Liberalism, the common good, and virtues
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AuthorPatrick Foley, Rafael
Asesor/esArbelaez, Jorge Eduardo
The object of politics is the pursuit of the common good understood as the conditions necessary for individuals and communities to flourish and fully develop their potentialities. Liberal democracies have greatly advanced the welfare of their citizens and have become the preeminent model for political organization today. However, they fall short in fostering the conditions required for the pursuit of the common good, such as a conception of human life as purposeful and the promotion of deliberative political decision-making processes by communities pursuing common goods. The Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC) and the promotion of virtues can address the obstacles to the pursuit of the common good that arise when an excessive reliance on the liberal model of politics and on the state fail to bring individuals and communities closer to fulfilling their aspirations to a full realization of their potentialities and a transcendental sense of human happiness. This essay defines the common good, warns about internal dynamics of liberalism working against the common good, like its excessive individualism and statism, and proposes the application of political virtues and the SDC concepts of subsidiarity and solidarity to define a proper role for the state in facilitating institutional structures supporting the pursuit of the common good.