What Is Common Sense?

What is common sense? It’s a question that isn’t easily answered in a few words. It helps to look at examples of common sense and example of common sense in daily life.

When I grew up we had this weird thing called common sense. In less than a 100 years we’ve gone from common sense to complete nonsense it’s everywhere you turn. How do you even know what to believe? Today, there seems to be a lot more nonsense than common sense. You see it everywhere you turn.

The founding fathers and a lot of other great people that have stepped up and led this country over the years they understood 2 basic principles. They understood basic human nature and they had a fundamental sense of right wrong. So, there’s absolutely a philosophical nature to common sense but there’s also a practical side to common sense. Common sense in everyday life. Basic truths, and life lessons. Many of them passed down through the generations.

Human nature today isn’t any different than it’s ever been that despite all the changes and technology it’s remained virtually unchanged since the beginning of time. Basic human nature today is no different today than it ever has been. People still have the same basic wants and desires. It’s not any different than it was 3,000 years ago at least not on a fundamental level.

The second thing they understood was justice. They had a basic understanding of the moral difference between right and wrong. The understood what’s naturally right not some contrived sense of hey this seems like a good idea. Or, this will be popular, so it must be good.

Both of those principles are critical to any debate about policy and government. Without it there’s no foundation for a practical conversation that has any meaning. This along with basic math is the basics of common sense. Human nature, the difference between right and wrong and basic math. That’s what common sense is.

Human nature, the natural laws of right and wrong, basic math, logic and reason. That’s common sense.

We have to be willing to debate these important issues.  We have to be willing to debate but only under the rules of logic and reason. In other words, debate using common sense. There’s no other debate worth having.  Trying to debate without logic and reason just ends up as meaningless bickering and we already have more than enough of that.

Common sense is as important today as it’s ever been. Some people say common sense is dead. Why is that? Maybe it’s technology, maybe it’s the way we look at things differently, but it doesn’t mean the basic truth of common sense is any less important.

A fancy way of looking at common sense is a term called deductive reasoning. It’s a way of testing or proving something by adding it all up and seeing if it checks out. If it does than it probably makes sense. Of course some things are easier to test this way than other things but the process is the same.

There’s more than one way to look at reasoning but a great to start is by asking why. That’s the key to understanding, by understanding why. There’s four basic questions that lead to reasoning. Why? Where did this come from? What’s wrong with this picture? Does this add up? Those questions are going to bring you to a common sense answer.

If you start to look around and look at things this way, asking why and reasoning with those four questions, you’ll realize a lot of things going on today just don’t make sense.


This article is from the Book On Common Sense by Christopher ScottChristopher Scott is the voice of common sense and host of the Christopher Scott Show Talk Radio Podcast.

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