uncommon sense

I wrote a post about a year ago titled common (non)sense. Again, I find myself frustrated with people telling me that my ideas or concerns are contrary to “common sense” — as if that’s a good enough reason itself to do (or not do) something.

The last few times, it’s been on issues of pollution and tobacco smoke. What I find so confusing is that, as new information has been becoming common knowledge on these issues, public opinion has been evolving. What was common sense on air pollution and tobacco smoke only one year ago is now different.

If elected leaders waited for a majority of public opinion to deem something “common sense” before taking action, government would be even slower than it already is. I perceive my role to be one of leadership. I believe I’m supposed to assess the information I have and use it to anticipate what will become common sense.

I also think it’s the role of government to regulate common sense when necessary. When you really think of it, there shouldn’t be a need for laws that say you can’t kill or hurt someone, or take things that aren’t yours — that ought to be common sense — but it’s obviously not common enough to make legislation unwarranted.

So, to be honest, I’m really not concerned about common sense. I prefer to listen to facts and arguments, perspectives and principles than trying to measure the value of current common sense.



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