Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

The Common Good
Defined and Referenced
 The Common Good Encyclopedia Britannica Catholic Compendium (Par 164+)
The Common Good Project Wikipedia Catholic Catechism



Aristotle, Politics, Bk 3 - The conclusion is evident: that governments which have a regard to the common interest [i.e. common good, general welfare] are constituted in accordance with strict principles of justice [e.g. Rule of Law, Natural Law], and are therefore true forms; but those which regard only the interest of the rulers [e.g. pandering for votes] are all defective and perverted forms, for they are despotic, whereas a state is a community of freemen.

Refeudalization, the End of Democracy - Joel Kotkin, Jan 2022

The Common Good | Compassionate San Antonio

Constitution of the United States

The Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

High Resolution Image of Constitution

Text of the Constitution

Annotated Text of the Constitution

Declaration of Independence

What is Originalism and How Does it Shape the Supreme Court?
The National Interest, October 28, 2020

Beyond Originalism
 Adrian Vermeule, March 2020

Common Good Originalism - The Constitution’s Common-Good-Centric Preamble
The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy - Josh Hammer, June 2021

The Aggregate and Implied Powers of the United States
American University Law Review - Robert J. Reinstein, 2019

Restoring the General to the General Welfare Clause
 John C. Eastman, Mar 27, 2014

“Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” - John Adams

Quote from Catholic Compendium, par 164

Plato, The Republic, Bk 4:

"... our aim in founding the State was not the disproportionate happiness of any one class, but the greatest happiness of the whole; we thought that in a State which is ordered with a view to the good of the whole we should be most likely to find Justice, and in the ill-ordered State injustice: and, having found them, we might then decide which of the two is the happier."

Aristotle Quotes

Aristotle: “To secure the good of one person only is better than nothing; but to secure the good of a nation or a state is a nobler and more divine achievement. ” (Nicomachaean Ethics, 1094b)

James Madison on The Common Good and Institutional Corruption:
The Federalist Papers, Essay No. 10

"The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic, are first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.  The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people."

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man ... human passions have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”

More Madison Quotes

The Flavours of the Common Good. A Conversation with Dr. J Budziszewski
Professor, University of Texas, Austin
The Common Good Project
Apr 1, 2021

Video, 1:13:00

Between Man and Man: Friendship, Law, and the Common Good

Article, J Budziszewski , May 15, 2021

Catholic Social Teaching Quotes:

It is out of love for one's own good and for that of others that people come together in stable groups with the purpose of attaining a common good.  (Par 150)

The common good indicates “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily. (Par 164)

The responsibility for attaining the common good, besides falling to individual persons, belongs also to the State, since the common good is the reason that the political authority exists. (Par 168)

God is the ultimate end of his creatures and for no reason may the common good be deprived of its transcendent dimension, which moves beyond the historical dimension while at the same time fulfilling it.  (Par 170)

Common Good Conservatism In Action
by Terry Schilling, 2 . 17 . 20

Over the past year, conservatism has changed. At least, the way conservative intellectuals and some politicians talk has changed. Many now speak of orienting our society toward the common good, and about using government power to pursue that good. But has anything really changed within the Republican party? Politics and policy often run a course independent of philosophical debate. Are policymakers ready to go on offense and commit to a different strategy for combating transgender ideology and the gay agenda? The answer seems to be yes ...

And as usual, those at the grassroots level are leading the way. The conservative establishment in Washington would be wise to follow suit—because if conservatism is to survive as a movement, embracing the “common good” is the only path forward.

Terry Schilling Family Values Podcast, 3/22/21

American Principles Project

Thomas Aquinas

What Is Politics About Anyway? Thomas Aquinas on the Common Good
Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., May 3, 2020
YouTube Video, Lecture length 49:00

Aquinas on the Common Good
Philosophy Explained, 8/2018
YouTube Video,

Millennials & The Parallel Polis
The American Conservative, Feb 27, 2018
This article is about reestablishing The Common Good, and wresting control of society from the corrupting technology oligarchy.

"The Parallel Polis is not about building a gated community for Christians but rather about establishing (or re-establishing) common practices and common institutions that can reverse the isolation and fragmentation of contemporary society."

