Voltaire: Common Sense is not that common…

Voltaire said it, and I believe it.  We are surrounded by knuckleheads.

  • Government idiots and the idiots that elect them do not understand governance.
  • They do not understand budgets (both federal and public debt each are about $14 Trillion).
  • They do not understand the importance of education for our children, but waste billions of  tax dollars on both supporting teacher’s unions and tests that do not help our kids, but rather get in the way of real progress.
  • The public insists on Congress fixing our economy, but insist they cannot touch their pet programs (military, Medicare, Social Security, farm aid, you name it).
  • Recent studies show only 1/4 of kids know that George Washington was the first president.
  • People choose addictions over freedom: drugs, pornography, sex, television, video games, gambling, etc.
  • People select movie, sports, and rock stars as the heroes they want to emulate.
  • They keep watching to see what Snooky will do next.
  • They choose to live on the political extremes of liberalism/conservatism or choose to be Democrat/Republican because their great-grandparents were, rather than carefully study each issue out and figure out what really works.
  • Wars on drugs and poverty that have only exacerbated the problem.
  • TSA and IRS were created to solve problems.
  • The stimulus package paid off banks, corporations and unions, but average people who now owe $14 Trillion still are losing their homes.
  • Paul Krugman and Al Gore both have Nobel Prizes.  So does President Obama for just being elected, but not really accomplishing anything.

Do you have any other reasons to add to the list proving that Common Sense is Not Common?

Or would you bravely try and disprove Voltaire?

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery (joelsmonastery.blogspot.com). He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

16 thoughts on “Voltaire: Common Sense is not that common…

  1. Is it common sense to stress about things that we can’t affect?

    I’m not trying to be snarky, just bring up a point. Truthfully, I could spend twenty hours a week trying to inform myself on political issues in order to make good voting decisions and not make one lick of difference. Or I could spend those twenty hours taking care of things that are in my stewardship.

  2. SR,

    I think we do have to use our time effectively. At the same time, we can affect change by contacting our Congress members and president. We can speak out against wrongs, and help sway public opinion towards common sense.

    That is what the Tea Party is attempting to do, whether one agrees with them or not. They have joined together and created a source of power and influence.

    Protecting and defending our freedoms IS part of our stewardship in this nation. and it is hard and sometimes fruitless work. But to quit means that the idiots will have won.

  3. Was that Amalekiah or our vice president Joe Biden who said that?

    Why does freedom frighten so many people? Are they so entrenched in slavery that they would prefer the flesh pots of Egypt over freedom? I wonder what it must be like to sell one’s soul for a mess of pottage and then try and look oneself in the mirror?

  4. SR – I felt and still feel exactly the same way. I remember thinking I could practically wear out and waste my entire life if I wanted to get involved in trying to right certain wrongs. Then I went to church and someone in a completely unrelated way pointed me to D&C 123:12-14. Then I felt like I had some kind of responsibility, which to I suppose to my shame I’m still shirking.

  5. -sigh- Probably because so many have been victims of others’ freedom.

    Rameumptom—I’m just trying to say that there are more battles than one to fight, and I just don’t feel that I can ever really come to an understanding of what is going on in those spheres. Sure, I could write to my congressman until the cows come home, but I’d be writing in ignorance. I’m grateful and glad that there are those who are informed enough to write, so I’m not trying to knock it. Just trying to point out that people are lazy dogs for directing their energies elsewhere.

    So long as they are directing them to doing good, and not to rooting for their favorite football team.

    chris—Can that not be done in our own sphere to more effect? I’m not saying we should bury our heads in the sand. I’m saying that some of us have to pick our battles.

  6. SR, I don’t have a problem in people seeking to do good in many areas of need.

    However, it seems like many people without thinking seem to always go to government to solve every problem and to get money. If more people sought to resolve problems without government involvement, our nation would be in very good shape.

    For example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an awesome organization that benefits many quality programs. They don’t just toss money out to those with their hands out. They research the programs to ensure they get the best bang for the buck. And it is making a big difference in the world without wasting tons of money. Imagine if every person paid 10% tithe to their favorite charity. We wouldn’t need government welfare!

    Sadly, most people are now narcissists. I noted in a previous post a recent study that showed that kids now rate fame and personal glory as the most important attribute, whereas from 1967-1997 community involvement and service were most important. We do not teach kids to serve and improve the world they live in, we now teach them that the government will provide for everything.

    So, it may be that we need to do what John Adams said about hopes and realities: I study war and politics today, so my children can study math and science, so their children may someday study art and music….

  7. Ram, just to add some weight to what you said, Heber J Grant said, “Every living soul among the Latter-day Saints that fasts two meals once a month will be benefited spiritually and be built up in the faith of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ—benefited spiritually in a wonderful way—and sufficient means will be in the hands of the bishops to take care of all the poor.”

    That says “all the poor”. I suppose that means all the poor in the church. But the concept would scale well enough if everyone in the world would fast 2 meals once a month and pay a generous fast, then the poor could be taken care of. Of course, since the world can not agree on what it means to take care of the poor and views blessings from your neighbor as something to which you are entitled to take, not entitled to expect (with the receipt of that blessing is subject to the heart of the giver); then I suppose we won’t be seeing that fulfillment anytime soon.

