The Common Good Is Uncommonly Bad

NOTE: The following is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online. The footnotes that document the content in this article are found in the book Marxianity or the eBook.

Commonweal. It’s a rather archaic-sounding word for a phrase we’ve already talked about a lot: common good. And you recognize by now that it is a magnanimous-sounding masking term for some things that aren’t so good. Yet, if you venture to the website for an organization called The Commonweal Project, here’s what it says about itself: “The Commonweal Project is an initiative of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.” And who is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? Al Mohler, of course.

If you read further on The Commonweal Project website, you’ll also discover that the project is funded by a grant from The Kern Family Foundation, so it can participate in the Oikonomia Network of other evangelical seminaries with a similar focus. I’ll explain more about The Kern Family Foundation and the Oikonomia Network, but first I need to make you aware of another strategic element which ties these pieces together. Christian colleges and universities across America, led by the likes of Al Mohler, the Acton Institute, and Tim Keller, are training students and pastors in the concept of “transformational” churches. For years, I’ve warned about the shift in church concepts from traditional to transitional to transformational.

If you’re in a church where this is happening, you might sense something is not quite right. You think, Hmmm. Something’s changing here at our church. It doesn’t look like it once did. We were once very traditional, but now, it seems like we’re in some kind of transition. You’re not really sure what’s going on, but you see a growing emphasis on things like social justice, cultural issues, redistribution of wealth, and liberal-sounding causes. There’s a transition going on to something new, but before you can get a handle on what it is, your church is transformed into something completely different from before, and there’s no going back. It’s no longer the church that your father, grandfather, or great-grandfather helped to found. It’s not the church of which one of your family members was a charter member. It is now a social justice church.

This sort of transformation is the specific goal of the Oikonomia Network, of which The Commonweal Project is a major player. Note the fond terms Al Mohler uses in introducing the project in a video I’ve presented on my program:


[quote] Well, thank you very much. It’s good to be with you, as always. I’m very glad to be speaking for The Commonweal Project and . . . Appreciate Dr. Magnuson and his entire team for their leadership of this and The Kern Family Foundation for their support of this. [end quote] 


Al Mohler praises The Kern Family Foundation—but what exactly is it, and what does its worldview look like? The Kern Family Foundation website says this about itself:


[quote] The Kern Family Foundation supports practical research and tools for the formation of good character in the rising generation. Our education and character program partners with leading practitioners who advance sound approaches across diverse sectors of American society. [end quote]


Delving further, you’ll find that one of their partners is PBS—hardly known for its advancement of conservative causes. Another partner is the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture which, according to its website, has this as its goal:


[quote] We pursue these objectives in service of a larger ambition, to create the conditions conducive to alternative schools of thought in the humanities and social sciences, and to carry them into practice in the academy and in the wider world. [end quote]


And elsewhere that: “Our institutional inspiration comes from the close-knit intellectual fellowships of the past, such as the Frankfurt School” (emphasis mine).

In addition to some of the other issues I’ve pointed out about The Frankfurt School, one of their prominent leaders, Herbert Marcuse, is the man who coined the phrase “make love, not war” as a way to undermine the backbone of American culture. Marcuse claimed that “The old way of revolution is old-fashioned. The new way of revolution is a diffused and dispersed disintegration of the system.” The transformation of cultural values that is the centerpiece of this “new way of revolution” is precisely where organizations like the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture fit in.

The Kern Family Foundation, in screenshots we have in one of my television shows, promotes their support of the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank dating back to 1916. The institute was involved in refining the blueprint for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s dream of the United Nations, and it also helped shape the post-World War II Marshall Plan for Europe. More recently, some colorful figures have served in its leadership. Strobe Talbott, for instance, is a recent president of the Brookings Institute. He was a college roommate of Bill Clinton’s who, as undersecretary of state in Clinton’s administration, called for global governance, a world government.

One of the authors promoted on the Brookings website is Jonathan Rauch, and he boasts that his book, a number of articles, and several of his talks made the social conservative pro-family case for same-sex marriage (if there can be such a thing). Amadou Sy was involved in Brookings’ Africa Growth Initiative which, in March 2014, hosted a public event with Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim interfaith leaders for “interfaith dialogue.”

Other “credits” for the Brookings Institute include its having worked with Janet Yellen, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Then there’s Arne Duncan, the secretary of education for Barack Obama who helped create Common Core.


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