Teaching about "the common good" is out. The previous standards defined citizenship as "a belief in justice, truth, equality and responsibility for the common good." But the common good does not belong in the standards, board member Don McLeroy told the Wall Street Journal, because it is a "a liberal notion." Despite far-right propaganda that equates the common good with efforts to brainwash us in the ways of Marx and Mao, the concept is deeply rooted in American ideals. It's also been central to the Christian intellectual tradition and philosophy down through the centuries. Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas talked about the common good. Pope Leo XIII, in his 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, became the first to make formal use of the concept as the starting point for the Catholic Church's social analysis. According to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: "The principle of the common good, to which every aspect of social life must be related if it is to attain its fullest meaning, stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people."
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