Saith Bradley, about the 3:00 mark:
While the old addage of “strength in numbers” holds true to a certain extent, it is imperative for us to keep this one simple point fresh in our minds: this is a nation of INDIVIDUALS. THIS is what we are rebelling against tonight. This idea of “the collective.” The smallest minority on Earth is the individual. And every single politician that stands before you and proclaims it your moral duty to “contribute” to some “common good” is engaged in hyperbole to promote the same end: discrimination against you, that smallest of all minorities, the individual taxpayer. Forcible confiscation of the fruits of your labor is not “contributing.” And to foist upon you that line about the “common good” is the height of arrogance. Who decides what “good” is “common?” And by what right? What’s good for you and your family may be decidedly bad for someone else. (emphasis mine)While the rest of Bradley's speech laid out his calls for political engagement (vote, talk to people, run for office) and his four campaign issues (Fair Tax, 10th Amendment, controlling lobbyist influence, and the return of a servant political class), I was disheartened to hear Bradley critique one of Rep. Perriello's campaign themes: the Common Good.
Rep. Perriello's belief that America is stronger when we stand together stems from his social justice and Catholic upbringing. Found throughout religious history, this teaching is especially pronounced in the life and ministry of Jesus, and, in Christian terms, the Common Good is a relational and communal ethic premised on the Golden Rule. Let me, humbly, quote Jesus in Matthew 7:12 (NRSV):
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.Also check Luke 6:31, Tobit 4:15, and the Wisdom of Sirach 31:35. Simply, Jesus teaches us that Christian discipleship calls us to a higher standard. This discipleship calls for us to give our coat when someone is in need, to walk the extra mile, to help our neighbor, the widow, the child, the sick and imprisoned, the oppressed, and the least among us. This is not a denouncement of the individual, but a belief that we are stronger, more loving, more Christian, when we serve in common purpose. Bradley, it is not a politician saying this, but in orthodoxical terms, our Lord and Savior.
And yes, while the Constitution does establish individual freedoms, the Preamble of the Constitution does articulate the bonds that tie the citizens of the United States together:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.From the Framers of the Constitution, Bradley, here is the Common Good.