A number of Constitutions around the world — including those of the U.S., Argentina and the Philippines — as well as many charters and statutes on local, national, and global scales, stipulate that providing for the general welfare and/or promoting the common good is one of their central reasons for being.

How do we — how can we, how must we — best provide for the general welfare and common good in these times?

That’ll be the question of the day at our next global Democracy Cafe/Constitution Cafe on Thursday April 2nd, at 12 noon in Mexico, 2 pm ET in U.S., and 18:00 UTC.

Some initial thoughts? Are there concrete ways with which you’re familiar, and perhaps in which you’re actively involved, to achieve these ends of providing for the general welfare and promoting the common good? Are there approaches we must take both from the bottom up and the top down at the same time?

Does charity and philanthropy begin at home, and then spread out from there?

Sir Thomas Browne was the first one known to coin this saying, at least in printed form, when he wrote in Religio Medici in 1642 that “Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world.”  

How can we be the voice of the world today?

Philanthropy is defined as a demonstration of “goodwill to fellow members of the human race, especially active effort to promote human welfare.”

How do we achieve this on myriad scales? Do we leave it up to the philanthropic institutions to show us the way? Do we only give of ourselves with our financial resources? Or, if promoting human welfare begins at home, what gestures can each of us make to contribute to realizing this — not just or primarily financially, but in sundry other ways?

How can best achieve this during the ever-worsening coronavirus pandemic? Before this crisis unfolded, there were, often quite understandably, ever-heightening levels of mistrust (and misinformation campaigns)..

What’s more, before the pandemic, it was already an era of increasingly glaring socioeconomic inequities the world over, with vast dislocated populations in every corner of the planet. Additionally, levels of intolerance and polarization and discrimination were through the roof well before this crisis, which has made life exponentially worse for ever so many. And as always, the most vulnerable and fragile among us have suffered the worst, by far.

What role should indviduals, governments, the private sectors play? How about institutional philanthropic organizations? One well-funded sect with which I am all too familiar that bills itself as ‘trust-based,’ is mistrustful of others, rigidly closeminded and even extremist in bent? I fret they might set back the cause of providing for the general welfare and common good, if open-mindedness is valued. While one of its leaders claims to use dialogue to solve equity issues, in my experience she has disdain for entertaining and exploring a genuine plurality of perspectives (and even excluded me from further annual retreats in the smarmiest way imaginable).

So what do we the people do? What can we do? What must we do? What approaches do you suggest, if we are to promote human welfare here, there, and everywhere, on micro and macro scales?

How can we best work towards realizing a global common good in which the general welfare of one and all is a paramount goal?

Please join us to explore possibilities in our upcomging Global Democracy Cafe / Constitution Cafe.

Here is all the info you need to join our face to face brainstorming exploration on Zoom:

Christopher Phillips is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Global Democracy Cafe/Constitution Cafe Zoom Meeting — How can we best provide for the general welfare?

Time: Apr 2, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/113596971?pwd=MHZZTndmdFAwSzliM3JjaGN5WUhjUT09

Meeting ID: 113 596 971

Password: 038508

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