A Critical Defense of Common Sense

Robert Curry’s Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World is a companion volume to his earlier Common Sense Nation. Both books are apologias, defenses against certain attacks by our intellectual and cultural elites on the foundations of American life, which the American Founders understood in terms of “common sense.” As Curry elaborates, “While Common Sense Nation addresses the challenge to the American founding by presenting anew the Founders’ understanding of what they were establishing”—an understanding rooted in Scottish “common sense realism”—“Reclaiming Common Sense takes up . . . the challenge to the foundation of the founding”—commonsense rationality itself. Ultimately, he wants to “restore a trust in common sense and an understanding of its crucial role in our lives” as human beings and as American citizens.

A good catch-all term for the elites’ alternative to common sense is “political correctness,” an ideological party line much akin to the Newspeak of Orwell’s 1984 that tries to prohibit not only honest questions but even acknowledgement of facts in plain view. Who are you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes? And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! From denying basic biology in favor of infinitely fluid “gender identity” to condemning commonsense measures against Islamic terrorism as “Islamophobia,” there is no fact so obvious it won’t be discounted whenever it should cross or inhibit whatever agenda du jour elites deem “progressive.” Political correctness is, in short, a “war on common sense.”

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