask questions like Jesus, and persuade like Paul.”

Resources to aid your understanding of the issues of ESAs and educational vouchers.

If you are looking for more resources on classical education, consider reading Leigh’s book The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education or visit her website.

Leigh Bortins, free market advocate.

Leigh Bortins

Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Classical Conversations®

Educator, mother, grandmother, and daughter of the King, Leigh Bortins, is best known for creating lifelong learners through her educational support program, Classical Conversations®, which organizes classical academic communities for homeschooling families. Leigh founded Classical Conversations® (CC) in 1997 to know God and to make Him known through the power of community. CC supports classical Christian homeschoolers in all fifty states and thirty foreign countries, with well over 45,000 families enrolled in the program. After receiving a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, Leigh went on to write her Doctor of Ministry thesis on church-based global education for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written several books, including The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education, The Question: Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical Education, and The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education, a series which explores the classical trivium from a parent’s perspective. Leigh has also authored curriculum and guides for parents and students, including The Math Map, a complete math curriculum for classical students of all ages. She enjoys speaking at conferences, to organizations, and on radio shows and podcasts to promote free-market education, and she also enjoys encouraging parents to take ownership of their children’s education. Leigh engages thought leaders, institutions, and families to develop both minds and souls through her enthusiasm. Leigh and her husband, Rob, homeschooled their four sons in North Carolina and now enjoy watching their three grandchildren become lifelong learners alongside their parents.

Feminism: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Anti-Choice Movement - Explore the hidden agenda of feminism, exposing coercion disguised as choice.

Feminism: An Anti-Choice Movement

By Elise DeYoung

There is a myth surrounding the ideology of feminism that has been carefully crafted by its makers. This myth is that feminism is a movement that promotes a woman’s right to choose. Slogans saying women have the right to choose to kill their babies; marketing that encourages women to choose to attend college; pep talks that embolden women to choose a “boss babe lifestyle”—all of this is designed to convince women that feminism just wants to give them options.

Consequently, feminism appears to many women as a pool of fresh water appears to a dying man in the desert—a life-saving source. However, much like a pool in the desert, the idea of choice is simply a mirage designed to trick women into falling for the feminist lie. And when women drink from feminism, they end up with a mouth full of sand.

The Choice Women are Forced to Make

Feminism has never been about choice. Instead, it has always been obsessed with creating a certain type of woman—one who kills her babies, pops pills and takes birth control, accumulates debt to attend leftist colleges, works impossibly long hours in a cubicle, and, most importantly, never stays home. Don’t believe me? I’ll let Simone de Beauvoir, the darling of modern feminism, say it in her own words.

In an interview discussing her book The Second Sex, Beauvoir said,

“No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

With those words, Beauvoir exposed the feminist agenda for what it has always been—an anti-choice movement.

Feminism is not—and never has been—a movement that promotes choice. If it were, feminists would celebrate women who work and raise children alike. But that is not what we see. Rather, wives, homemakers, and mothers are mocked as old-fashioned, demoralized by discontented women, and belittled by our society at large.

The Truth About Choice

The truth is that feminism cannot give women a choice alternative to the feminist way. It must trick women into killing their children, medicating themselves, heaping up college debt, working their youth away, then living and dying alone. Because if feminism did not—if it allowed women to choose tradition—”too many women would make that [choice].” And with that choice, feminism’s power over women would be lost.

Did you catch the first blog in this series?

Elisa DeYoung headshot smiling at the camera

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations® graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. Elise continues her journey towards the Celestial City with a determined resolve to gain wisdom and understanding. Soli Deo gloria!

School Choice and Your Child's Tuition

Vouchers, School Choice, And Your Child’s Tuition

By Edward Murray

School choice has been a debated topic for many years, and while you might think it’s a good thing, there are compelling reasons to reconsider. Although it is sometimes difficult to determine causation from correlation, there is the potential-future issue of inflating tuition rates due to state funding. Consider St. Paul Catholic school in St. Petersburg, Florida, which recently explicitly stated that they would raise the price of admission with the new voucher program. 

St. Paul Catholic School at 1900 12th St. N in St. Petersburg is one of many private schools expected to take advantage of Florida's expanded voucher program this year.
St. Paul Catholic School at 1900 12th St. N in St. Petersburg is one of many private schools expected to take advantage of Florida’s expanded voucher program this year.

On the face of it, one would think that state funding to aid families’ migration to the free market would be a positive. Of course, from that statement alone, it’s obvious that anything state-funded can’t be a free market; these are diametrically opposed ideas. But just for argument’s sake, let’s consider the prevailing idea that more money given yields more opportunity for choice.

Wouldn’t this bring costs down? Likewise, shouldn’t all U.S. families be on board with vouchers, ESAs, tax credits, and the like?

