Does anyone else feel like the world has become a very insane place? Looking at the things we debate about — considering the public policy our government pursues and thinking about the way we live our lives — it seems common sense is harder to find than fly shit in a pepper shaker.
I used to think common sense was just the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18 — the lessons learned from a childhood spent learning by trial and error. Actions speak louder than words. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Practice makes perfect. Don’t whittle toward yourself, or attempt to urinate against the wind. These are just a few of the homespun cliches that illustrate the virtues of plain, pragmatic dealing in thought and deed.
Of course, common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world — for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it, and quick to share of his “bounty” with others. In this, I suppose, I am no exception. But this sense that is so “common” is little more than seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be. It is, in an uncommon degree, what the world calls “wisdom.”
Take something as overwrought and controversial as abortion. I once saw a protestor holding a sign that read: “Don’t want an abortion, don’t get one!” Brilliant. Because, after all, babies just spontaneously appear inside a woman’s body. No, a pregnancy is the direct consequence of certain actions. As the father of five, I’m well-acquainted with the process. Thus, if you don’t want a baby right now, don’t follow the course of action that brings about conception without taking adequate preventative measures. If you never want a child, there’s procedures for that too. Killing the baby seems an absurd final solution for any woman, and something I’ve never understood. Not even on religious grounds, but from a purely humanistic perspective. If it’s wrong to kill people outside the womb, why isn’t it wrong to kill them inside the womb? What’s that you say? They’re not humans? Well, I don’t want to invoke Godwin’s Law here, but that’s the Nazi party line on Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, and pretty much anyone else NOT a Nazi. So, maybe you want to rethink that.
Speaking of needless killing, why can’t we figure out a reasonable compromise to gun control? An accord that respects the Constitution and personal liberty, while also limiting the potential for mass murder from the use of heavy weaponry. I don’t see how small arms and deer rifles are as much an issue as armor-piercing shells and the sort of weapons best used by SWAT teams and the military. Can someone explain the practical domestic uses of an AK-47, an AR-15, or a TEC-9? I grew up out in the backwoods of rural Rusk County, so I understand the uses and virtues of a reliable shotgun or sidearm. But why a gentleman landowner needs the same thing as a Fallujah night watchman… I just don’t get it.
Another hot-button issue in our society right now is gay marriage. Not the matter itself, but strange illogical outworkings that have nothing to do with marriage itself. A photographer being sued for refusing to serve a gay couple, a baker being sued over not making a cake for a gay wedding. Maybe it’s just my own libertarian economic views coming through, but I’m of the mind that any private business should be free to refuse service to any customer they wish. That means gay photographers can refuse to shoot straight weddings. Democrat bakers can refuse to cater a Republican function. If Aggies and Longhorns can refuse to play football on Thanksgiving, I don’t see what’s so reprehensible about private businesses refusing to trade with private citizens. This is America, let the market sort it out. If people think Company A is wrong for excluding a certain demographic, let them punish that company with their wallets. It’s not about Christians or Conservatives (or Conservative Christians), but Americans in general.
On the subject of religion, when did the free expression of faith by individuals or groups become something so terrifying? Yes, I understand not everyone shares my beliefs, and I’m okay with that. But I am a part of the Judeo-Christian tradition whose thread weaves its way throughout the span of what we call Western Civilization. The philosophical justification of our pluralistic society — as well as our due process of law — is built upon the Classical Christian paradigm. Thus, it is wholly reasonable to erect monuments honoring and celebrating that heritage. The United States does not have a cultural legacy of celebrating the teachings of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” or “Baphomet.” Neither elected officials nor criminal witnesses swear-in upon a copy of the “Origin of the Species.” It is not “Nature” that endows us with “certain unalienable rights,” but our Creator. Let’s lose some of the ideological handcuffs of political correctness and let the chips fall where they may. When radical atheism manages to build an empire that survives at least a century (see: Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge) without murdering its citizens (see: China, North Korea), then maybe we’ll see about sculpting some marble pillars.
It is the obvious that’s so difficult to see most of the time. People like to say something is “as plain as the nose on your face,” but how much of the nose on your face can you actually see… unless someone else holds a mirror up to you?