Have We Lost Our Common Sense?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The only way to keep the status quo from imploding is to banish common-sense.

I was surprised to find that many people took my satire/parody last month seriously: Obama Administration Proposes 2,300-Page "New Constitution"(October 10, 2013). A number of people wrote me asking for the source of the story, and others chastized me for not labeling the essay "satire/parody," as so many others didn't seem to get the joke. (The permanent link was constitution-parody10-13.)

I thought the absurdity of hundreds of pages of the "New Constitution" being too secret for the public to read (i.e. redacted) would make the joke obvious, but I was wrong: apparently we are collectively ready to believe that an American administration would propose a law of the land that was too secret for the citizenry to read.

Even readers who suspected the post was satirical felt the need to confirm this was indeed the case. Other readers reported the essay had unleashed a torrent of vitriol on other sites' forums.

My first thought was that we may be losing our collective sense of humor. Readers of the zany satirical zine The Onion still appreciate that a good satire takes an element of truth and exaggerates it for humorous effect: for example, today's Onion headline Man Who Drinks 5 Diet Cokes Per Day Hoping Doctors Working On Cure For Whatever He’s Getting.

But as the gulf between the official state-cartel-Empire narrative ("everything is going great, but we will all die if Central Bankers don't run the world") and reality widens, people are losing their ability to separate satire from reality and truth from officially sanctioned fiction ("unemployment rate declines to 7%.")

The strains created by this cognitive dissonance (or perhaps more accurately, a double-bind that leads to alienation and a form of induced madness, as per psychiatrist R.D. Laing's extension of Gregory Bateson's concept) lead to short tempers, loss of perspective, emotional hair-trigger reactions and a host of other unhealthy responses.

The target of my mockery was not the Obama Administration per se but the nonsensical belief that a 1,300-page piece of legislation can possibly accomplish anything but strip us of the ability to actually solve critical problems.

Legislation running into the thousands of pages creates a complexity fortress that protects the state-cartel rentier arrangements that are stripmining our economy and society: sickcare, the financial sector, the defense industry, the national security state, Big Pharma, the educrat/Higher Education cartel, and so on.

The size and complexity of 1,000+ pages of legislation make it impossible for anyone but paid lobbyists and cartel shills to understand the bill's intricacies. The only institutions with the motivation and budget to pore over the thousands of pages are those who need to game the new laws to insure their fat skim of the national income continues to grow.

The citizenry are reduced to sheep led off for shearing--which is of course the whole idea behind 1,000+ page legislation. A 30-page bill might actually be read and understood as a rentier-skimming operation; so the "solution" for cartel-corporate lobbyists and the politico toadies, lackeys and apparatchiks is to embed this systemic predation into a 1,700-page bill that "we have to pass to find out what's in it."

(Nancy Pelosi, welcome to the Orwell Hall of Fame. You have raised the art to a new level.)

But on further reflection, I now think it's even worse than I first thought: we're losing our collective common-sense. Common-sense tells us 1,700-page bills cannot possibly do anything but serve those cartels and constituencies that the bill affects.

Common-sense tells us that a central state shrouded in secrets--not just secret agencies, but what amounts to secret laws and procedures--is incompatible with democracy and liberty.

Common-sense tells us that politicians and "leaders" who approve 1,700-page bills cannot possibly be anything but paid-for toadies, lackeys and apparatchiks.

Common-sense tells us that a stock market that rises over 10% in a few weeks is tracing a trajectory that history informs us is undeniably a bubble--yet our Central Bank (Federal Reserve) "leadership" insists history, fact and common-sense are all wrong: there is no bubble, in any asset class.

If the Fed started buying bat guano and the price subsequently shot up 1,000%, Janet Yellen would be obligated to insist that there was no bubble in the price of bat guano. Our political class of toadies, lackeys and apparatchiks would accept this assurance with a straight face out of fear that any emergence of common-sense might bring their entire edifice of propaganda, deceptions, cover-ups, official half-truths, juiced statistics and central bank manipulation crashing down around them.

The only way to keep the status quo from imploding is to banish common-sense.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
NoDebt's picture

In the Empire of lies, truth is the only treason.