For some time now, many in the home and private school world have been sounding the alarm on these so-called school-choice policies. The primary issue raised concerns parental autonomy vs. state accountability (tantamount to coerced regulation). Let’s face it, when any policy is put on the books for spending, rarely does the growth of regulation shrink or go away. It typically grows. Regulation always follows funding.

And we want it that way, right? If the government is going to spend our tax dollars, don’t we want them to track the money and assure us it is spent responsibly? Again, this regulation over parental choice is the very reason why private options exist.

State-Funded “Choice” Will Inevitably Inflate the Cost of Private Education

However, there is another principle that private educators warn of: State-funded “choice” will inevitably inflate the cost of private education.

Consider the fact that all organizations need money to sustain their work, whether for the short or the long-term. As long as decisions don’t sink the buyability of a product, given the opportunity, companies will consider how better to fund their work.

This is exactly what is happening with St. Paul Catholic in Florida. After Gov. DeSantis (R) signed into law the state’s newest voucher program, representatives of the school stated,

“…we decided that we need to take maximum advantage of this dramatically expanded funding source. So instead of paying $6,000 per child, families at the school who are St. Paul parish members will now be charged $10,000 per child. Nonmembers will be charged $12,000 per child, instead of $7,000. Discounts for multiple-student families will be eliminated. Based on those numbers, and factoring in the $4,000 tuition increase, St. Paul could bring in nearly $1 million more in the school year starting this fall. Voucher critics said the decision was predictable, and expected more private schools to follow suit…”

Of course, one might argue that this still mitigates the cost of the program (likely only to aid families who can still afford it), and this would be true… at least for the present. However, keep in mind the annual increases in private K-12 and higher education.

From my experience working in higher ed. (public and private) …not only does tuition tend to increase every year, but institutional administrators always also factor in going rates for other similar institutions competitive in the same fields. Also, keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily popular to gravitate towards the cheaper education option. Rather, many opt for the more expensive programs because cost often indicates quality (i.e., people reason, “the greater the cost, the better the education”).

Moreover, even if tuition doesn’t appear to increase on the surface, an increase in tuition paid might occur even if the sticker face remains unchanged. These increased, hidden dollars are typically reflected in other ancillary fees and like charges.

Currently, it can be a little hard to examine the U.S. statistics due to the infancy of these programs.[1] However, many who claim that there is no data for inflation should rather backtrack that notion. Barnum notes that some school choice programs (ones with unrestricted subsidies) “lead to price increases yet no change in enrollment…” He continues, “…private schools did not admit additional students, but did raise tuition — by an amount the researchers estimated to be roughly the same as the public subsidy.”[2]

Consider Ty Rushing, who recently reported how Iowa’s private schools hiked their tuitions in response to Gov. Kim Reynold’s (R) voucher-ESA plan.

“While some private schools introduced minimal tuition increases—Holy Trinity Catholic School in Fort Madison increased tuition by less than a percent for parish members and about 3% for non-parish members—others swung for the fences including one Dubuque school that increased tuition by 40%, or an Anamosa school that literally doubled tuition.[3]

Of course, I don’t blame them for wanting to better their programs, increase their functionality, and provide adequate salaries for teachers. But one can’t deny the obvious connection. Brian Mudd (who denies the connection) even argues,

“In attempting to discern what the impact of school vouchers may mean for tuition rates it’s helpful to see how much capacity there is within the exiting private schools as it’s unlikely rates would be increased unless they’re at capacity with demand outstripping supply.”[4]

Yet, this is exactly the state of hundreds of private institutions needing to made ends meet.

At the end of all this, maybe St. Paul’s decision doesn’t seal the deal for many to correllate state funds and increasing tuition. Yet, the argument is not without warrant. It is worth everyone’s consideration, especially those who grasp the current political climate, who understand the dangers of our ever-increasing debt, and who are concerned with expanding government overreach (which is embedded in all our collective COVID-19 trauma).

Tuition is going to keep increasing, because they’re going to keep raising the voucher amount.”

Holly Bullard, Chief Strategy Officer for Florida Policy Institute

Holly Bullard, Chief Strategy Officer for Florida Policy Institute, states, “Tuition is going to keep increasing, because they’re going to keep raising the voucher amount.” With many raising the alarm, we should all heed the caution and prepare for tax increases to pay for these schemes. 

For more on this issue, see Enright, Marsha Familiaro, “I Run a Private School and am Against School Vouchers. Here’s Why.” Foundation for Economic Education, May 19, 2019.

See also, “ESAs: What You Need to Know with Israel Wayne.” Refining Rhetoric, Episode 31. Feb. 1, 2023.


[1] Hungerman and Rinz (Notre Dame and NBER) cite a study by Angrist, Bettinger, Bloom, King, and Kremer (2002), who find that winning a lottery in Bogot ́a for a voucher worth $190 raised average private school tuition and fees by $52 so that every dollar of voucher funding raised tuition and fees by about 27 cents, close to what the point estimate here suggests (vouchers worth $820 per user on average increase per-student revenue by $280 at baseline, or about 34 cents per dollar spent on vouchers).

