The “New” Common Sense

the man in the tree sawingWhen I was a little boy growing up, my mother and father would always tell me: “Son! Be sure to use good common sense!” They taught me that good common sense was just looking at a situation and then using good sound judgment in dealing with the situation. Another term they used was; “mother wit,” which was just natural intelligence.

But, as I look around the world today and observe the actions and decisions of governments and people, I am discovering that common sense is not so common anymore! Perhaps this might be because we have lost the common agreement of what is right and what is wrong. What is happening today reminds me of a passage in the Bible that describes the period of the Judges. Judges 17:6 says: “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This verse describes the chaotic conditions that existed in Israel when there was no centralized government.

Well, our problem today is not a lack of centralized government, but rather a lack of centralized morality. With the death of absolutes, everyone’s opinion has been elevated from the status of just an opinion to that of individualized truth. This is reflected in statements like: “It may be true for you, but that doesn’t mean that it is true for me!” And with the rise of this “individualized truth” comes the moral chaos caused by everyone doing, not that which is right, but that which is right in their own eyes!

But for order to prevail in any society, there must be agreed upon “common truths” that are not subject to change by the opinions of the courts or a majority vote of the people! In order to live in a just and humane society, common sense must prevail! When we allow our individualized opinions to have as much weight as time-tested and God-ordained truth, we are headed for chaos and disaster! If we continue to flirt with the dominance of “individualized truth,” what is to stop one individual from deciding that for him, the “red” light of the traffic sign means the same thing as the “green” light does for other people? I know that analogy sounds far-fetched and ridiculous. But it is no more ridiculous than some of the current nonsense that is prevalent in our society today!

Common Sense Headstone

But maybe I stand corrected! Perhaps it is not that common sense is not so common anymore, but more precisely; common sense, as my mother and father defined it, is not so common anymore! Because when we look at the word “common,” it denotes what the majority of people hold as valid truth. If that be the case, then what is common sense today is what my mother and father would have called: “nonsense!” Therefore, in many cases, the old nonsense is the new common sense!

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