Is it Really Common Sense?

I’m hearing a lot of folks spouting common sense ideas these days. What exactly is this common sense they speak of?

Wikipedia’s definition: Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.

An acquaintance of mine’s favorite saying was ‘you can’t teach common sense’. This always struck me as odd since if you can’t teach it, how did you learn it in the first place? Humans don’t start out with a whole lot of talent above the basic instinct level. Somewhere along the line you learned something and can apply it to your daily life.

What I’ve found is common sense on any given topic is very specific to your personal history. Example: If you grew up in a cold weather climate, it’s common sense to not let your gas tank get below ¼ in the winter. If you grew up in a warm weather climate and moved north, you probably learned this one your first winter when your gas line froze.

What common sense is not – A simple solution to complex geopolitical, socioeconomic or psychological problems that have plagued mankind since day one. Example: There’s a crime problem in large inner cities. A ‘common sense solution’, create more laws to address the crime. Great! You now have more laws to arrest criminals. But if the criminals are already breaking the law – criminals break laws, that’s how they became criminals in the first place, why would they care about one more law to break?

So why do you hear ‘common sense’ attached to all sorts of change, reform, update or solution? It’s usually a means to convince you that everyone else thinks this way and if you want to be considered someone of normal intelligence and knowledge – like they are, you should be thinking this way too.

If you have to be convinced into believing something is a common sense solution, it probably isn’t either common sense or a solution. It’s more likely part of an agenda they want you to support because it benefits them, not you. Buy into their way of thinking on this topic and the rest just comes easy. If they were right on this one, they must be right about the next one too.

So as we plow deeper into the season of political speeches, posts, posturing and solutions to all your problems with just one vote, think twice about anything being promoted as a common sense proposal. After all, isn’t that just common sense??


#commonsense #badpolitics #oddstuff