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Political opinion, not common sense

To the Editor:

The Oxford dictionary has a couple of different definitions of common sense; my favorite being “good judgment and behavior in practical matters,” like checking the tires on my car once a week or wearing a face mask in public until a vaccine can be had.

However, the definition being used by Jeff Minick and author Robert Curry in last week's book review is different in that they are talking about the common opinions of citizens unfettered by education and well-reasoned fact-based thinking. Even further, they are referencing typical Republican talking points; thus, Curry and his sycophant Minick lambast the efforts of government, declaring that. “Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” 

Along the way, they manage to promote other Republican attack points, from promoting Trump’s deficit destroying and pointless — from a practical point of view — southern border wall, ridiculing the recommendations of well-educated and experienced health experts in combating the Coronavirus Pandemic, subtly denigrating scientific efforts and research to address the very real gender identity crisis that many people suffer, equating “socialism” and dictatorship as if anyone wishes to go down that road (the important political discussion going on now is about how far we take our country toward democratic socialism, a quite different animal), and even slip in a subtle attack on the VA. Of course there is a scapegoat; the “progressive elite,” a cabal of folks so well educated that they are, by some un-named and unknown process, rendered unable to recognize reality on its face and at the same time viewing the ordinary citizen as stupid and needing the nanny state.

Well, I am one of those well-educated progressive folks, but even with those twin debilitating conditions I know that the stuff these guys are talking about is not reality, as they would have you believe. It is not reality that the border wall will work for any important purpose except to waste tax dollars, divert military funding and satisfy Trumpian political ambition. It is not reality that the Covid-19 crisis will abate without masks, social distancing, and quarantines. It is not reality that gender identity problems are solved once one simply identifies oneself as being biologically of one sex or the other. It is not reality to claim that our country is in danger of becoming a dictatorship unless progressive thinkers are ignored. Furthermore, it is insulting and damaging to disparage the learning, brains and opinions of those who are a direct important result of our collective commitment to education, which provides our citizenry the best hope to achieve our ideals.

I have had enough experience in life to be able to see this kind of thing for what it truly is, an “angry right-wing bit of bombast,” (Exactly what Minick denies, not surprisingly). Stating their opinions are fine by me, since I have a deep respect for the First Amendment, but I do not tolerate without challenge folks who cover up their very real lack of understanding and appreciation of the complexity of human and societal dilemmas, and what is necessary in education and training to deal with those dilemmas. Promoting common sense, as done by these writers, turns out to be an empty attempt to elevate the status of conservative partisan opinions, and to lower the status of educated and researched opinions, all for the purpose of having their favorite political opinions prevail.

Rick Wirth

Bryson City

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