It’s not enough, according to MacIntyre’s recent Notre Dame lecture, to argue for the dignity of the unborn as a property they possess if the economic and social conditions of our society make it difficult for them to maintain their dignity after they’re born. In this Featured Collection, I trust you’ll find some helpful commentary on issues which must be pondered if one wishes to understand MacIntyre’s argument.
- The common good is the final cause of political association, not least because practical decisions are always decisions about achieving what is good and avoiding what is bad. But invoking the common good under the influence of De Koninck, Maritain, or even Aquinas doesn’t on its own advance the political conversation that characterizes a healthy polity.
- The common good is the flourishing of a community qua community. Every community is built around a common end, which is simply that it excel, in justice, as whatever kind of emergently real community it is. The common good is primarily a practical idea, but if our starting point is too practical we are apt to miss the challenge that the common good poses to the modern political imaginary. On the other hand, a starting point that is too metaphysical will fail to engage the real questions of common life.
- Our arguments for limited government should recognize political community as an intrinsic good, not mistake it for a merely instrumental one.
- Is the fundamental and essential point of forming the polity the polity itself, or is the polity primarily a means of protecting and achieving many other valuable ends?
- Bad writing by philosophers and theologians about economics is a moral issue. If their views about economics are taken seriously—as they often are in churches and in policy advocacy—they threaten the life-changing effects of free markets for the poor across the world.
- Alasdair MacIntyre may be wrong about the details of finance, but he is right on the largest questions of political economy.