What is ‘common sense’? Is it ‘kitchen table logic’ or cheap demagoguery?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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If you’re overwhelmed with talk of a government shutdown (who isn’t), perhaps it’s time to engage in an academic discussion.

Today’s question to ponder is: What is “common sense”?

To some, it is  the profound “kitchen table logic” of the masses.  To some, it is a force powerful enough to inspire a revolution (for example, the arguments found in Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, which helped inspire the American Revolution.)  And to others, it is simply a form of demagoguery employed by populist politicians.

I had the chance to interview Sophia Rosenfeld, the author of the new book (out in May), “Common Sense: A Political History”.

We explored the roots, rationale, and intricacies of the seemingly simple topic “common sense,” including Ronald Reagan’s effective co-opting of Paine’s legacy.  We also discussed why today’s modern and “sophisticated” society might turn populism into a concept of the past.

Far from an outdated or irrelevant topic, common sense runs deep through American history, and continues to be an important factor in shaping our public policy.

Enjoy the full podcast here.

Matt K. Lewis