Those who do not even distinguish properly between the meaning of “proper” opposed to common, and the meaning of “proper” opposed to improper can hardly claim to be political radicals.  To such people the good attained in politics (suppose for a moment that people did politics) can only be a proper good.  For what could be more absurd than a political unity for the sake of an utterly improper good?  The error of the altruists, which almost everyone at some point pretends to, is much more patently stupid than all other political errors.  So, it is either an individual proper good, or the good of a collective “individual”.  The most basic attention to Aristotle, St. Thomas, or even DeKoninck would have saved the communist much embarrassment, unless he is wholly committed to the thesis that common goods do not exist.  Much less even than the communist can the extreme liberal leftist be considered radical, insofar as he agrees totally with the fundamental liberal commitment to government for the sake of individual persons’ particular goods, although disagreeing with the prevailing consensus that the wealthy are the individuals whose personal goods define politics.  Then lastly, and most ridiculously, there are those whose ideology is simply “left” and “right” bourgeois liberalism, whose claim to be radical rests on hollow and almost random personal opinions censorious of some of the most extreme degradations on either side, or an, admittedly in some sense radical, all-consuming personal cult of some current leader or other.

To be a true radical extremist in this matter is among the most urgent issues facing the church and the world.  Charity itself is a desire for a common good.  And certainly we have seen the effects of “politics” explicitly rejecting common goods.  So, be a radical, get a dictionary.


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