You are here.

knukles's picture

If you like the way healthcare.gov works you can keep Travon


now that makes sense!

ZerOhead's picture

< Obama is a wise environmentalist

< Obama is a fool and a whore


"Have we lost our common sense?"

AP ran an investigation into the government/agroindustry corn>ethanol scam.


Obama is ALL FOR turning the po' folks food supply into Hummer fuel... not to mention the votes & campaign cash it raises.


AlaricBalth's picture

From National Strategy.com

Even in instances of excellent and intellectually adroit leadership, governments can be wrong and entire societies can be wrecked with consequences. Societal groupthink can be avoided if there is an unrelenting desire to challenge prevailing premises and to seek non-confirming opinions, constructed through rigor and common sense, without assuming away the possibility of unintended consequences.

Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms
The words that are used in discussion, debate, and argumentation are sometimes misunderstood and frequently misused. This is a barrier to critical thinking. The following glossary of terms may be useful as they are applied to examples of non-critical thinking.

Argument: a statement of a point of view and the evidence that supports it in a way that is intended to persuade others; a line of reasoning; assertion of claims or declarations accompanied by supporting data.

Aspiration: a hoped-for result that is subjective, rather than based on objective reality.

Assertion: a forceful statement of belief that may be used to intimidate non-believers.

Assumption: ideas that are taken for granted and assumed that others share the same assumptions; they are usually implied, rather than expressed. Unwarranted assumptions prevent thinking about useful questions and exploring the consequences that flow from assumptions. Assumptions are made when there is doubt, when it cannot be said with certainty that a fact is correct. There is a need to probe for the unstated assumption.

Attitude: a belief expressed indirectly. It is a filter that categorizes others and their arguments as being favorable or unfavorable; it can be a barrier to civil discussion.

Belief: a firmly held position that something is true or real; and that if your belief differs from mine, you and your belief are wrong.

Bias: a personal perspective based on one’s life experience; the bias of others prevents them from reaching sound judgments and conclusions; "my bias is appropriate."

Cascade of error: if a fundamental premise is erroneous, this error becomes the foundation for subsequent errors.

Civility: recognition that people who have opposing views are not evil and that their arguments may have merit.

Connectivity: recognition that situations are usually complex and that the facts, principles, and concepts of one situation are connected to other issues and disciplines.

Error: persistence in one’s opinions, rather than self-education when inconsistent facts are presented; opinions that are argued without being tested.

Evidence: reliable information that supports an opinion.

Experts: people who offer opinions that are useful, but may be frequently wrong.

Fact: an event that is amply documented and affirmed; when it is highly likely that an element is true and can be empirically tested; facts are frequently judgmental. Witnesses to the same events frequently give vastly different versions of the same event.

Gullibility: the failure to think critically about a proposition.

Ideology: personal convictions that are unmovable; the counter-convictions of others are offensive.

Incredibility: as practiced by con men, it is a repetition of a false fact, or withholding of a fact that is known to be true.

Judgment: the ability to make considered decisions that will result in favorable conclusions.

Logic: a set of rules used to determine whether an argument is sound or unsound; in its most rigorous form it is based on mathematical formulae.

Manipulation: as practiced by con men, it is based on dishonest reporting of facts that are either nonexistent or known to be false.

Opinion: statements of belief that are not universally true.

Premise: an assumption upon which reasoning proceeds to reach a conclusion.

Post Hoc: an error in logic – that something which occurred earlier in time will repeat itself.

Reasoning: the process of forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from premises or facts.

Deductive Reasoning: a process in which conclusions drawn from a set of premises contain no more information than the premises; based on assumed certainty.

Inductive Reasoning: the truth of the conclusion is verifiable in terms of future experience; certainty is attainable only if all possible instances have been examined.

Selective perception: focus on what is pleasant and supports our opinion.

Simplification: making a situation simpler by focusing on its most important elements. It can also be a tool for inaccurately or dishonestly summarizing a complex situation. There are no shortcuts.

Thinking: a conscious, controlled activity that can be improved by training and intellectual exercise.

