Friday, May 31, 2019
This article by Michael Matheson Miller at Law & Liberty is a great introduction to the Christian tradition and how it intersects with politics. As the author notes, Christianity is not a political program yet it gives us a certain way of thinking about the state and the role of politics.
The summation of the Common Good is especially worth reading, as "Common Good" is becoming more difficult to define with more people using the phrase, often from a secular point of view:
The Common Good
The third major element of a Christian vision of government is the commitment to the common good. The common good consists of the political and the social conditions that enable individuals, families, and communities to “reach their fulfillment.”
It is important to note that the common good does not equal the good of the state. Individuals are not simply cogs in the machine of the state. Further, the community cannot be reduced to the political community. This is a common error. Nor does common good equal the greatest good for the greatest number. It is not simply more efficiency or more pleasure. It is rooted in a rich concept of the good life, always keeping in mind the eternal destiny of the person.
The state plays an important role in promoting the common good but cannot do everything. Its main role is in helping to create the conditions where people can flourish and to assist when necessary. As Thomas Aquinas explains, “It is contrary to the proper character of the state to impede people from acting according to their responsibilities—except in emergencies.”