At one point on U.S. television, there were 20 court shows on the air, a wave that began with Judge Judy in 1996. Today, the number has reduced to 10, showing that they're still somewhat popular, although not nearly as much as they used to be. Interestingly, many don't rely on the rule of law, but on common sense, which can be more challenging than it sounds.
According to French philosopher Rene Descartes (15961650), "Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it."
But some 15 years after Descartes' death, another French philosopher, Voltaire (1694-1778), changed the outlook by declaring, "Common sense is not so common."
This reminds me of my cardiologist, who, after forbidding me from eating eggs, said that new research now allows one per week. But, he warned, "Do it fast before we change our minds!"
Indeed, there is nothing "common" about common sense. In actuality, it is a rare commodity to have common sense, which makes it an oxymoron.
It is unfortunate that philosophers have been racking their brains over common sense since the times of Greek thinker Aristotle (384-322 BC), yet have been unable to come up with a common solution.
Today, however, more than a philosophical question, common sense has become a political movement--one that most likely began with Thomas Paine's 1775 pamphlet "Common Sense," which advocated independence from Great Britain by the 13 colonies. The paternity can be attributed to the populist Paine because in modern times liberals see common sense as a conservative trait and a populist movement.
Since common sense is now a politically charged play, in an article for an Italian daily newspaper, AmericaOggi, I proposed the creation of a governmental...