Truth: the accurate representation of objective reality.

Pure Evil's picture

Just like in the old USSR the mundanes won't get it until the grocery store shelves are practically empty and the only thing to purchase for food are turnips.

Bohm Squad's picture

...and there appears to be no cookbook for such a circumstance...




I smell a niche market...!

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Most Americans are fat, dumb, lazy and ignorant. They wish to stay that way as long as they have their Bread and Circuses. Disgusting to the core!

fonestar's picture

Worry about your cognitive dissonance first and the common sense can come after.  After spending much time here and on other "alternative" sites it's pretty clear that most are having difficulty escaping their cartel-based brainwashing and societal conditioning.  They claim to be an alternative but they're happy when their silver is worth more "dollars" and they are sad when their silver is worth less "dollars".

When your enemy controls your perception, your enemy controls you. 

AldousHuxley's picture

There is no escape. We are our worst enemy. The human motives for better lives are being used to pit one worker against another. 

Obama is a worker too. Do you think he likes to lie for a living? If Obama was a billionare he probably will hired someone to do the lying for him.


But society determines who can play dirty and get way.

The Alarmist's picture

You cannot look at the headlines of the last 3 years and not be totally de-sensitised to what might come next; a 2000+ page constitution, much of which is secret, is no longer beyond the realm of possibility, so why should it be a surprise that satire is no longer immediately accepted merely as satire?

AldousHuxley's picture

laws are written to provide credibility to the law writers. But the powers that be are above the law because they can change it.

MontgomeryScott's picture

Hijacking your b.s. post, SAL(dous huxley):

'Laws' are written for the PTB, by those who see themselves as ABOVE it.

Eating a 1-pound burger, and some fries, I am listening to Pink Floyd, trying to fathom your thoughts.


I find upon further reflection that your statement is correct.

My apologies.



Frozen IcQb's picture

Obama wants to re-write the greatest document in the history of humanity?

Joke or no-Joke, I would not put it past him.

What an AH and a tyrant!



AldousHuxley's picture

common sense and rational decision making is a modern luxury.

World was dominated by warlords. 

As long as people still worship "leaders" they will have to play by the game of power struggles.

FredFlintstone's picture

Zerohead, do I take it you are married?

tvdog's picture

AP ran an investigation into the government/agroindustry corn>ethanol scam.

Just listened to a scam artist on Coast-to-Coast claiming "alcohol" was the solution to the world's energy problems. The clue was that he was selling home distilleries. (Guess what his religion was?)

He favored requiring all gasoline sold in the U.S. be 30% ethanol. No mention of what that would do to people's engines (never put ethanol in a motorcycle).

daveO's picture

The Emperor has no clothes! 

Dr. Sandi's picture

Not only that. She's a man, baby!

The Alarmist's picture

I got the impression it was the other way around.

AldousHuxley's picture

Emperor is a puppet of his advisors. Always has been. 

Keyser's picture

Reports that Obama marginalizes his Cabinet and relies heavily on his inner circle explains the myopic view of this administration and their desire for secrecy. It's madness that the US is in control of these amateurs. 


czardas's picture

I have watched the disappearance of common sense from the American landscape ever since I arrived 30 years ago.  People have told me that the things talked about seriously today would have been thought insane just a few years earlier - scams like SS, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, the idea that someone who doesn't know you should tell you what to buy, sell, wear, eat, produce or say.   

It's especially among the youth that we see a tremendous loss of critical thinking.  They will, therefore, accept everything from  pseudoscience to belief in the healing power of bureaucrats and the morality of politicians. The loss of critical thinking has led to a downward spiral in journalism (everything is ideological), academics and politicians who now actually believe their own lies - that we can borrow forever without consequences. 

Kayman's picture

"The loss of critical thinking"? So you are trying to tell me that Dr. Phil, Oprah, Facebook, Twit(er) and "Reality" TV aren't a substitute for critical thinking ? Whoda thunk it ?

I especially enjoy peaking at Mantracker feigning difficulty finding his "prey" while a camera crew is filming the "prey".

