President Bill Clinton and a panel of experts convened October 5 at Georgetown University to discuss the “common good,” a progressive vision for America and the world championed by the Center for American Progress and other allies.
The common good, as both a philosophical ideal and approach to governing, has a rich history in the civic strands of American thought and in the values and principles of the U.S. Constitution. It is also a powerful theme in the social teachings of many major faith traditions. In both the civic and faith realms, a commitment to the common good means pursuing policies and community actions that benefit all individuals and balance self-interest with the needs of the entire society. It recognizes that government -- while not the only tool -- is essential for helping people pursue their dreams, and that the business, labor, faith and NGO communities play a critical role as well.
The common good approach to politics represents a clear break with the radical individualism, corruption and greed that define contemporary American life. It marks the end of a politics that leaves people to rise and fall on their own.