Take Jim Wallis, for example, and what he writes here in his new screed at Sojo. Emphases mine.
Our country is in the midst of a clash between two competing moral visions. It is not, as we have known in recent history, a traditional fight between Republicans and Democrats. It is a conflict between those who believe in the common good and those who believe individual good is the only good. While a biblical worldview informs Christians that they should be wary of the rich and defend the poor, a competing ideology says that wealth is equivalent to righteousness and God’s blessing. It is a morality play in which Washington, D.C. is the stage, politicians are actors, lobbyists are directors, the “debt ceiling” is the conflict, and we are the audience who will pay the cost of the production, whether we enjoyed it or not.
Now, I'm racking my brain at the moment, trying to think of anyone who may have equated wealth with righteousness and God's blessing. Outside of maybe someone like Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar or Robert Tilton, no one really comes to mind. Certainly no political figures. Using such simplistic thinking a Wallis uses here, conservatives would be the biggest fans of George Soros and Ted Turner and all the other uber-rich liberals out there, of which there is more than a few.
Similarly, I'm trying to remember where any Conservative is saying only individual good is to be considered, without regard to the good of others; rather, the argument is that the good of all does not trump the good of the individual. You are not allowed to steal from another, even if you think your reason is good, no matter how much the person being stolen from may have, no matter how much good what is stolen may do somewhere else.
I listen to Rush Limbaugh's show as much as I can, no doubt a serious crime in Wallis' mind. Limbaugh is constantly equating the good of the individual with the good of society as a whole--if the government raises taxes on those who produce wealth and start businesses and take risks and provide jobs, those who do those things will be less willing to do them, and subsequently there will more average people out of work, thus hurting society as a whole. Thus, hurting the individual winds up hurting many other individuals.
There is no common good without concern for the individual good. But if our goal is the common good, the individual can become a mere ant to be trod upon. If the common good becomes the main thing, then even what harms the individual becomes an option.
I prefer the good of the individual, because then there is the chance that that good will equate into the good of everyone. If an individual has freedom of speech, then the ones who agree or disagree also have that freedom, and all can speak without fear. If the freedom is taken away from one person, then the rest of use must look over our shoulders to see if the censors are coming to silence us, too.
Especially if they are doing so in the name of the common good.