On the surface, stories like the Keystone pipeline being compared to presidential decisions to end slavery immediately appear to violate our American common sense. Comparing anything to slavery, except slavery itself or human and sex trafficking – which is another issue that our common sense tells that Leftists would champion and have not – fail in comparison to the horrific reality of actual slavery.
So, has common sense failed?
The continued investigation into Benghazi by Congress being labeled a political witch-hunt – a Republican agenda against President Obama – also appears to violate our common sense. No matter what party controls the White House, common sense says we must find answers to so many obvious problems. To name just a few, a failed understanding of the Arab Spring, not reinforcing the consulate in Benghazi with proper security and infrastructure, leaving Ambassador Stevens and U.S. citizens to die, giving two stand down orders to ready U.S. special forces, ignoring CIA intelligence on AL Qaeda related Islamic extremist, blaming a YouTube video on the attack on the consulate, and then removing all terrorist related intelligence from the official narrative.
Everything within us screams that outside of Washington this negligence would be labeled criminal, not a partisan political ploy to ensure Hillary Clinton does not run for the White House; but that has become the story as uncommon to our senses as it may be.
Has common sense just become uncommon?
Common sense affirms in us that capital is needed to create businesses, new ideas, innovation, which in turn creates jobs. That progressive spending cannot pay off progressive debt and that the debt must be paid or our country will end up in bankruptcy like Greece. Common sense also tells us that access to affordable heath care is a great idea, but that it also must be paid for and that it is impossible to do so with ObamaCare. Common sense also appears to tell us all human beings were created equal before God with certain inalienable rights, but our push for equality of outcomes – over the equality of opportunity – has given us abortion, paralyzed liberty, and the Affordable Housing Act.
Is common sense becoming the problem? Maybe the self-evident truths of our
Founding really are not that self-evident.
So, once again our common sense just tells us that all people whom we disagree with are just absurd and that we need to return to our founding documents. I also believe we must return to the constitutional understanding of our great republic, but this is not a common sense argument. Common sense does not tell us this because common sense is always changing. Common sense changes as culture changes and is nothing more than a general sentiment that is the luxury of people who already agree.
Common sense is for country clubs, cigar clubs, and family barbecues where free speech is treated like decoration instead of true dialogue. Common sense is for “yes-men!” where one-word catch phrases are used as simple solutions to define and answer complex problems. We are all guilty of this and action must be taken to preserve the permanent principles of our free society. The only sense we must make common is truly understanding the nature of theses challenges and how to respond.
This is an appeal to history far beyond America’s short past. This is a call to philosophy and understanding why culture is reactive. This is a call to understanding human nature, the proper role of the individual, the family, and the church within government. This is a call for education of ourselves, our children, our families, our communities, which is always a representation of those who represent us in one form or another.
Leftism or Progressivism is a political catchword, and to many, used to marginalize people who want progressive change ignoring the immediate and practical impact on reality. You might ask why would someone push an idea against what we do know about the real world? All political parties are guilty of this from time-to-time. While there are a number of answers for this question in varying degrees, fundamentally people have different views on what constitutes a just society.
The answer is found not in common sense, but in differing worldviews. America continues to be more divided and politicalized because the Left and Right have different worldviews. These conflicting worldviews, when played out in the public square, are a reflection of what people value. Understanding them is not common to our senses, but it is the only way to fight this intellectual battle.
Our differing worldviews, based on our belief in the existence of God, or lack thereof, frame our view of human nature, meaning, justice, liberty, and equality. These principles are the fountainhead of all cultures and societies. Just like attempting to solve any problem in any aspect of life, we must first understand the problem. When we understand the problem, we can then move ahead to solving the problem.
The problem with the common sense approach is that the political and cultural movement on the other side is thinking the same thing about you. They are yelling the same thing. Why don’t they get it? This should just be common sense! The problem is of two different ways of viewing the world. If we understand the opposing position, we will not be as surprised. We will also be better equipped to be consistent, find what common ground may still exist, and practice the permanent principles our Founders used in the creation of our country, in all of our affairs, in and out of politics.