The question of how and in what way the good of an individual being and the common good of a whole are interrelated and interdependent seems to be a perennial one. Is the good of the individual achieved by aligning him- or herself to a preordained social order? Or do individual/personal human rights come prior to any alignment? There was a fierce debate among Catholic philosophers on this topic during and after World War II both in North America and in German-speaking countries. A somewhat similar debate has subsequently emerged between animal protection advocates and environmentalists: the protection of each individual sentient animal versus the preservation of the biotic community as a whole. This essay outlines the different positions and tries to find some common ground on the common good.