The Common Weal

I’m contributing next week to a symposium organised by the Reid Foundation, considering the idea of the Common Weal.  I drafted last year a short statement of principles, which they’ve now posted  on line here.  The principles I’ve referred to are these:

  • Society: We live together in society
  • The common good:  The welfare of every person depends on the welfare of each of us.
  • Solidarity:  We have obligations to each other.
  • Stewardship:  We have a duty to future generations.
  • Rights:  A society has to protect the rights of every person in it. 
  • Equality:  Everyone needs access to the conditions of civilisation.
  • A common enterprise:  To build more we must share more. 

A statement of this sort has to be provisional; the way I’ve put things is not necessarily how others will see them.  I’m hopeful, though, that this will contribute to the development of the idea of Common Weal, and through that the the statements of values currently being considered by the Scottish Government.

Further note:  The draft statement I laid out is pilloried on a blogsite, complaining that the Common Weal “is an ideology of class compromise, idealist complacency and national-political consensus, pre-empting any possibility for a truly emancipatory and internationalist politics of class struggle, historical materialism and political revolution.”  The principles are attacked for being statist and corporatist (they’re supposed to be bottom-up)  and “fusing reactionaries …with  the technocratic paternalism of The Spirit Level”.  The blog derides the statement for “fundamental conservatism”, social democratic leanings, “hyperdefensive leftism”, “platitudinous liberalism”, national socialism, Christian morality, Enlightenment thought and being ideological.    Now there’s a trick: social democratic, liberal, fascist, reactionary and conservative all at the same time.

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