[2] Barnum, Matt, “Do vouchers actually expand school choice? Not necessarily — it depends on how they’re designed.” Chalkbeat, June 20, 2017. https://www.chalkbeat.org/2017/7/30/21107261/do-vouchers-actually-expand-school-choice-not-necessarily-it-depends-on-how-they-re-designed

[3] Rushing, Ty, “Kim Reynold’s Private School Voucher Plan Led to Tuition Hikes.” Iowa Starting Line, May 12, 2023. https://iowastartingline.com/2023/05/12/kim-reynolds-private-school-voucher-plan-led-to-tuition-hikes/

[4] Mudd, Brian, “Q&A: Will Florida’s Universal School Choice Plan Raise Tuition Rates?” News Radio WJNO, iHeart.com. May 28, 2023. https://wjno.iheart.com/featured/brian-mudd/content/2023-03-28-qa-will-floridas-universal-school-choice-plan-raise-tuition-rates/

Edward Murray profile headshot

Edward Murray currently serves as Manager of Special Projects and Policy Research for Classical Conversations® and The Homeschool Freedom Action Center. He is a native of Augusta, GA, and an alumnus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, where he earned his M.Div. He lives in Newport News, VA, with his wife and three children.

Homeschool Resources

Gluten-Free Table At A Potluck – Homeschool Resources

By Lauren Gideon

As I travel from state to state, I find two tables of homeschool resources: those that are total free-market options and those that are fully or partially taxpayer-funded. These resources could include tutoring services, classes, extracurricular activities, sports, fine arts, and so much more. What I have found remarkably interesting is that just like a gluten-free table, free-market options are either sparse or plentiful, bland or diverse.

An Illustration From My Gluten-Free Friends

Nearly every potluck I attend anymore has an accommodating table, based on the reality that a large segment of our population has chosen to abstain from gluten. We know there is a spectrum of reasons. Nearly every gluten-free consumer has some moderate to severe negative consequence they try to avoid, yet others take a proactive approach.

I also bet some are on the train because…well, they get on all trains.

Motivations aside, in my lifetime, the potluck scene has completely changed to accommodate this demographic.

Ok, nothing against my anti-glutenomist neighbors…If I still have you, follow me with the illustration.

The gluten-free consumer made a decision (forced or voluntary) that altered a major portion of their life. They have their position prior to any potluck. Once there, they are either delighted or depressed with the variety of gluten-free options. The most strict in this demographic choose only from this table. Rarely, in their disappointment, do they ever compromise and decide to browse the non-gluten-free selection. (If you have ever hung out with someone like this who has had accidental gluten contamination, you know why.)

Specifically, if there is no cake on the GF table, the consumer does not reluctantly go to the other table to get their cake; they simply go without cake. If this happens enough times, one of two things will probably happen. The friends and family of this individual will have compassion and bake a diet-friendly cake, or the consumer will get frustrated enough to bake their own cake.

How In The World Does This Intersect With Homeschooling?

As we evaluate options on the two tables, we must first step back and evaluate our commitment to the homeschool resource “diet.”  What are the pros and cons of only consuming free-market options? Are there any consequences to sampling options from the subsidized table if you don’t find what you like in the free market? Some states provide an “all or nothing” choice. In these states, no state-funded options are available for those who have chosen to homeschool.

Do you know what they DO have? They serve a feast of quality, diverse, competitive, free-market services. How do they have such options? There, you will find a rich legacy of groups and individuals who found a way to make a GF cake—by that, I mean a robust free-market buffet because the consumers in the state required that accommodation. In other circumstances, we find that families solved their own dilemmas with conviction and creativity.

In Many States The Free-Market Table Is Lacking

If you are in a state like mine, the free-market table is lacking. One reason this is true is due to the fact that the other table is easily accessible. Families discouraged by the free-market are welcome to browse the state-funded options. At first glance, this seems warm and hospitable. Consumers say things like, “I do not have a choice; the option I wanted (or a quality version of this option) was not available on the free market.”

Do you know what happens to our table when this is our outlook? Nothing. It stays sparse and bland.

What will drive change? The options are the following:

  1. Families will set their “diet” and commit to it before they ever attend the potluck
  2. Families will ONLY chose the bland options, or…
  3. Families will create better options, and more homeschool resources for the next generation

We all have a choice, and as we all know; all choices yield outcomes.

Lauren is a regular contributor. You can find Lauren’s other blogs here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

Electoral College Map

Electoral College—The Purpose & Process

By Elise DeYoung

Let’s examine the purpose and process of the Electoral College. For several decades, there has been a simmering debate over whether or not we should abolish the Electoral College. Especially since the 2000 and 2016 elections, when the Electoral College elected President Bush and then President Trump despite losing the popular vote, this debate has become increasingly mainstream.

