Publication details

Krize liberální demokracie a pojem společného dobra

Title in English The Crisis of Liberal Democracy and the Concept of the Common Good


Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studia theologica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Authority; Catholic Social Doctrine; Common Action; Common Good; Dignity; Human Rights; Liberalism; Personalism; Social Ontology; Totalitarianism
Attached files
Description According to Pierre Manent, an eminent French Catholic political philosopher and a disciple of Leo Strauss, the concept of the common good has lost all its intelligibility in contemporary French society. It has been replaced by an emphasis on the concept of human rights. Human rights as such are not able, however, to serve as a viable basis for a political society. A similar analysis can be found in other Christian authors: for instance, vis-a-vis the crisis of contemporary liberal democracies, the main representatives of the so-called Radical Orthodoxy movement, John Milbank and Adrian Pabst, plead for the return of the politics of the common good. What is missing, however, in the works of these contemporary scholars is a systematic analysis of the concept of the common good as such. Up until now, the most elaborate analysis of this concept was developed by the Catholic scholars, Charles De Koninck and Yves R. Simon, during the 1940s and 1950s. Following their example, the article attempts to elucidate this key concept of political philosophy and Catholic social doctrine. In its first part, after an overview of the two basic meanings of the concept of the common good in Catholic social doctrine, the article analyzes the different facets of De Koninck´s magisterial treatise on the common good. Due to the many more metaphysical interests of De Koninck, the article argues that his concept of the common good must be supplemented by the much more politically focused analysis of Yves R. Simon. This eminent Thomist emphasized the connection between the concept of the (political) common good with the possibility of common action. The article finally offers a thorough reconstruction of the foundations of this neglected tradition of political thought which paradoxically could be seen as an (at least partial) possible cure for the current crises of liberal democratic political regimes.
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