COMMON SENSE ?
I’m a big believer in Common Sense. People like to say that Common Sense isn’t so common anymore, and they may be right.
What I think is taking its place is Conventional Wisdom. They are very different cats. Here’s my analogy: If someone was building a house on a cliff – Common Sense would say that they’re crazy. But, Conventional Wisdom would say “Everyone else is, so it must be ok”. Pretty different ways of looking at things.
This is an article that I’ve wanted to write for many years – but it’s difficult to put it into words.
Ironically, I think Common Sense is like that – it’s hard to put into words. It’s gut instinct – you just know it.
Conventional Wisdom is much easier to quantify. CW can be the result of a survey. Your gut might tell you it’s wrong – but the numbers in a survey make it seem scientific. But if a majority of the people in the survey say that the sky is green – that still doesn’t make it correct.
A democracy is a pretty good form of government. As Winston Churchill said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” People want a say in things and I respect that. But that shouldn’t be a license to micro-manage every aspect of life. We elect representatives because we don’t have the time or expertise to make those decisions.
Businesses are too reliant on surveys. A good businessman knows what the customer wants – he’s ahead of the customer. A good politician does the right thing – not run around and read the polls to keep getting elected.
Democracy is a pretty good thing. But mob rule is not a good thing. That’s why we have the Bill of Rights – to protect the individual from the mob.
Unfortunately, Conventional Wisdom can be mob rule. Let’s bring back Common Sense.