What is the Common Good good for?


We were lucky enough to be in Roswell, New Mexico during the time that the NMMI Baccalaureate-Celebration of Diversity was held at the venerable, and I noticed, remodeled Pearson Auditorium. Our travels lead us all over the place and through the years, we have been blessed with observing unique traditions and events in most of the 50 states.

We had been to Pearson around 10 years ago enduring the whooshing sounds the seats made in concert when folks were seating themselves. Kudos to the school superintendent who made it a priority to fix this irritating fault. Today’s brief and lightly attended event enjoyed a speaker from Houston, TX. The Most Reverend Bishop Oscar Cantu, a man of the cloth, spoke of the common good and what the New Mexico Military Institute cadets could do to advance it.

I wanted to ask the priest if he had ever read Ayn Rand. In her well known tome titled The Virtue of Selfishness, she lashed out at vague phrases like the common good and general welfare.

An educated man like Cantu has probably logically considered the absurdity and impossibility of achieving the common good. A simple example is the age old class struggle between the rich and the poor. It does not take much imagination to observe that what is good for rich people is is frequently bad for poor people.

When it gets down to the struggle for clean water, food, and a safe place to live, the wealthy will always prevail over the poor(I would ask Cantu to reveal how phrases like the common good make matters better in this case and countless others where people are competing for money or resources). Now, one can not fault Reverend Cantu for imploring young people to strive for the common good. However striving for something as abstract as the common good is fraught with practical difficulties.

Finally, ask the occupy Wall Street protesters if they believe the common good is a real thing or just an abstract notion. Zuccotti Park happened for a reason which is mainly the growing divide between the haves and have nots.

I do hope that readers who stumble across this understand how there is no way to reconcile the vantage point of the 99% with the 1% with whatever is actually meant by the undefined phrase the common good.


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