Or should it be Common Sense as opposed to Politics?
Common sense is no longer common; it is now so uncommon as to be a superpower. Ironically, it is so easy to see what the common sense approach is in any situation–and to act on it. Let’s talk about how.
Everyone has a place they can go to in their heads to hear themselves tell the truth. There may be a physical place you go to that helps in this process, but all it really requires is some quiet, and an attitude of listening for the truth without bringing in any notions or biases to cloud the listening. We take no agendas with us in here, save listening for the truth. And if you have not already discovered what place is for you, look for it. And look quietly and easily. You’ll find it.
Let’s apply common sense to some of today’s controversial issues. Ready? Remember, we are going to relax, quiet down, and listen to the truth as it comes to us. Not the thinking we indulge in when we are looking for reasons to support our various preconceived notions. The Bible advises, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Here, just be still and rely on your instincts, your inner wisdom, the core of you to guide your thoughts.
Simple sayings and stories can often provide deceptively powerful advice. We’ll look at some of them together. Do you remember the story about the scorpion and the frog? They both needed to cross a river, and the scorpion asked the frog for a ride. Fearing what might happen, the frog demurred, with the scorpion promising, oh-so-sincerely, not to sting and kill the frog. The frog relented. After ferrying the scorpion safely across, the frog saw the scorpion aim his lethal stinger and plunged it directly into him. The frog’s last words were, “How could you? You betrayed me!” The scorpion, replied, “No”, I did not betray you. You knew all along that I was a scorpion.”
We know that the leaders of both Iran and North Korea are scorpions. And we know the same about Hamas in Gaza. Now stop, if you are at all tempted to raise your voice in defense of any or all of them, pause and think. North Korea is a third-generation hereditary dictatorship. It is basically a prison camp of 28 million people, with only the elite having anything approaching an acceptable life. Iran is a theocratic, Muslim, specifically, dictatorship. Remember: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” John Dalberg-Acton. What part of common sense would lead anyone to think that either leadership could be trusted with anything that is not checked and doubled-checked on a routine basis? And none of that checking is worth anything if you cannot swiftly punish infractions.
Hamas is only slightly different in that it was elected. But, then again, so was Hitler. (Did you know that?) And like Hitler, Hamas used an election to establish dictatorial powers. And unlike Hamas’ neighboring opponents who use their military to defend its citizens, including women and children, Hamas puts women and children in front of its military; partly as a shield and partly as a heartless political and public relations ploy to exploit them when when they are harmed.
No matter what they say, administrations like those of Iran, North Korea and Gaza will sting you as soon as they can without harming themselves. Like the scorpion in our story, they will sting you, attack you with everything they have, as soon as they no longer need you. Remember, the frog was not an enemy–just no longer useful. But the scorpion was always a scorpion.
Now let’s take three examples that are closer to home. We’ll start with Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Isn’t there only one common sense explanation as to why anyone would go through the not inconsiderable added cost, time and inconvenience of having and maintaining their own private server when your employer had all of the required hardware, software and a full support staff? Why? To have the ability to erase emails, and not have them backed up by your IT department. That’s it. No other explanation. And if you want to vote for her, or otherwise support her, have at it. But at least tell the truth to yourself.
Now let’s look at Trump. Some of the things he said during and after the campaign were simply out-of-bounds unacceptable. Like his comments about John McCain not being a hero because he had allowed himself to be captured. Or the crack he made about Megyn Kelly bleeding from her female parts–then lacked the courage to admit what he said. Or the less well known time when he repeatedly berated the local fire marshal in front of a sympathetic crowd for not allowing more people to attend his rally in violation of the fire codes. Once again, support who you want, but be honest about who they are.
“Hands up, don’t shoot!” Remember that one? This is the statement that Michael Brown was said to have made just before he was fatally shot by the police in Ferguson, Mo., igniting ongoing anti-police and anti-government rage. Over ten witnesses claimed to have seen Mr. Brown in that position, saying exactly that to the cop who shot him. None of the witnesses were willing to testify under oath. More tellingly, none of the witnesses produced a single photo or video. If what they had seen had actually happened, don’t we know that more than one video or photo would have emerged and gone instantly viral? Yet people still believe this obvious lie. Please, oh please, when we put our thoughts together about anything, we must insist that they be based on truth. Not what we want to believe–no matter how fervently we want to believe it.
Let’s deal with one last issue: debt; public debt in this case–local, state and federal. And we’ll remind ourselves of another well-known story; that of Hans Christian Anderson’s Emperor’s New Clothes. This familiar story starts with the Emperor’s tailors convincing him they have indeed fashioned the most elegant suit of regal clothing in history. Regal beyond anything any other monarch has ever worn but invisible to anyone who just doesn’t “get it.” The Emperor is convinced he “gets it” and sees himself arrayed in this finery, even though he is walking around in his birthday suit. Everyone else claims to “get it” and see the royal garments until a small child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all.”
You have heard some people say that governments must have budgets like families, and if they don’t they face the same type of dire consequences. Others, the louder voices, claim this analogy is naive nonsense because, unlike families, governments have the power to raise revenues through taxation, and the federal government can simply create more money to pay its bills. These are the tailors in our story, claiming that all will be well even with continually mounting debt, and if you are a doubter, you just don’t “get it.”
But the analogy holds true. Have and hold to a budget, or face the consequences–including going broke. This basic law of money holds true about individuals, families and governments. Governments can spend money they don’t have by borrowing, taxing its citizens or, in the case of the feds, simply creating more money. People can spend money they don’t have by borrowing. We can borrow from banks and other lending institutions, buy things and pay over time, run up credit cards and get new credit cards to pay off the old ones. And after people eventually run out of borrowing capacity, they can simply stop paying bills and hold out for more months.
Governments are exactly the same. At some point they run out of borrowing capacity and their taxpayers will have had enough. Governments creating new money to pay old debts are like people who simply try to keep going by stopping paying their bills; it buys time but does not solve anything. Eventually we get thrown out of our homes, carless and phoneless. Flat on our butts. Governments that buy time by inflating the money supply eventually find that their currency is worthless. And they, like an individual, are flat on their butts. The small child who saw the Emperor as naked as indeed he was had common sense. Let’s all have common sense and call things the way they actually are. In this case, insurmountable debt, is well, insurmountable.
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It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Results With Reason, it is not only change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.