Somebody's just got to do a "reality" TV show about filming "reality" TV shows. Jeez, Todd Hoffman probably is a smart cookie that the producer just wants to dumb down.

smartstrike's picture

To paraphrase what someone else wrote, the empire where defense contractors multiply as cockroaches.

Flakmeister's picture

.  Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

Albert Einstein

knukles's picture

I thought it was a pamphlet by Thomas Payne which encouraged the Colonials to revolt against unjust governance .


That or not letting kids have the keys to the car and a bottle of Wild Turkey at the same time.

Come to think of it........

Flakmeister's picture

Re: Paine: Yes, but in all fairness, that form of Common Sense is relatively valued idea in the minds of many...

AlaricBalth's picture

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer...
Thomas Paine

"...We furnish the means by which we suffer. "

Think about that statement. We suffer at the hands of those whom we elect. We provide them the boots with which they stomp our necks. We enable them to spend massive amounts of money to listen, read and watch our every move.

It is our responsibility to end this madness. We allowed it to happen by our apathy. We allowed it to happen by our false need for security. We allowed it to happen by our fear of the consequences which could result by taking a stand.

Ideals can be contagious and all it takes is a few courageous souls to bring about the wildfire which will clear out all the old forest and allow new growth to flourish.

Flakmeister's picture

I was referring to what those loyal subjects of the Crown back in Jolly old england might think to be common sense at the time... Yeah, I guess it was too subtle..

But a nice post on your behalf, without a doubt... But I think the Age of Revolution is over though... it's going to be collapse that brings change...

rbg81's picture

Common Sense is also what often saves our bacon.  

One problem with modern society is that technology and government provide a buffer from, and sometimes enable, the foolishness of people's choices.

If not for the safety net, many HOs would be lying in the street starving with their kids.  Thanks to generous entitlements, their lifestyle is enabled, even encouraged, by the Government, at the expense.  Meanwhile, the people who bust hump to actually fund this largesse often feel they can't afford to have kids.  Is that fair?

Keyser's picture

The only problem is that common sense is not so common any more. The age of Idiocracy is upon us, literally. 

1223pm's picture

So, do you mean common sense says lady gaga has a dick?

savedbyfreethought's picture

The foolishness is not just enabled by technological advances but also by the loss of principles.

E.g. Schools no longer teach children of any principles but only practical rules like "don't be late" or "do your homework" to keep the status quo running smoothly.

When everyday decisions are no longer directed by principles but short term convenience the result is a gradual fuck up of this world by reasons like "this is how the system works" or "this is how the game is played", they are reasons that sound smart in the first instance but are in fact total BS when you think about them carefully.

And finally people wake up one day and wonder why this world is so fucked up, well it wouldn't be if it's not because they fucked it up in the first place.

But then perhaps this is a blessing in disguise, after all who can survive in a world that is so fucked up unless they themselves are crazy and fucked up too. Bad money drives out good ...

zhandax's picture

"this is how the system works" or "this is how the game is played"

Don't forget higher education where they are taught "this is how the system is gamed".

czardas's picture

I cannot remember a single incident where my parents or teacher said, "You should not kill or rob or hate because that is wrong."  They assumed we had common sense and knew that takingn property or life or irrational hatred was wrong.  Schools should not have to instill morality - in fact, they can't.  No child can live life from a classroom.  It's explains the utter failure of well-meaning folks to battle urban problems.  It's easy to follow rules in school but life is different, especially when the only person you've ever know with a steady job was your teacher or momma's latest boyfriend wants to get friendly.  School should teach respect and awareness - the good should come naturally.

FredFlintstone's picture

Yes, I down voted Albert Einstein. Guess I am not too smart.

booboo's picture

Einstein was a brilliant mathematician but a compete fool when it came to personal freedom and thought a panel of three or four men should make all decisions for all society. Sound familiar?

Oldwood's picture

Thats what happens when you feel smarter than everyone else. It doesn't hurt to have those feelings confirmed by other either. We see this in almost every group of celebrities. Elites have a need or compulsion to tell others how to live and act and have no concept of freedom except as to how it pretains to themselves.

Wahooo's picture

Indeed. Sounds tribal.

