Court TV is good at using common sense for its rulings, but to really apply common sense, a Ministry of Common Sense should be established at government levels.


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 René Descartes (1596-1650), “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 Ministry of Common Sense. It was by and large well-received, except for some critics who wanted to upgrade it to a Ministry of Common Denomination, since it’s all about euros and dollars, which makes sense.

Take for example the useless embargo against North Korea for fulfilling China’s strategy in the Far East. If the North Korean elite wishes for Hermes bags, it would be sufficient to send a driver to the bordering towns of Ji’an or Dandong to get them.

Another example of a “common denomination” can be found in mergers and acquisitions, which are never in favor of common sense (to the detriment of poor consumers).

Then we have the airwaves, which nowadays, are mostly crowded with nonsensical programs that preach to the choir. Years ago, radio and television broadcasts were full of sci-fi shows about extraterrestrials. Today, there are shows featuring the extremists: the radical chic, the white supremacists, the intolerant, the resentful, the nationalists, the Antifa, the Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, the politically correct, the vegans, the machine-gun lovers, the alt-right, the Christopher Columbus statue haters…

Court TV cannot deal with these modern extraterrestrials, but if I were to be appointed Minister of Common Sense, my ruling metrics would be simple: A decision is fair and just if contested by extremists, special interests or lobbyists.

(By Dom Serafini)

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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