Volume 19, Issue 2, Summer 2019
Defense of the New Natual Law
New Natural Law Theory and the Common Good of the Political Community
Some critics question new natural law theorists’ conception of the common good of the political community, namely, their interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas and the conclusion that the political common good is primarily instrumental rather than intrinsic and transcendent. Contrary to these objections, the common good of the political community is primarily instrumental. It aims chiefly at securing the conditions for human flourishing. Its unique ability to use the law to bring about justice and peace and promote virtue in individuals may make the common good of the political community critically important. Nevertheless, it is still not an intrinsic aspect of human flourishing. Unlike the family or a religious group, membership in a political community is not an end in itself.