Abolishing common sense

Thomas Sowell reminds us that public intellectuals helped make WWII the most devastating war in human history.  Public intellectuals "played a major role in creating the atmosphere of both military weakness and political irresolution within democratic nations[.]"  That atmosphere of appeasement invited aggression and limited the democracies' ability to defend themselves when aggression came.  Public intellectuals did terrible harm and paid little or no price for it.

Sowell's general point is that public intellectuals create a climate of opinion in democracies that limits what democracies can do.  That climate of opinion can cause the adoption of policies that violate plain common sense. 

"Abolishing the police" is a perfect example in our time.  Abolishing the police is the precise domestic analog to adopting a policy of military weakness.  Calls to abolish the police will invite criminal acts by those who don't respect the law and it will limit the ability of the police to protect us from crime and violence in precisely the same way promoting appeasement invited aggressor nations to attack and weakened the ability of the democracies to defend themselves.

Evidently, no policy, domestic or international, can be too foolish to find proponents among those who strive to become public policy celebrities.  Sometimes it seems their operating principle is "the more foolish, the better."  The people in our so-called "news media" long ago abandoned common sense.  Stating the commonsense fact that we need the police does not offer much appeal to the talking heads who have replaced the old-fashioned reporter.  The blue-collar reporters of yore knew a thing or two about how the world actually works, including our need for the police to protect us from criminals and domestic political violence.  As they would have said, it's just common sense.

Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute.  He is the author of Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World and Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea.  Both are published by Encounter Books.

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