The Search for the Common Good in the Constitution

In The Imaginative Conservative, JMC fellow Thaddeus Kozinski writes about the debate over how the American political community attains the common good.  


Did the Constitution Kill the Common Good?

By Thaddeus Kozinski
From The Imaginative Conservative


Michael Hannon and Robert George are both orthodox Catholic thinkers who subscribe to a personalist anthropology and Aristotelian/Thomistic social philosophy, one that interprets the character of the modern, autonomous individual as an evil fiction, one that recognizes the existence and priority of intrinsic, common goods, and one that posits the indispensability of social communities ordered by and to such common goods and the virtues for human flourishing. However, there is a substantial disagreement between them. In the article linked at the end of this essay, Prof. George claims that politics, or the state, political activity, etc., is essentially instrumental, that is, not a good in itself, but only good insofar as it enables the flourishing of a multitude of intrinsically good, sub-political communities, such as families and churches, made up of persons that discover and possess their good only by participation in such communities. Mr. Hannon, on the other hand, claims that politics, or the state, political activity, etc., is essentially an intrinsic good, and as such, even a higher good than the communities it is meant to serve, due to its being more common. Indeed, the political is the architectonic good (subordinate only to the ultra-architectonic, supernatural common good that subsists in the Church, that is, the City of God), since it alone is responsible for and capable of coordinating the activity of the communities within it, with an eye to the greatest common good of all, God Himself, and human beatitude in friendship with Him for eternity.

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Thaddeus KozinskiThaddeus Kozinski is the Academic Dean and Associate Professor of philosophy and humanities at Wyoming Catholic College. He is the author of The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Cannot Solve It and Liberalism vs. the Logos, forthcoming from Angelico Press. His scholarly interests include mystical theology, the political culture of liberal democracies, and political theology. He received his Masters in the Liberal Arts from St. Johns College and his PhD in Thomistic Philosophy from Catholic University.

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