A lot has been written about the loss of common sense in America, particularly by those on the right. On the surface, the observations seem reasonable. Courts make seemingly outrageous civil settlements, or set vicious criminals free on technicalities. Entrenched bureaucracies enforce laws blindly without regard for individual variations or needs.
But common sense works both ways. To wit:
Common sense says that the more guns a society has, the more violent it is likely to be. Guns do not make a people violent. But they do give a violent people the ability to kill quickly, easily, thoughtlessly, like a mindless bureaucracy might do. Common sense might prompt us to look at other countries with many fewer guns, and much, much lower rates of violent crime.
Common sense will tell us that if there is a death penalty, innocent people will be put to death for crimes they did not commit, along with the guilty who are executed for the crimes they did commit. Common sense will suggest that if the death penalty is the one punishment that cannot be fixed after the fact, then the death penalty should not be an option for punishment.
Common sense will tell us that just because we assume that a fetus is not human, because it is more convenient for us to make that assumption, that does not make a fetus not a human. Our comfort levels do not redefine reality for us.
Common sense will demonstrate that the reason we have laws which restrict the rights of good people and businesses is because bad people and businesses have forced us to write those laws.
Common sense will look at history to realize that capitalism will not work without the checks and balances found in a good dose of socialism, and vice versa. A healthy society will have the vigor of capitalism, and the wisdom to protect its workers via socialism.
Common sense will show that the way to prevent poor people from illegally entering this country looking for better jobs for better pay is to help the countries from whence these people come to provide better jobs for better pay. That may entail some willing sacrifice on our part, else they will continue to come, and the jobs they seek will flee our own borders into lands with cheaper labor.
Common sense says that if a people suffers racial discrimination for generations, the solutions will be complex, and will require sacrifice by those who descend from the discriminators.
Common sense says that the poor are poor for complicated reasons, not only or even primarily laziness and greed. There are many lazy, greedy rich people. Common sense says that demonizing those least able to defend themselves is demonic. Common sense says that if we do not help the poor kids while they are kids, we will have yet another generation of poor adults having poor kids, and that many of us could find ourselves, through a careless decision or an indifferent society, living poor and homeless.
Common sense says that we need to protect both businesses and the environment from each other.
Common sense tells us that most criminals will eventually be released, and that we need to prepare them to re-enter society, to be able to work and earn a living, to be forgiven with wisdom. A subculture of angry, alienated people will make enemies of the rest of us far more successfully than we will make enemies of them.
Common sense tells us all that living in a country which provides for us will have a cost, and that we each should expect to pay what is required. It also tells us that some will not be able to pay, and that, because we are a good people, we should be willing to help.
Common sense tells us that when we are at our best, we desire a society with no poor, no homeless, no victims of violence or discrimination, a place where the innocent do not suffer and the guilty are both punished and offered rehabilitation, a land of communities where people care for each other regardless of differences. We desire a place where no babies are aborted, no one is addicted, no one beats another, and all are given an equal chance to succeed.
Common sense tells us we will never have such a society. Thus, we must not only care for ourselves, but for each other, and we must both stand firm for what we believe, and be willing to compromise. Above all, we must try to love one another, as trite and simplistic as it sounds.