I was half-listening to an NPR news story about hearings related to the ongoing issue of water drinkability in West Virginia a month after a chemical spill fouled drinking water for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. None of the testifying experts would use the word “safe.” They all hedged. Fudged. Avoided the word like the plague. But I’m not writing about the word “safe.” I recall one person testifying who said. NPR’s Brian Naylor reported Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito saying about the EPA that she doesn’t support no regulation, but rather “common sense” regulation. And that got me to thinking. What the hell is “common sense”?
Is common sense (aka, the patently obvious to any reasonable person) the same fro a room full of Ph.D. environmental engineers as it is for a room full of haberdashers, historians or hairdressers? Or even Republican v. Democratic legislators? Nope.
Common sense clearly should be defined as one individual’s assumption that every other reasonable person would agree with them on any particular topic.