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For the Commonwealth

Aquinas: The Treatise on Law Qu. 90. The Essence of Law
2. Is the law always directed towards the Common Good? A: Every part is ordered to the whole as the imperfect to the perfect. The individual is part of a perfect whole that is the community. Therefore, law must concern itself in particular with the happiness of the community.

I have heard all too many reckless souls accuse Aquinas of being a proponent of Communism. Their remarks are premised on quotations such as this one. But this would be a rather unfortunate rendering of what he had to say. These individuals, all proponents of the most aggressive equalitarianism, are apparently little aware of the fact that the Angelic Doctor knew all too well the flaws of man and the reality of natural inequalities that function as social underpinnings within a world that’s far from being a Utopia.

While many may wish to toss Aquinas to the wind, I think we, particularly those of us in America, would do well to consider his insight on matters such as these. For there was a time when America understood the idea of a commonwealth. There was a time when America understood the idea of a nation. To be quite frank, there was once a time when America knew what America was! But as with many great things, much of this has fallen to the wayside.

For American to regain a sense of identity would require us to embrace a common heritage, common traditions, a common religion, and common values. It would force us to realize, and accept, that while the promises of “you can do anything you want so long as you put your mind to it and give it 110 percent” are nothing more than empty platitudes, they can most certainly do what they do best. And who other than themselves and those near and dear to them would know what this is and how this is to be done.

But it is here where the individual and the collective come into conflict. It is here where we find a tension between what is good for the one and what is good for the many. This has been the one of the great trials of our times. Thankfully, we are not left to wander on our own. Those brave souls and great minds having come before us faced the same questions, and they dealt with them in ways that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Saints and sinners attempted to find that place of balance and harmony between these two extremes. On the one hand, they fervently defended the divine right of private property. On the other hand, they wished for the owner to feel a familial commitment to those around him. They saw man’s desire to pursue happiness as a majestic goal to be achieved. But they never mistook liberty for license. It was a balancing act, to say the least, but one they did fairly well. The result of their efforts bringing them to the notion of a commonwealth, that place where the one and the many find a place and a purpose, both in and outside of themselves.

It is quite unfortunate that we have forgotten this concept. The cult of radical diversity, led by the Diversicrat ayatollahs, is tearing this country apart at the seams. Laissez faire tolerance of moral deviancy is eating away at a culture that, while not perfect, embraced a social an economic equilibrium unlike most anything we see today. We have gained shadows and phantasms at the expense of justice, solidarity, and liberty.

It is long overdue for the products of all things new to reconsider the wisdom of many things old. In doing so, we may once again find that place of balance and harmony where the one and the many find their rightful place. Otherwise, will continue down this reckles road that leads to everywhere and nowhere, not recognizing it for what it is. The very road that has been traveled by all great civilizations that once were but are no more.