In fact, a clear majority of Americans support replacing the Electoral College with a popular vote, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center.

However, before we can even consider abolishing our system of presidential elections, we must be sure that we understand its process and purpose.

The Process of the Electoral College

The US presidential elections have two stages: the primary and the general. You can find more information about the primary here. The general election commences once each party has chosen a nominee at the conclusion of the primary.

Similar to the primary system, the general election is composed of three rounds:

  1. The Campaign
  2. The People’s Vote
  3. The Electoral College

The Campaign

Campaigning during the general election is different than the primary since voters are now familiar with the candidates. However, this is still an essential aspect of the process since it’s the candidates’ final chance to persuade the public.

So, once more, they perform interviews, participate in political debates, and present speeches to maintain the support of their political base and persuade others of their position to win states.

The People’s Vote

As established in the Constitution, the people’s vote officially takes place on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November.

The standard voting method, in general, is very similar to the primary voting system. Americans gather at the ballot boxes to cast their vote individually. In addition, the concepts of “early voting” and “mail-in ballots” have been introduced in recent decades. No matter how you vote, election officials count the votes at the end of the Tuesday following the first Monday of November.

If you want to learn more about the voting laws in your state, read an article by USA Facts, How Do Voting Laws Differ by State? or refer to your state constitution.

However, the people’s vote does not determine the result of the general election. This is because American elections are not conducted by a popular voting system. Rather, the founders designed a system called the Electoral College.

The Electoral College

Briefly put, the Electoral College comprises electors from all fifty states that convene every election year to cast their votes, directly electing the President.

Who are these electors?

The Constitution provides only two stipulations when it comes to the electors. Article II, Section One, Clause Two states that an elector may not hold another office of Trust in the U.S. government. Furthermore, Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says that no individual who has engaged in an insurrection may hold any office in the U.S. government, including the position of elector. Any further rules that apply to who can be an elector and how they are elected are left up to the states to decide.

How are the electors chosen?

The parties in the general election choose potential party-approved electors. Then, the people elect which electors they would like to represent them.

How many electors are in each state?

The number of electors in a state equals the number of Senators and Representatives in that state.

For example, Iowa has seven electors, while Wisconsin has ten, and Florida has twenty-seven. The Library of Congress has a country map showing the number of electors per state.

How many electoral votes are needed to win?

The winning candidate must receive at least 270 electoral votes, a clear majority. Suppose there is a tie, or the majority is too slim, which happened in the case of Thomas Jefferson versus Aaron Burr in 1801. In that case, Congress resolves the vote.

When does the Electoral College assemble to vote for the President?

They meet in mid-December after the popular vote has taken place. So, while we often celebrate or mourn the results of the people’s vote, the election is still not over for another month.

The answer is the same as the delegates in the primary. Depending on the party and state they represent, some must align their vote with the results of the popular vote in their state. Others can vote for whomever they see fit.

The Process & Purpose of the Electoral College

This process is more complex than most election systems in other countries. Why did the Founders establish this system with so many steps when they could have established a popular vote?

There are two main reasons why the founders were wise to create the complex system of the Electoral College.

First, they rightly feared the tyranny of the majority. Alexander Hamilton said it well when he wrote, “The people is a great beast.” They knew that the people had to be controlled by a system that was out of their control.

The people is a great beast.” —Alexander Hamilton

Second, the founders also knew that the federal government could not control the system that controlled the mob of the majority. An election system that was in the hands of the federal government could, and probably would, be manipulated by those in charge. They would secure power for themselves by silencing the people’s voices and disqualifying the opposition.

This is why the Constitution includes so many checks and balances. It distributes power among all fifty states rather than centralizing it in the office of the President alone, and why the Founders avoided settling for overly simple systems.

Electoral College—Still Relevant Today

The Electoral College is a firm institution that holds both the tyranny of the majority and the power of the government at bay. It does not allow for either of these groups to ultimately corrupt elections because neither group has the final say.

It is no surprise that those with political power do not like the system, it stops them from securing ultimate victory for their party. Neither is it surprising that the majority dislike the system, it doesn’t bow its knee to them. All in all, I would say that the Electoral College is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

And as the cliché saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Elisa DeYoung explains the purpose and process of the Electoral College.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

Chernobyl meltdown

Meltdown: A Reflection

By Paul Bright

The Worst Meltdown in History

Recently, I had the privilege of watching the dramatic miniseries Chernobyl, an interpretation of the events surrounding the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. The series is a horrifying presentation of the arrogance of man, not in the pursuit of science, but in the self-deception of his own pride at pushing the limits of known quantifiers while placing a false faith in a failsafe that can be readily pushed at any moment if something goes wrong.

