Common Sense, which is often lacking in local politics, often gets ridiculed for being overly simplistic.
Common sense is actually applying insight gained by life experience to new situations. This process can also be called the application of wisdom. Many years ago, at Northern Illinois University, there was the same identical paragraph (word for word) in three different text books (math, economics, science). It showed that principles learned in one field can often be successfully applied to other fields.
That is what common sense is. Using what you already know in one field, and then applying it to another.
For example; If you have a bucket of water with a leak in it, no matter how slow the leak may be, eventually all the water in the bucket will be gone. The field of liquid dynamics applies to the related fields of consumption, or erosion of limited resources, and even on into personal freedoms. If erosion is permitted to continue, then eventually whatever is being eroded will be gone.
When viewed over time the difference between the handling of Lake Geneva’s beach, and the BigFoot Park beach come to mind. Lake Geneva residents see their beach as a valuable resource, and the city has maintained that city beach and abated erosion. The beach at Big Foot State Park has not been seen in the same light by the state, or the county, and it has been neglected and left to erode. Today Lake Geneva’s sandy beach is much as it was generations ago; whereas, the beach at Big Foot State Park is virtually gone. The difference between these two beaches is not just the maintenance, but the thinking that guided the decision to maintain, or not to maintain, the beach.
Common sense, or the lack of it. Thinking not only precedes actions, it determines what action should be taken. Common sense tells us that BigFoot beach should have been maintained and that the eroded beach should be rebuilt where it was. Once rebuilt it should be maintained. However, thinking that does not emphasize maintenance, does not recommend rebuilding the beach as it was.
To justify itself and to cover its neglect, that kind of thinking recommended creating a new bigger beach by consuming and converting more park area into a beach and sacrificing and eroding the park’s forest area by re-route a four lane road through it. That would not be repairing something that had been eroded, but creating additional erosion of the park and forest area to compensate for the erosion caused by previous neglect. Common Sense tells us things should be maintained versus neglecting them so that they can, or need to, be replaced. To feel the real impact this difference in thinking has made, just picture if BigFoot’s beach had been maintained, and Lake Geneva’s Beach had been left to erode. BigFoot Beach would be as beautiful as it once was, and much of Lake Geneva’s Library Park would have eroded away and the city might be talking about rerouting Hwy 50 through the city so that they could build a new beach. Fortunately Lake Geneva’s administration got it right and has maintained the city beach.
The rerouting of the road through BigFoot Park failed because residents got it right and stopped that project. “Common core” not “Common sense” is taught today. Towns are replacing items instead of repairing them. Spending is being called investing, and it’s fast replacing saving. Feelings and emotions are replacing facts and logic. Thinking precedes and determines actions, and those actions determine our future. There is a time to think, and a time to act, and the time to think is now. Today’s thoughts determine tomorrow’s future. How appropriate the sign entering Janesville on Hwy 14 and 11 is, which reads in bold print: “Think, it’s not illegal yet”.
Everything effects everything, and things change over time and we understand that, but the laws and principles of nature do not change. Common sense is understanding and applying those principles and laws of nature and science, combined with experience, to everyday living.