Responding to C. Bradley Thompson
This is sad and also exactly why Trump and Nationalist Conservatives are now overrunning the conservative movement.
There seems to be no real understanding of America's founding documents and ideals, but more importantly no real understanding of where to even begin in analyzing them.
The Founders wanted "common good?" Then the founding of America would be no different to anything that came before. From the savage tribal councils, through to tyrannical kings and to the bureaucracy of any communist hellhole, all these forms of government cared only about the "common good."
What the Founders did was create the worlds first rights-protecting republic and in doing so broke with everything that came before. That's what was so revolutionary about it.
But this is impossible to understand for those who don't understand the concept of rights, therefore don't understand the concept of rights-protecting government and as a result don't understand American politics or politics in general.
It's individual rights vs common good. It's not both.
Conservatives urgently need to discard everything they think they know about politics, such that it is, and pretty much start from scratch.
The scholarly ability to evade the Enlightenment as the only basically individualist culture in history is as destructive as the conservative and Leftist claims that it was basically a collectivist culture. Taking facts out of this context leaves the scholar with any claim that might satisfy the whims of the power-lusters the Founders came close to burying. These creatures reject their own minds for tradition or equality and call for a historically blood-drenched statism that will enforce that rejection on those who choose mind over willful mindlessness. Both Declaration and Constitution, explicitly or implicitly, call for a rationally absolute politics of individual rights. The Enlightenment was also basically rational, the indirect product of America's founding grandfather, Aristotle. His enemies, Jesus and Marx, united in hatred of man's mind, must be intellectually destroyed before the promise of America can be renewed. Fortunately, _Atlas Shrugged_, provides the intellectual ammunition. It can make the American mind great again.