The Critical Moment of Explosion and Meltdown

As the personal ambition of men pushed a dangerous test, administered by unqualified persons with incoherent instructions, the moment began when the reactor surged out of control. The nuclear engineers, thinking that the boron control rods could instantly be lowered into the out-of-control mix of xenon gas, radioactive uranium, and superheated water, pushed the failsafe button, AZ-5. All the control rods, which should have instantly stopped the nuclear reaction, caused it to explode. The reason? The boron rods themselves, were defectively made. The result was an explosion of the nuclear core, the ejection of nuclear material and radiation, and death and destruction, which no words in a simple paragraph could describe. Obviously, this article will use “meltdown” metaphorically, not literally.

The Arrogance of Unbounded Liberty

All motives and decisions of life individually and together are driven, it seems, by what is uncritically defined as a yearning for liberty. Assuming that the yearning itself is always good, the human spirit pushes ever closer to the edge of every limiting agent to find its ultimate expression of freedom.

“It is unbounded, uncontrolled, and uncontained. It is radioactive libertinism.”

It is unbounded, uncontrolled, and uncontained. It is radioactive libertinism. Whether this occurs in an individual’s mind, the family unit, in church, or in government and culture, the pursuit of liberty for liberty’s sake is justified, celebrated, and pursued. Slogans abound as eternal testaments to liberty, in Declarations of Independence, in state mottos, on statues, in art, and by echo chamber populists. While simultaneously praising liberty, these depictions are flooded with the vilification of authority. And thus, over time, in the conscience of man, in the family, in the church, and in the government and culture, the building up of heat and friction, hatred, anger, vainglory, and self-centeredness start emitting as radioactive fuel, damaging rather than energizing. The control rods of authority are unnecessary, unneeded, unwanted, and counter the nature of the progress of liberty.

The Deception of Instantaneous Authority

And once the danger of the radioactive liberty is seen, the voice of men start calling for instantaneous solutions to halt the ever-growing, out-of-control trend. Demagogues and autocrats rush down into the mix. They present themselves as the only ones who can stop the destruction, and capitalize on every misfortune and evil deed to expand even more influence and power for themselves. Churches become dominated and ruled, not by those who understand the words of Christ that the greatest of these are the least of all and a slave, but the greatest of these are those who are like the gentiles, ruling and reigning and exalting themselves over others. Because God needs His strong leaders on earth, not an absent king in heaven. Families are no longer examples of sacrifice and voluntary submission for the nurture, admonition, and edification of all, but an extinguishing experience of excision from all relationships that exasperates everyone.

“Families are no longer examples of sacrifice and voluntary submission for the nurture, admonition, and edification of all, but an extinguishing experience of excision from all relationships that exasperates everyone.”

Man replaces general welfare for others with the false righteousness of self-love, self-care, and self-rest under the auspices of self-improvement while at the same time being overly critical about other’s selfishness and never understanding why self-inwardness never satisfies. 

The Explosion

But, just like Chernobyl, the authorities operating as independent instantaneous solutions are defective themselves. When Israel wanted a king like all the other nations after centuries of direct salvation by God through judges against the “liberty of man” for idolatry, He warned them how the king would abuse his authority and consolidate riches, power, possessions, and glory for himself at their expense. Everything God said came to pass exactly and repeatedly. The results were a divided kingdom, war, generational animosity, violence, and the final covenantal curse of the discipline of losing their nation. This explosive ejection and meltdown are the inevitable ends for the present course of our country, churches, families, and ourselves. 

The radioactive liberty in the heart of man is not squelched, but instead, the authoritarianism accelerates the whole toxic and heated and destructive mix of rebellion. The explosion, ejection, and meltdown happen once the unconstrained pursuit of liberty is pushed to its very edge as a human right. At the same time, the desire for immediate, instantaneous authority slams down into the whole reactor of men’s hearts. Boom!

“The radioactive liberty in the heart of man is not squelched, but instead, the authoritarianism accelerates the whole toxic and heated and destructive mix of rebellion. The explosion, ejection, and meltdown happen once the unconstrained pursuit of liberty is pushed to its very edge as a human right.”

How to Prevent a Meltdown

What can stop the explosion, ejection, and meltdown of all good things that one receives from the image of God in oneself, in families, in churches, and in government? The answer seems easy, but requires an impossible work that one cannot achieve for oneself.

The first answer is not to pursue liberty as the most basic of all human rights. The great lie from the enemy of all is to pursue liberty because it is good and beautiful and true, and the only One who is worthy of all authority is none of those things and should never be trusted, loved, believed, and obeyed. Changing that in the heart of man is not a human work. It cannot be achieved by a desire for self-improvement. It is not natural to humans. To liberate oneself and enslave others is human; to serve others and enslave oneself is divine. Therefore, repent from the idea that the purpose of man is liberty uncontained.