  8. Ram, if the Nobel prize is meaningless (or at least just a political device) then isn’t the best thing to do is ignore it all together? (Which implies not being suprized in the first place.)

  9. “The American people are idiots” is a refrain you often hear from the liberal elitists, but I’ve not heard it often from conservatives. Liberals might add the populist perceptions of Obama as a Muslim, the Birther movement, American exceptionalism in the face of growing decline, etc.

    I personally think that it’s not the stupid Americans that are the problem. The stupid Americans can be easily manipulated by the smart people, so they really don’t matter. They go in whatever direction the wind blows.

    The dangerous Americans are the ones that know too much for their own good. These are the ideologues, the dogmatists, the fanatics, the armchair politicians, the town hall goers. These are the ones that think our politicians are all idiots, and we need to throw them all out. These are the ones that are constantly calling their congressmen, instead of letting them do their job.

    You don’t get to congress by being stupid. You get to congress by being an extraordinary political dancer. You have to know how to balance power with productivity, how to game the system, how to fool the fools. These guys have incredible instincts. They are very clever. The best ones are those that can out-maneuver their opponents. You can’t trust anything they say without exception, because it’s all a game.

    But when the rubber hits the road, when they really have power, and when they really are completely accountable, they run to the center, because that is the safest and most sensible place to be, where the the majority of the “experts” are. Nixon becomes an environmentalist, Reagan raises taxes, Bush adds entitlements and TARP, Clinton balances the budget, Obama becomes a military hawk.

    The center I believe, is where real common sense lies.

  10. Bruce, the Nobel Prize used to mean something. And for some, it still does. You have two different points of view, and one holds the NP, which one possibly holds more sway?

    Nate, there is a difference between being smart and being clever. Those clever people are the ones that find their way into power and keep themselves in power, but do not have the brains to govern properly. This is why our nation is trillions of dollars in debt, with the debt heading to double within 10 years. Why is Nancy Pelosi still powerful? Because she is clever. Why is Harry Reid still a senator? Because he is more clever than was his opponent (and she was very dumb, as well). But they don’t have the brains nor intelligence to figure out that debt destroys, and they all should have been eager to cut it drastically back over the next ten years – say by 5-10 Trillion. The cuts for the debt increase only cut into future debt, not into existing debt. We’ll only increase the debt by $10 trillion over the next decade, not by $13 trillion….

    As it is, few in Congress, such as Rand Paul, have shown plans that do any real cutting.

    That people still insist on cutting without touching their entitlements, shows that they are not smart. Or they are in denial of the severity of the situation we are in. And so the clever politicians punt the ball further down the road, hoping they will collect their huge pension before it all comes crashing down.

  11. Nate, in one of the BoM’s specific discussion of leadership related to politics, we have the following: “…if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.”

    Your claim that good common sense is represented by politicians running to the center of popular opinion to maintain support is only accurate as long as the above scripture is never true. If the people never choose wrongly, then the politicians are making the pragmatic, “correct” decisions by appealing to the center. On the other hand, I think, and I think the BoM predicts this and demonstrates it time and time again, that we have generational cycles where the people drift over the decades into increasingly bad decisions, which ends up with the people effectively choosing iniquity.

  12. Thanks, Chris. When the Book of Mormon notes that it is okay to be learned as long as one is humble, I see it in this exact context. When people are learned, but not willing to listen to God’s truth, they think themselves wise and know it all. Just look at how Paul Krugman thinks we haven’t spent nearly enough to fix the economy and our debt problem! And they’ve somehow found it fitting to give him a Nobel in Economics for his learned stupidity?

    Only when we recognize, as did Socrates, that we basically know nothing, can we begin to really learn.

  13. chris,

    This is a good point. If the majority of people choose iniquity, then the center may very well be iniquitous. But that is the nature of democracy. You have to take a diversity of views and try to find common ground, which is usually in the middle. You have to “make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness.”

    We can’t assume that our “righteous” views will be embraced by the majority. We are guests in the land of Gentiles. Brigham Young found the United States so intolerable, that he took all of us out of America to create a theocratic nation in the desert. But we sold away that birthright with the Manifesto, and now we again find ourselves strangers in Babylon, guests among the Gentiles.

    In a Gentile democracy, cleverness is equal to productivity. Rigidness and uncompromising values are unproductive and promote gridlock. For me, the smartest politicians are the dancers, the clever ones. They are the ones that get things done. The others are mere obstacles.

    Should we care if the productivity of clever politicians leads the nation down paths we disagree with? Sure. If we disagree, we can vote. But in the end, we must always remember, this is not our country, or at least it is not entirely our country. We share it with so many people who see things differently than us. We are strangers and foreigners in this land. Our kingdom is not of this world. If our kingdom were of this world, then we would be fighting. (Which is what we are doing, but we shouldn’t.)

    Let’s let the Gentiles do what they want to do. We shouldn’t be alarmed if they want to do things differently than us.

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