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Signing of the U.S.Constitution (1856), Junius Brutus Stearns.

By Andrew Latham, Crisis Magazine, August 6, 2020

Andrew Latham is a professor of political science at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota for the past two decades.  ….

Andrew LathamThis past March, The Atlantic published an essay by Adrian Vermeule, a Catholic professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, introducing the idea of “common-good constitutionalism” to an audience that I’m sure had never read anything quite like it.

At its most basic, Professor Vermeule’s argument unfolded something like this:

Human flourishing, or the “good life,” necessarily entails living a life of virtue—that is, a life ordered toward realizing one’s higher human nature which, according to natural law and the ius gentium, is the same for all persons, at all times, and in all places.

The common good is defined as the corporate wellbeing of the political community, defined largely in terms of its collective ability, through the state, to promote the ability of all its members to live such a life of virtue.

The proper and ordained end of any just constitutional order is to advance the common good, and thereby the ability of all citizens to live a life of virtue.  …


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