What Happened to Common Sense?

I like the articles posted at The Federalist Papers.
They all revolve around the writings of the "Founders" of the USA, the original intent of the Constitution and deviation from those principles in our Law.
They also maintain a large library of original works of the Founders; many, if not most of them downloadable at no cost or obligation - including I believe, the pamphlet mentioned here; Common Sense -  that lit the flame of the Revolution.
From Wikipedia:
Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense was signed "Written by an Englishman", and it became an immediate success.[2] Having sold almost 100,000 copies in 1776[3] and in relative proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of seeking independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[4] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[5] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era".[6]

When Thomas Paine wrote his book “Common Sense,” no one disputed what common sense actually meant.  While some may have objected to Paine’s application of some common sense to political actions, no one argued that his actions were common sense.  The argument at the time was, much like it is now, that common sense must be put aside for a ‘greater good.’
Unfortunately for modern times, when we say ‘common sense,’ it seems pretty clear that a large portion of the American people no longer understands what it means.  Here are some examples:
And I’m sure you could add many, many, many more.  They turn up weekly in the local newspaper.

There can be no political discussion of “common sense legislation” because we have strayed so far from a common understanding of practical application of practical actions to practical matters, that we have to relearn entirely what common sense is.
So we will start with a definition.  According to Merriam Websters Dictionary online, common sense is: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.
I suppose we will need to define what ‘sound and prudent’ means as well.  According to the same dictionary, sound (in this context) means: free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension.  And prudent means:  shrewd in the management of practical affairs.  (You do understand what shrewd is, right?).
“From the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom,” Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Just like a scientist applies what he has learned from observing experiments to avoid the reassertion of a failed theory–a person with common sense does not retry solutions that have failed even though they may try to improve upon solutions that have already succeeded.
When the Founding Fathers were trying to create a new form of government, they took bits and pieces–those that had clearly worked–from classic forms of government and applied what they knew about their own situation to form the Articles of Confederation.  But it failed.
When things fail, it is important to learn the lesson of failure and not reapply the failure in a larger dose.
The many different states in Revolutionary America were still segregated along ideological and theological lines (not unlike today).  They were unable to present a unified front to the outside world while the Federal government was so weak.  This threatened to destroy them from within before the enemy could destroy them from without.
The sound and prudent action taken by the Founding Fathers after the failure of the Articles of Confederation was to use the ideas that HAD worked.  They did more research and discussed other ideas (that’s where the Federalist Papers and Common Sense came in) and came up with a new framework of government we know as the Constitution of the United States.  They even set up a way to make that Constitution amendable to avoid the complete dissolution of the union in case of disagreements.
“And as a man, who is attached to a prostitute, is unfitted to choose or judge of a wife, so any prepossession in favour of a rotten constitution of government will disable us from discerning a good one.” — Thomas Paine, Common Sense
In the past, rules and laws were created to compliment the application of common sense.  Early law enforcement allowed much more flexibility for the justice system to adjust, compromise, dismiss or more heavily enforce based on the case.  Todays laws seem designed to defy flexibility and the application of common sense.  The Three Strikes You’re Out laws in California seemed very reasonable and common sense, until your jails start to fill up with drunks and potheads and you don’t have enough room for murderers and rapists. For many years, there was a zero tolerance rule applied to the law that put non violent offenders away for good, which was neither sound nor practical–especially given California’s economic dilemma.
Zero tolerance creates an intellectual vacuum that allows authority to act and react to every case as if every case were the same.  With the 3 Strikes Law, A rapist is treated the same as a pothead, and that defies common sense.
“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense
We’ve all heard the ‘zero tolerance’ horror stories from schools–a child brings aspirin to school and is suspended for 3 days because aspirin are technically drugs–and we understand that a society filled with rules, laws, regulations, minimum standards, and other such restraints have not made us more able to deal with SIMPLE problems.  We have become unable to, or unwilling to, put our potential response to the test of common sense because we have become reliant on a standard that demands we not think at all, simply follow the rules.
The effect of this is the urge to create new law based on every event that does not conform to the standards instead of waiting through the long process of the justice system to let the public deal with the matter.  Michael Medved calls this the “do something” disease.  When something tragic happens, the public now, instead of applying their own standards of common sense, demand that Congress “do something” about it.  This ‘doing something’ fills up our courtrooms, our classrooms and the halls of congress.  It spends valuable time on things that would be rooted out if allowed to take a careful course measured by common sense.
It may be the era we live in that makes us want ‘instant’ solutions to problems.  We have smart phones, super fast computers and instant messaging.  We have a media that often reacts to a story too quickly rather than carefully or even accurately.  As a people, we have allowed our dependence on technology and our love of multitasking, to push us into sense of urgency where it doesn’t really exist.  We have become used to instant solutions to our problems, but common sense does not always come as quickly as a Google search.

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