MontgomeryScott's picture

Oh, fucking SERIOUSLY!

Who could 'down-arrow' the smartest fucking man ever born (besides Jesus Christ)?

NEXT: The plebes tell us that E really doesn't equal MC squared...


tvdog's picture

Einstein was brilliant, but he had to have missed something. His theories explain gravity, but none of the other three fundamental forces, and even Einstein's gravitational principles don't work without "dark matter" that no one can seem to find.

Colonel Klink's picture

I'd say Tesla would give Einstein a run for his money as the smartest man.

Kayman's picture

"Smartest" depends on the field. But in Physics, Max Planck was easily Einsteins equal, while James Clerk Maxwell was, "The Man who changed Everything".

LetThemEatRand's picture

Common sense tells us that the entire Team oriented political system is intentionally designed and operated to divide (and conquer) us while both Teams pursue the same fundamental course of enriching those who fund them, yet 90+% of the population cheers their Team and anxiously awaits the next election so they can "change" things.  For example, most people see something like Obamacare through a Team lens, when it is nothing more than a continued transfer of wealth to a few huge companies and a further clamp down by the police/nanny state.   The Patriot Act, NSA, CIA, the MIC, the Fed, the militarized police, are uniformally supported by both Teams.

Jack Burton's picture

But isn't the corporate police state better under Republicans? Look at Obama Care, this alone is going to bring down the entire nation into a heap of smouldering ashes. Now a Republican would put health care into the private sector and prices would fall as quality of outcomes rocketed upward. And war, Republicans would win the wars Obama is too afraid to win. It must seem clear that the Spy State would be a better one is the Republican House had more oversight. Team Red would really shake up team blues fuck ups and put us on the rails to free market prosperity. This is current;y believed by a good % of those who read this, even here on ZH. The religion of Republicanism versus the liberal religion of Democratic hope and change. Those who are still blinded by this fake game are hopelessly unable to process what is really happening. I offer the Bush 8 years and the state of America on the day Bush handed power to Obama, and Obama's hope and change agenda as proof. Some refuse to accept the known truth of the Bush era, others still support Obama in belief he is liberal and a champion of the workers. Unless a person can drop the two party hoax, then there is no hope for them to really get what is happening. Team Romney would have done what? Just what Obama did in 99% of cases.

One party the elite's party, they rule, you are ruled. A vote for either party is a wasted vote.


Oldwood's picture

Now that you bring it up, I guess if we must live under a corrupt authoritarian rule, I would rather it be a "winning" one rather than the inept embarrassing clusterfuck we currently have. Does that make me evil? Or are we supposed to just bite down on the cyanide tablet in shame instead?

LetThemEatRand's picture

So long as you're voting your Team, you are part of the problem.  But you think that your view of the lesser of evils is less evil, like most of humanity so here we find ourselves.   Evil is evil.

Keyser's picture

Which is the paradox of the matrix. The illusion is that the sheeple can effect change, when nothing could be further from the truth. This is the red pill moment of epiphany for many as they awaken to the lie which we have been fed for decades. The American Dream is actually becoming a debt slave to the established. A productive eater, so to speak. 

James-Morrison's picture

Don't blame me.

I always vote for the guy NOT in office.

Always keep the "Career" politicians out, and the best way to do that is: Vote, One and Done!

Why is that such a hard thing to do?

It's a poor man's attempt at term limits (a policy supported by the majority of both red and blue voters, but can NEVER be implemented by the corrupt career dweebs).

I have a dream. Sooner or later it will happen (imagine how long it took for a group of sporting fans to start the wave -- before there was a wave)

I am that lone guy, in seat C128 standing up and pulling the non-Incumbant lever, regardless of which flag they are waving.

123dobryden's picture

and what are You going to do about it?


Osama saw this concentrated power in the US, and attacked its heart, attacked its symbol. Worldtrade is not a world trade, let alone free, better say world trade under america's terms. And with one stroke of an airplane, which cost  few mil. forced evil  hand  to spend  trilions and most probably cut the time to its fall by few years, as a  cherry on  top, evil hand is now more and  more hated worldwide.


 and what are You going to do about it?