When Did Common Sense Become So Uncommon?

by Becky Baker

When did common sense become so uncommon?

We’ve all known people who are really smart. They have lots of “book learning” and can regale you with more information on any given subject than you ever wanted to hear. Some of those same people don’t have a lot of what we call common sense.

By its very definition the majority of people are assumed to possess it. So is the lack of common sense really becoming an epidemic or are people just not using the sense God gave them?

I tend to believe that most of us still have a healthy dose of common sense, but we just don’t use it much anymore. The old “use it or lose it” adage comes into play. In these overly litigious and overly protective times we live in, it seems that the powers that be want to do all they can to eliminate the need for us to think at all.

Have you looked at some of the warning signs that are now required on every day products? Do we really need to be reminded that a cup of hot coffee is indeed hot? Or that you shouldn’t use your hair dryer while in the bath tub, or better yet, while you’re asleep? How about not ironing a shirt while you’re wearing it? Really?

What about this caution sign found on a portable stroller: “Remove infant before folding for storage.” Or these lines from the emergency safety procedures at a summer camp: “In case of flood, proceed uphill. In case of flash flood, proceed uphill quickly.”

We have warnings and disclaimers on everything! While I do agree that there are times when a label telling us how the improper use of a product may cause harm is appropriate, frivolous lawsuits have made the use of labels a must on everything from balloons to buckets. I can understand a manufacturer wanting to avoid being sued over the obvious misuse of their product. (For some examples of Warning Signs, see page 14)

Nowadays no one seems to want to take responsibility for his own actions. Everything has to be someone else’s fault. In order to try and cover all the bases warning labels have grown in number and scope of idiotic things that must now, it appears, be explained to us.

It doesn’t stop there. Now the government feels the need to save us from ourselves at every turn. Apparently we can’t be trusted to use our common sense anymore. We have to be told what we can and can’t do and if we choose not to take their advice they make it a law so we no longer have a choice.

There are lots of examples of the government overstepping their authority, at least in my mind, but one of the most blatant is the creation of what I call diet police.

Since they don’t think we have the common sense or self control to know what and how much of any given food to eat they’re now going to make that decision for us. It’s gotten to the point where there is now a legal limit on the size of sugared beverages that can be sold New York City.

We need to step up and say enough before it’s too late. If we don’t get back to using our better judgment and soon, we will face a world where all of our choices are made for us. If this trend continues it is quickly going to make common sense, at least for us commoners, obsolete.

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