Common Sense is a Rare Commodity

When I lived in London, I was entertained on occasion by walking to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park and listening to people babble on about this and that while standing on their box. Since 1989 was a volatile year in world history, they had many topics to spout off on – Tieneman Square, the Berlin wall, Czechoslovakia, poll taxes, IRA bombings.

For most Americans, those things were millions of miles away. For me, they were in my back yard, part of everyday life.

The English are different than Americans when it comes to debating. Whether as part of their schooling or as a genetic mutation from all that “stiff upper lip” thing, they know how to debate a topic, no matter what the topic is, without getting all emotionally dramatic and losing their minds. In an odd way, participating in such discussions with them was very freeing in comparison to the norms of life in America.

When I came home from living abroad, I couldn’t watch the news any more. The broad claims and wild speculations with unsupported facts seemed like a joke, a farcical comedy aimed at indoctrinating a nation rather than informing them of the news.

Twenty-five years later, my viewpoint on it hasn’t changed. But escaping the farcical propaganda isn’t as easy as just turning off the tv any more because it has invaded Facebook, Google, and most topic boards on the internet.

The thing that bothers me the most about the mindless claims and dramatic positions people take up on topics ranging from gardening to police brutality to child rearing to the weather is that common sense seems to be lacking. And placing blame is somehow mandatory.

Yesterday, one such post and the comments on it finally made me speak up … a little. Someone was posting on “chem-trails” and how they were poisoning the earth and causing our home gardens to fail. They believe that the trails that airplanes leave in the sky are laced with pesticides and herbicides and chemical weapons that are raining down on us, slowly killing us and everything living on the planet.

I had to laugh. As a matter of fact, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Even when someone explained what really causes the trails in the sky behind an airplane, the poster began claiming that the explanation was just educated propaganda and went on to declare all educated people stupid for believing the lies of the government.

So, we’re supposed to believe their propaganda instead???

I don’t get it. Why can’t people think any more? What are they doing with all those brain cells? What is stopping them from looking at all the evidence they can find and then forming their own opinion on the matter?

Hundreds of web sites exist … and the library is still in operation … Both places have masses of information, some valid some not-so-much. It isn’t hard to find information on almost any topic you want.

So why is it so hard for people to find that information and use it?

This poster claimed that she could prove that these so called “chem trails” existed because she had a garden inside her greenhouse that was growing well and one outside that didn’t grow at all and therefore “chem trails” existed.

Um, what about weather? what about the water you used to grow both? what about the micro-environments that were formed? what about exposure to pests? or your neighbors lawn mower? was the greenhouse completely atmosphere proof so that nothing from the “outside” environment could get in? did they filter the air? did they not walk in and out the door or raise the sides on hot days?

It was like saying “two plus two equals five because I wrote it down on a piece of paper that way.”

And of course, then someone had to respond to the post with the argument about vaccines causing autism. I’m not sure what that had to do with heirloom and organic gardening, but every time a controversial subject comes up people lose their minds and start ranting on everything under the sun.

Common sense folks. Learn to use it. Ask questions. Be informed. Come to your own conclusions. And quit blaming. It’s not that hard.

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