The second answer is to understand that liberty and authority are interrelational and interdependent. The cultural tenet that liberty and authority are mutually exclusive and should only be used as such is a faith in a failsafe that does not exist. Liberty drives invention, imagination, and service towards a progress of edification and unity. Authority regulates the tendency of liberty to go beyond the beneficial into self-determinationism. Liberty challenges the tendency of authority to go beyond the protection of all to willful edicts and aggrandizement. This is what checks and balances should mean.

Finally, the third answer is that the solution itself might be slow. Patience in re-establishing the balance between liberty and authority might take time and effort. Instruction in the nature of liberty and authority in all spheres of the image of God (conscience, family, church, and nation) should be intimately connected with a biblical anthropology and a robust understanding of hamartiology.

The divine work of balance between liberty and authority will happen in one heart, one family, one church, and then one nation.

Paul Bright profile headshot

Paul Bright currently works in the field of Biotechnology. He is a native of Evansville, IN, and an alumnus of Purdue University and The Master’s Seminary. Paul was a Systematic Theology and Ancient Hebrew professor in Samara, Russia. He and his wife, Jennifer, homeschooled their daughter all the way through high school and currently reside in Covington, Louisiana. You can read Paul’s other contributions here.

Nuclear Family

The Necessity of the Nuclear Family

By Elise DeYoung

Many say we are living in an age of progression. However, our modern age could accurately be titled “The Age of Regression.” Morally, socially, economically, globally, educationally—we have allowed the poison of individualism and secularism to sweep across our nation, removing tradition in its wake.

Possibly the most invaluable tradition that the Left has banished from its self-proclaimed “progressive utopia” is the family—specifically, the nuclear family. This has resulted in extreme social consequences because the family is the fundamental building block of society.

How did we get here?

George Murdock

George Murdock reached this exact conclusion in his book, Social Structures, published in 1949. His work studied hundreds of diverse civilizations across time in order to understand the “science of human behavior.” Even today, it is considered one of the most comprehensive works on the subject.

The first chapter deals specifically with the nuclear family, which he defines as “a married man and woman with their offspring.” In it, Murdock observes that “the nuclear family is a universal human social grouping… it exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every known society.” He concluded that after examining over 250 cultures, no other social structure could replace the nuclear family on a fundamental level. 

How does Murdock measure the success and strength of this family structure? He evaluates the four vital functions of the nuclear family: the sexual, economic, reproductive, and educational functions.

The Sexual Function

The sexual function, fulfilled through the sexual union (marriage) of spouses, aligns sexual desire with morality and decreases cultural perversion.

Regrettably, we now live in a deleterious society that shames all sexual restraint and celebrates sexual promiscuity. Murdock warned against forsaking the sexual function, saying, “Sex cannot safely be left without restraints.”

Clearly, we are suffering from the consequences of disregarding this warning. Whether it be the entertainment industry, sex education for minors, pornography and prostitution, immodesty, reproductive control, LGBTQ+, or the internet, sex is being promoted without restraint and consequences, completely divorced from marriage.

What were the results?

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court enshrined the contradiction “gay marriage” into law with Obergefell vs Hodges.[1]
  • 60–71% of children have sex before graduating high school.[2]
  • 15.2% of young adults aged 18 to 24 identify as LGBTQ, a stark contrast to older generations who rank below 5%.[3]
  • In 2017, OnlyFans had 100,000 users, and in 2021, the number skyrocketed to 187.9 million users.[4]
  • 45% of American adults are married, down from 50% in 2015.[5]

This is an extreme problem, not only for the poor people who have fallen prey to these statistics but also for the overall health and sustainability of our society. We have ostracized sexual restraint through marriage, and instead, invited both sexual perversion and promiscuity to rule our minds, lives, souls, and civilization.

The Economic Function

The economic function establishes the division of labor and ensures that each family member is fiscally cared for. Murdock describes the division of labor as follows: the husband takes care of the wife, the wife takes care of the husband, and together, they take care of their children until they are old enough to take care of the parents. This charitable model creates a “gridlock of caretaking” where each member’s needs are accounted for.

This gridlock does not ensure that the nuclear family will be wealthy. However, the statistics prove that it is more likely for a nuclear family to be better off fiscally compared to single-parent homes. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) found, “Children in single-parent families are more likely to live in poverty.” In 2021, 9.5% of children living with two parents lived below the poverty level, compared to 31.7% of children living with a single parent.

However, if American leaders, laws, and voters are genuinely interested in solving poverty or helping young people reach success, they must return to promoting and protecting the nuclear family.

Let me clarify that these general findings are not meant to discourage single mothers or fathers in America. However, if American leaders, laws, and voters are genuinely interested in solving poverty or helping young people reach success, they must return to promoting and protecting the nuclear family.

Melissa Kearney said it well in Time Magazine, “The economic data is clear: to make our nation’s economy stronger for all men, women and children, marriage and family structure must be acknowledged as a driving force of economic well-being. And we must promote positive, shame-free ways of changing our social and economic views on marriage to make improvements that help the nation now and, in the decades, ahead.”[6]

The Reproductive Function

The reproductive function replenishes society by procreation.