Vaclav Benda, Man Of Conscience
The American Conservative, Mar 6, 2018

Cancel Culture is AWAKENING a Conservative Parallel Society!!!
 YouTube, Dr. Steve Turley, Feb 19, 2021


Wikipedia Subsidiarity Article
"Subsidiarity is a principle of social organization that holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate or local level that is consistent with their resolution."

Subsidiarity, Participation, and the Common Good, 2021
"The principle of subsidiarity requires that organizations of a higher order (such as the State) assume a posture of support in relation to lower/smaller organizations."

What is Subsidiarity?
A well-ordered society includes institutions both large and small working together for the public good., Sept 17, 2018

Alexis de Tocqueville, Subsidiarity, and Clericalism
Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Oct 29, 2018
"According to the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, subsidiarity is one of the four “pillars” of the Catholic Church’s official social doctrine, along with human dignity, the common good, and solidarity."

The Principle of Subsidiarity and the “Welfare State”
Homiletic and Pastoral Review,, 2009
"The term 'subsidiarity,' derived from the Latin subsidium, means 'support, help or assistance.' In effect, subsidium refers to a second line of defense, a back-up that would come as aid."

The Principle of Subsidiarity
The Acton Institute, July 20, 2010
"In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State."


Christianity and the Common Good
Harvard Law School Conference
October 19 & 20, 2018

From the Common Good to Public Order (and Back)
Prof. Gladden Pappin (University of Dallas)

Faith, Natural Law And The Common Good
Prof. J. Budziszewski (University of Texas, Austin)

Defending the Common Good: Mercy and Punishment, from Stoicism to Christianity
Prof. Sarah Byers (Boston College)

Shakespeare, the Book of Sir Thomas More, and the Common Good
Prof. Gerard Wegemer (University of Dallas)

Catholics and the Political Common Good Today
"America, Liberalism, and Catholicism" JPII Conference
University of Dallas, American Public Philosophy Institute, Liberal Learning for Life
Daniel Burns (University of Dallas) and Chad Pecknold (Catholic University of America)

April 16th, 2021
90 min video

What is the Common Good? A Conversation with Adrian Vermeule
University of Oxford, School of Law, The Aquinas Institute and The Common Good Project
Feb 24, 2021
60 min video


Toward a Common Good Approach to Constitutionalism. A Conversation with Dr. Conor Casey
The Common Good Project, Mar 17, 2021
61 min video


The promise & peril of the political common good
by Ryan T. Anderson
Jan 2022
Rebuttal to The fallacies of the common good by Kim R. Holmes

Common Good Does Not Equal Greater Good

The Common Good
is not the same as the hedonistic,  utilitarian "Greater Good."  From The Century Dictionary: Utilitarianism - The doctrine that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the sole aim of all public action, together with the hedonistic theory of ethics, upon which this doctrine rests.  From Wiktionary: Utilitarianism - The theory that action should be directed toward achieving the "greatest happiness for the greatest number of people" (hedonistic universalism), or one of various related theories.  Legalized abortion can be justified using Utilitarianism.  "Plato despised democracy, and he expected leaders to weave noble lies for the greater good"  (

Full article available for free on JSTOR for registered users.  A well regarded article from 1980 ...

The Baby and the Bathwater
Ryan T. Anderson & Robert P. George
National Affairs, Fall 2019

"Debates about political ideals and institutions are now too often framed as presenting two extreme and unappealing options. On the one hand is a radical commitment to foundational, philosophical liberalism of a Lockean-Rawlsian sort, with all that that presupposes and entails for philosophical anthropology, official "neutrality" about the good, the sidelining of religion, and the exclusion of religious arguments from public debate. On the other hand is illiberalism, where liberty itself is devalued even as an instrumental good or a condition for the realization of human goods by free choice and action. According to this view, civil liberties such as freedoms of speech and religion ought to be extensively pared back on the ground that "error has no rights," and political authority should be subordinated in a more or less comprehensive way to spiritual authority. "

Democracy, “The Problem of Minorities,” and the Theology of the Common Good

"Although there are various interpretations of the meaning of the common good, Catholic social teaching highlights the following principles: rejection of the extremes of individualism and collectivism (or liberal democracy and social democracy); an emphasis on freedom, equality, and the participation of persons in society as well as the incorporation of human rights; a challenge to the utilitarian approach of a majoritarian view; a vision for a politics of consensus to reach a maximum agreement toward the advantage of all, such as the case of the rule of law; and a requirement that the parties pursue commonality and relationship."