Letter: On development and the common good
September 27, 2015
According to Wikipedia, "In philosophy, ethics, and political science, the common good is a 'specific good'; that is, shared and beneficial for all, or most, members of a given community."
Given the community of Aspen, which is undergoing significant redevelopment by and for the interests of a few, in opposition to the will of the many (as has been publicly expressed), it seems altogether appropriate to consider the spiritual, moral, intellectual and psychological constitution of the developer who nonetheless persists in opposition to this specific good.
As written by late 19th-century biblical scholar Walter Rauschenbusch: "A glance across history, or a simple acquaintance with human life in any community, will show that private property is at the same time a necessary expression of personality and stimulator of character and, on the other hand, a chief outlet as fortification of selfishness."
The following statements were found on Wikipedia:
"Grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority … a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the 'narcissist' to view others with disdain, or as inferior."
"Grandiosity is chiefly associated with 'narcissistic personality disorder.'"
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"In order to bolster themselves from shame, the 'narcissist' hides behind a mask of grandiosity."
"Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relative omnipotence, and inflated self-esteem."
"Historically, it was used as a name for 'narcissistic personality disorder.'"
"Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes."
"Narcissism is considered a social or cultural problem; it is one of the three 'dark triadic' personality traits; the other two being (a) psychopathy and (b) Machiavellianism."
And so, without being accusatory in any particular sense, one asks whether local government, which has been elected and entrusted to advance the common good, takes into account the possible personality failings among those who appear before it and, most importantly, among those with grandiose ideas.
For in order to achieve and maintain civil order, local government must be reminded that it is empowered to assert control over individual ideology so as to prevent an imposition of unilateral rules, which would otherwise invite havoc to the community, resulting in a kind of subjugation, however small or great.