It is no secret that for a society to survive, let alone flourish, the members of that society must make more babies. This is arguably the most important aspect of the nuclear family, because it’s the only family structure that can naturally result in the reproduction of children. But, what happens when we abandon this model?

Having children is not only a matter of their own flourishing or society’s; this is about survival.

The immediate effect is birth rates plummet. The birth rate in America has dramatically decreased from 14.3 births per 1,000 people in 2007 to 11.1 in 2021.[7] This is partially due to the decreasing pregnancy rates which, in 2017, reached an all-time low among women aged 24 and younger. This decline has been consistent since the 1980s.[8] Furthermore, since the 1970’s, millions of babies have been murdered in the womb through abortion. In 2021 alone, 626,000 unborn babies were killed.[9]

These two factors result in a rapidly declining birth rate. These numbers are clearly not sustainable for any civilization. Once again, the solution is clear. We must stop killing babies, and encourage young people to get married and have a lot of children. This is not only a matter of their own flourishing or society’s; this is about survival.

The Educational Function

The educational function, fulfilled when parents teach children values and ideals, will result in their flourishing.

We’ve established that the nuclear family provides children with the best fiscal position in society. Not only this, but children within the traditional family structure statistically perform better educationally.

“A new study finds that that by the age of 24, individuals who live in single-parent families as teens received fewer years of schooling and are less likely to attain a bachelor’s degree than those from two-parent families.”[10]

This fact is undeniable in our current age. However, while graduating high school is invaluable in society, it is not the main purpose of the educational function of the family. This is because graduating with a piece of paper does not equate to a good and true view of the world.

This is clear in our current age with the poison of progressive ideology seeping into our schools and corrupting the minds of our youth. It not only leaves destructive effects on the children, but it also threatens to derail our society at large.

Because of its ties to tradition and reality, the nuclear family is the family model best equipped to teach children ideas that will help them flourish in society. The values of marriage, love, charity, hard work, and child-rearing—among many others—are all fundamental to the four functions of the nuclear family.

The Necessity of the Nuclear Family

“In the nuclear family or its constituent relationships, we thus see assembled four functions fundamental to human social life—the sexual, the economic, the reproductive, and the educational. Without provision for the first and third, society would become extinct; for the second, life itself would cease; for the fourth, culture would come to an end. The immense social utility of the nuclear family and the basic reason for its universality thus begin to emerge in strong relief.”

The nuclear family is the fundamental building block of society. It is not only essential for our society’s survival, but is also the best solution to the problems of sexual promiscuity, economic collapse, declining birth rates, and other harmful ideas permeating our current climate.

Murdock said, “No society, in short, has succeeded in finding an adequate substitute for the nuclear family.” I suggest that we not even try.

Read more of Elise’s blogs.

Elisa DeYoung headshot smiling at the camera

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations® graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] “Obergefell v. Hodges,” Oyez. www.oyez.org/cases/2014/14-556. Accessed March 21, 2024.

[2] Ethier K. A., Kann L., McManus T. “Sexual Intercourse Among High School Students—29 States and United States Overall, 2005–2015,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm665152a1.htm

[3] Flores, A. R., Conron, K. J. “Adult LGBTQ Population in the United States,” The Williams Institute. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/adult-lgbt-pop-us/

[4] Daniel, C. “OnlyFans Users and Revenue Statistics (2024),” Sign House. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.usesignhouse.com/blog/onlyfans-users

[5] Han, Z. “Fewer than 50% of U.S. Adults are now married. It’s time to give more legal and financial breaks to single people, a law professor says,” Market Watch. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fewer-than-50-of-u-s-adults-are-now-married-its-time-to-give-more-legal-and-financial-breaks-to-single-people-law-professor-says-11664992681#

[6] Kearney, M. “The U.S. Economy Needs More Two Parent Families,” Time Magazine. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://time.com/6317692/u-s-economy-two-parent-families/

[7] Fitzpatrick, A., Beheraj, K. “The birth rate ticked up in 2022. Can the reversal last?” Axios. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.axios.com/2023/10/04/birth-rate-fertility-rate-decline-data-statistics-graph-2022

[8] Maddow-Zimet, I., Kost, K. “Pregnancies, Births and Abortions in the United States,1973–2017: National and State Trends by Age,” Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.guttmacher.org/report/pregnancies-births-abortions-in-united-states-1973-2017

[9] (n.d.). “Number of legal abortions reported in the U.S. From 1973 to 2021,” Statistica. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/185274/number-of-legal-abortions-in-the-us-since-2000/

[10]Harrison, R. “Teens From Single-Parent Families Leave School Earlier,” NYU. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2015/february/teens-from-single-parent-families-leave-school-earlier.html

School Choice has Come to Louisiana

School Choice Has Come To Louisiana

By Jennifer Bright

Each year, more and more states are embracing school choice options through education savings accounts (ESAs) and school voucher legislation. Alabama was the first state to pass a universal school choice bill in 2024! Louisiana will not be far behind as it is being debated this week in the Louisiana Senate.

