“The common good” also serves as a valuable reference point for personal choices. Most of my fellow American Christians’ choices about career, consumption, geography, and more are articulated in starkly individualist terms…. In my observation American churches are full of the functional individualists Christian Smith describes. Even if the actual motives for our choices may be more complex, we lack a vocabulary for evaluating our personal lives in light of something larger. I would love to see more of my fellow Christians making explicitly “common-good decisions.”
So while it’s certainly not a panacea, I think that if people all along the political spectrum recovered the thicker meaning of “the common good,” and were held accountable to that thicker meaning, that would be a real contribution to our public life.