18 July 2011

Commonwealth, Common Good

Americans have lost the notion of commonwealth. Americans are wary of the notion of the common good.

Americans fancy themselves rugged individualists. It's bunk.

Americans have been conned by a concentrated but very loud anti-collectivist thread. Americans delude themselves by thinking they, and they alone, live off the grid while everyone else is a parasite. It's bunk.

A review of the last half-century of facts indicates we subsist and thrive on mutual aid and cooperative policies.

Many Americans participate in government programs, but don't realize it. We risk losing these government programs at our peril.

None of these programs are anti-American. All of these programs aim to improve the quality of life for Americans.

Some government programs are corporate welfare paid for by corporate interests, but most government programs -- the programs people rely on every day -- are resoundingly pro-American.

People care about being treated fairly. People don't want to be cheated. They want a fair share, a fair shake, or a fair opportunity.
Fair doesn't mean Equal.
Most people are willing to let others have a larger share of common gains -- if warranted. Most people will let others have proportionally more if warranted by sharper skills, proportionally more effort, or even dumb luck.
  • It is good for people to collectively bargain with employers. 
  • It makes sense to pool resources for collective community services. 
  • It makes sense to pool resources to provide free or subsidized public services like education, healthcare, transportation, insurance, and retirement.
Lets revive the notion of commonwealth and the common good.
Commonwealth is an English term for a political community founded for the common good (dates from the 15th century)
Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia were founded as commonwealths. Common-wealth is derived from the common weal which comes from the old meaning of wealth which is well-being.

Commonwealth expanded in meaning in the 17th century from public welfare (or commonweal) to signify a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people.

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