Friday, June 24, 2005

Welcome back common sense to the GOP

If you are a middle of the road voter who misses the Goldwater GOP days, this article "Onward Moderate Christian Soldiers" by retired Senator Danforth (R-MO) was a breath of fresh air.

If you are a Christian who looks to the Bible, not as a literal stenographer's record from the Big Guy, but as a source of Judeo / Christian wisdom and support, it is a sign that common sense may not be dead in politics ... yet.

Mind you, I'm not holding my breath....


Chip Nelson said...

I miss Goldwater and Dirkson and politicians like that. I miss intelligent debate and civil discourse. I miss Wm. F. Buckley. I miss Nixon and I miss Humphrey. I miss politicians that were groomed for their jobs. I disagree with most of what Cuomo says but I still enjoy listening to him speak.

The current crop we now have were once the hippy generation and these Aquarians just don't measure up. Some of them, Biden and McCain are fairly tolerable but nothing compared to what I grew up with.

Storm Trooper said...

I wrote a whole post on the term "common sense". I basically proved that it is a stupid term and should never be used. Here's what I wrote:

Common Sense: The Ultimate Oxymoron (emphasis on moron).

I don't understand the term "common sense." What the hell does it mean? The barfly where I work states religiously that he follows a common sense philosophy and that it is the ONLY way to think about things in the world. See, I understand using the term in referrence to not doing stupid things - yes, it is common sense NOT to use a chainsaw to trim your pubes...anyway...

Can we apply the term to philosophical, moral, and ethical debates? I don't know! It seems to me that "common sense" means basic instincts. As human beings, however, we have anything but basic instincts. We have some instinctual survival mechanisms, but we do not have instincts that tell us if it is morally incorrect to kill someone. We have constructed laws to tell us how to conduct ourselves which we designed to better our chances of survival; but the animal human being is not a moral being.

Does common sense refer to the majority? The status quo? If we governed ourselves in accordance with majority rules -meaning that freedom of free thought is illegitimate - it might make something like Nazism justifiable. The people had a common view (either enforced or freely supported) which was that, for example, Jews were worse than the plague. Common sense therefore dictates that the Jews should be eliminated.

Or is that too extreme a definition? Maybe common sense shouldn't be applied to something like national governance. How do we explain, then, the application of common sense to anything? If a choice is made and is determined to be a common sense decision, what does it mean? When we narrow it down, I think common sense in the realm of epistomological thought (outside the confines of instinctual behaviour) simply means "self-affirmation of a thought or ideal which in no way applies to any other individual unless he is of similar mind." "Common sense" is merely an admission of the inability to communicate an opposing ideology in a convincing manner.

How do we make common sense decisions (which are seemingly instinctual decisions) in a world where human instinct does not exist? How do we apply common sense to the complexities of western society when so much is dependent upon constructs that exist as a result of unnatural (man made) intervention? I can understand "should I poke sleeping sabre-tooth tiger with stick?" (it is instinctual); But I can't understand "is abortion a viable option for unwanted pregnancies?" being dealt with by a common sense creed.

When put in those terms, common sense becomes simply a rejection of complex thought. Or any thought.

I categorize common sense as a means to the ultimate circular argument. For example:
A."Gay marriage is wrong."
B. "Why?"
A. "Because it isn't right"
B. "Oh, do you abject to it for religious reasons?"
A. "No. It just isn't common sense."
B. "Um, why?"
A. "Because it isn't"
ad nauseum...
It basically pushes an assertion without having any supporting facts, evidence, moral concerns.
If everyone had common sense we'd either live in a socialist utopia; or we'd have destroyed the earth long ago. What I mean is: if everyone thought the same way, society would be a breeze. There would be no war, everyone would share, every single person would be cared for...
Or every single individual would declare that their common sense was the greatest and we'd all kill each other.

Of course, proponents of common sense think otherwise:(from Wikipedia)

The Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid, a contemporary of Hume and the founder of the so-called Scottish School of Common Sense, devotes considerable space in his Inquiry and the Intellectual Powers developing a theory of common sense. While he never gives a definition, per se, he does offer a number of so-called "earmarks" of common sense (which he sometimes calls "principles of common sense"), such as

* principles of common sense are believed universally (with the apparent exceptions of some philosophers and the insane);
* it is appropriate to ridicule the denial of common sense;
* the denial of principles of common sense leads to contradictions.

I guess what that means is: I'm right, you're wrong. There is no reason to question it - I'm right. There is no room for your view and I don't have to justify it because I have common sense...

Albert Einstein said: "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

And there we have it summed up by the world's most brilliant man.

I would love it, by the way, if somebody refuted this. I'd actually like to hear a proponent's perspective.

Keep it in mind!