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Collectivism and Altruism to Dominate Democrats

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Get ready as the fascists begin to organize around their "newly found term." I can't really call it an idea, since both parties no longer formulate any specific ideas that last longer than the next election.

'Common Good' Unifies Dems for Election

Ned Lamont uses it in his Connecticut Senate race. President Clinton is scheduled to speak on the idea in Washington this week. Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania candidate for Senate, put it in the title of his talk at The Catholic University of America - then repeated the phrase 29 times.

The term is "common good," and it's catching on as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. Led by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, party activists hope the phrase will do for them what "compassionate conservative" did for the Republicans.

"It's a core value that we think organizes the entire political agenda for progressives," said John Halpin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community - sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty."

Republicans have used the phrase, too. GOP Sen. Rick Santorum, who faces Casey, a fellow Catholic, in November, wrote a book last year titled, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good." But liberals say that Republican policies promote a "radical individualism" - advocating individual retirement accounts above Social Security, health savings accounts over affordable insurance, and tax cuts that Democrats say benefit only the rich.

"We really feel that it speaks to the central moral challenge of our time," said Alexia Kelly, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, an advocacy group that formed two years ago.

"Our religious traditions call us to that deeper vision of caring for all, being in it together, not a go-it-alone culture," said Kelly, who has worked for the U.S. bishops and served briefly as a religious adviser to 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. "I think it's important that it crosses faith traditions."

Tom Perriello, a co-founder of the Catholic Alliance, said the approach would help end what he sees as a self-defeating practice among liberals - treating religious Americans as a constituency that needs special handling, instead of crafting a message meaningful to all voters.

But he acknowledged that the strength of the "common good" as a unifying theme also is a weakness. The term is so broad it's hard to define and can be misinterpreted as a call for "big government," Perriello said. "The question right now is who is going to define it."

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Under Roman Catholic teaching, promoting the "common good" would include opposing abortion - a position both Santorum and Casey embrace - and opposing gay marriage to protect human dignity and the family. "Common good" Democrats are generally changing how they talk about abortion, calling it a tragedy to avoid - rather than a private issue.

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Tomasky drew on political philosophers, and Presidents James Madison and Franklin D. Roosevelt, among others. But the term also conveniently tapped into a guiding concept in Catholic and some Protestant traditions. It can be found in many papal encyclicals - a pontiff's most authoritative declaration - most recently in Deus Caritas Est, the first encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote "the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply."

The twin sources of the idea can be seen in who's adopting it.

From the political left, the Campaign for America's Future, which has worked with MoveOn.org and the AFL-CIO, released an "Agenda for the Common Good" in June.

Mara Vanderslice, a religious outreach director for Kerry's presidential campaign, formed a political consulting firm last year called Common Good Strategies to "help Democrats reframe the national religious debate." The Casey campaign in Pennsylvania is a Vanderslice client.

(emphasis added is mine)

Click your heels and raise your right arm, now.

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Click your heels and raise your right arm, now.

Maybe we should use the World War II "Italian salute" -- raising both arms -- but this time one for the Right and one for the Left.

Here is what GOP.com says (with my emphasis) on values:

Immediately upon taking office in his first term, the President established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which rests on a basic principle: when it sees social needs, the Federal Government will look to faith-based programs and community groups as partners to help those in need.

http://www.gop.com/Issues/FaithAndValues/

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Perriello says, "The question right now is who is going to define [the common good]." Apparently he is not familiar with history. It has been defined.

[T]he essence of virtue is easy to define. ("The common good comes before private good"). "This self-sacrificing will to give one's personal labor and if necessary one's own life for others," writes Hitler, "is most strongly developed in the Aryan. The Aryan is not greatest in his mental qualities as such, but in the extent of his willingness to put all his abilities in the service of the community.

John Halpin says, "With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community - sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty."

This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture.... The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call -- to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness -- idealism. By this we understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men."
So says Adolph Hitler, so says John Halpin.

The parrallels are indeed ominous.

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The political strategizers in both major parties reveal the worst possible aspect of American culture. They are fighting amongst themselves to see which party can sound most collectivist. The choice on offer: subjective or mystic collectivism.

How much worse can it get? [Don't answer that.] The Democratic party is employing individualism as a smear-word! I refuse to call such people "liberals" as they are referred to in the article. Liberal is far too clean a word for such man-hatred. And the Republican party as supposed defenders of liberty is too depressing to consider.

Political 'choice' = Tweedle-dum? Or tweedle-dumber? ;)

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"liberals say that Republican policies promote a "radical individualism"

If only that were actually true...

That's what's called a "package-deal." They lump one idea with its opposite, thereby obliterating the distinction in the minds of the listeners. It's not that they think the statement is true, it's just a way for them to advance their own agenda for sacrifice.

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