As private homeschoolers in Louisiana, why should we be concerned about ESAs or school voucher legislation? Statistically, Louisiana has always been near or at the bottom in education as compared to the other fifty states. For example, in 2023, Louisiana ranked 46th. The question that is often asked is, why wouldn’t we support these school choice options? Wouldn’t ESAs help lift Louisiana students from the bottom?

School Choice

‘School choice’ is often referred to as educational choice, educational options, parent choice, etc., in which taxpayer-funded monies are channeled through school vouchers, educational savings accounts, educational empowerment scholarships, tax credits, etc., (which sound and look enticing) for parents to choose the educational option that they believe is best for their child(ren). Louisiana’s version, the Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) scholarship program, is being decided this week at the capital.

Government Monies—Government Regulation

As with all government monies, there will be regulations, rules, accountability, and control. Currently, 13% of Louisiana school districts receive their funding from the Federal Government, and the rest is divided between the state’s budget and our local sales and property taxes.

How will this new legislation affect private homeschoolers in Louisiana? From HB 745, section 4037.5. (Schools and service providers; eligibility; participation), private homeschoolers who register either as a home study program or a nonpublic school not seeking state approval are not eligible to participate or concurrently enroll in the LA GATOR scholarship program. The LA GATOR scholarship program sets up a new class of government-funded students, just like Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. So currently, private homeschoolers will not be affected.

            “When parents take these funds, they sign a statement that they are no longer homeschooling, even if they may be educating at home. As a result, accepting ESA funds places the student in a new category as an ESA student. Because students are no longer privately funded homeschool students, but instead publicly funded ESA students, government regulation inevitably follows and impacts the education these students receive.”[1]

It may not affect private homeschoolers today, it could in the future. The current bill requires all students who participate in the LA GATOR scholarship program to comply with all program requirements (including yearly testing). But what about next year or the year after, how will the government change or modify the program requirements?

Other States’ ESA Programs and Problems

Let’s look at a couple of other states that have drunk from the well of ESAs, like  Arizona and West Virginia. Budgets have blown up! There is an administrative nightmare and a lack of accountability. Politicians and educational leaders are looking for solutions to fix the failed experiment.

Resist the Temptation

As Leigh Bortins shares in this article,

            Parents are presented with “choices” that aren’t really choices at all.” And “Receiving one-time government money with no strings attached makes the second, third, and fourth times easier with strings attached. With the shekels come the shackles.” So, “we must…resist the temptation posed by government funding.”

Educate Yourself

Think through these questions from Classical Conversations® Educational Freedom website, as you consider who do you want to control your homeschool—you or the government?

  • Do you want the state involved in your homeschooling on any level?
  • Is accepting any financial assistance from the state a slippery slope?
  • Where does the money come from?
  • Would it be more beneficial for homeschoolers to keep their education tax money rather than fund the Department of Education with that money?
  • In your state, are you still classified and protected as a homeschooler if you receive government funding?
  • Is making your own curriculum decisions important to you, or would you prefer the Department of Education to assume oversight in those decisions?
  • What historical examples can you think of where the government was involved in decisions like this? What were the initial intentions? Were the outcomes positive or negative, and how accurately did they reflect those initial intentions?

In Louisiana, there are currently over 45,000 children being home educated. If we were our own school district, we would be the second largest in the state! Just remember, the state government (and federal) will do whatever it can to bring us under its control, and ESAs are just one of their avenues. We need to stand firm against any governmental encroachment on our freedoms to direct our children’s education. We, as parents, know what is best for our children.

The Homeschool Freedom Action Center website is here to help you stay informed and to help families educate themselves on what true educational freedom is!

Jennifer Bright profile headshot

Jennifer Bright is the Communication Manager for Research and Quality Assurance for Classical Conversations. Jennifer’s passions are classical Christian education and discipling the next generation to live for Christ. She supports homeschool families by tutoring their students with the classical tools of learning. Jennifer and her husband began their homeschool journey almost 20 years ago in Russia while serving as missionaries, and currently, they reside in Covington, Louisiana.


[1] “Educational Savings Account.” Accessed 4/15/2024. https://classicalconversations.widen.net/s/swkgl26rw7?__hstc=87463879.1d548548b58a4ef2d8bb0d564a005567.1638826400930.1670868123213.1670943201710.270&__hssc=&__hsfp=&hsCtaTracking=d9ec90d4-0a2d-4d25-bcbb-c8c3b64bb33d%7Cbc6a2c98-eeed-4bdf-adba-2ef77c9a312a