Our politicians today don’t talk about ideas and ideals the way some pols did in days gone by.
I’m not saying—no way!—that politics and politicians were somehow better in the mythical “good old days.” The sham and the shenanigans and the shame have always been there.
Every so often, at least, lip service is given to the notion of doing the right thing for the right reasons.
How about this:
“Public good is not a term opposed to the good of individuals. On the contrary, it is the good of every individual collected. It is the good of all, because it is the good of every one.”
I think that’s a decent approximation of the common sense meaning of “the common good.”
p.s. The quote is from Thomas Paine, 1778. He’s the guy who wrote the blockbuster Revolutionary War pamphlet, Common Sense.
Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (London: Oxford University Press, 1977), 89.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.