The “common good” is only as good as each individual who makes up the collective. It is not government, institutions or ideologies that make people care about their fellow man; rather it is the intrinsic value one places on one’s own being as a child of God. To constantly fault Americans for being too individualistic, self-centered and for being achievers is to ignore the true spirit of this great country. While Father Gregorio lauds the praises of the Europeans for “being forced” to fight off communism and fascism (“Reconsidering the phrase ‘common good’ Dec. 18), he forgets that if it weren’t for those self-centered, selfish Americans, the Europeans would still be living under either Stalinism or Nazism.
This nation is one of the most generous peoples on earth in terms of individual charitable donations and national aid given to other less developed countries. As for nationalizing health insurance, it must be noted that putting the oversight of our healthcare system in the hands of government only opens the door to more bureaucracy, waste and corruption. To improve healthcare and make it more affordable means to engage in real tort reform, to remove federal and state regulations on insurance companies that prohibit selling insurance over state lines. When individuals and businesses can shop health insurance nationally, the mechanism of competition sets in and insurance companies have to offer competitive prices to stay in business. To make the insurance companies the villain of the piece is to fail to shed light on the other players, such as special interest groups who lobby Congress and bureaucrats who self perpetuate at the expense of the “common good.” No one, by law, can be denied healthcare. The CHIP program, Medicare and Medicade are all government run healthcare systems and we see how well run and solvent they are.
I return to my original premise: the common good is achieved only when individuals recognize their own God-given intrinsic value and because of that reach out to others. To relegate this responsibility solely to governments and institutions is to deny our purpose and value as human beings.