Featured General US History and Constitution
Bethanne Kim  

Common Sense? Where?

There is a reason for government regulation, at all levels, but I think we can all agree that there are limits to what the government should be regulating. (Do you really want them telling you what to eat and the style, brand, and color of your underwear or when to sleep? If not, then you agree that there should be limits.) There are large areas where both sides have valid arguments for and against regulation, but there is also a place for common sense in the issue. Some people need less sleep. Some days you exercise more and need more sleep. If the government set bed times, then those simple facts that even a kindergartner knows would be ignored.

garden girlhttp://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/4-year-old-girls-vegetable-garden-must-go-says-usda/

The link above goes to an article about a four year old girl growing vegetables on an unused space for her family to eat. Common sense tells us that (1) eating vegetables is good, (2) fresh vegetables are probably too expensive for them to buy, (3) even an unkempt vegetable garden (which this was not) looks better than a bare weed patch, (4) this is a great learning  experience, and (5) it’s not even a tiny bit electronic or video game oriented. All of these are  to be applauded.

What is the actual, bureaucratic response? It isn’t permitted. The property managers are the ones actually forcing her to pull it out, but they are citing USDA regs. The USDA has come out and said it isn’t forbidden in the rules, but the property manager insists it is. Given the scope of the rules for these agencies, it may be buried in there somewhere. And the USDA, which helps pay their rent, hasn’t insisted that they be allowed to keep it. Both groups are simply hiding behind their rules and procedures.

We have all heard / read about many examples. The bloated bureaucracies that make up too much of our government are out of touch. They sit in their offices and make rules. These rules – not laws, which are made by elected officials, but rules by bureaucrats who are often virtually unfireable – can make the lives of law-abiding Americans miserable. Businesses aren’t much better, and let’s not even talk about the TSA. Most of these agencies and individual people aren’t really doing anything wrong or trying to make life difficult for others – they are simply following the rules.

There are also companies, like this property management company, and organizations, like soccer teams, that hide behind rules because they can and because it makes their life a tiny bit easier. I’m not saying we don’t need rules, I am simply advocating we use common sense.

On purpose, out of habit, out of fear (of getting in trouble), through laziness, or for some other reason entirely, when a group allows a set of rules written in an office to govern how they behave in specific circumstances without any regard to individual differences, we end up with problems. We need to bring back common sense. We need to start looking at individual instances. A child or family putting a small cage for tomatoes or other vegetables to grow on is not the same thing as building a storage shed, even if both are technically “structures.” A child with a spent casing in their pants pocket following a weekend of hunting  is not a threat, even if that spent casing is technically “gun related” and thereby majorly verbotten. (School rules tend to forbid any “weapon” or anything “weapon related” or similar vague, over-arching terms that result in kids who clearly had no ill intent getting strong penalties.)

As individual citizens, we need to start speaking up and arguing back when we see common sense being ignored in our lives and in our society. And we need to use common sense ourselves. As long as we let ever-increasing sets of rules in every organization (some written and some unwritten, like all the “political correctness” rules) govern our every action, movement, and communication, we will no longer be The Land of the Free.

If we want to return to being The Land of the Free, we must bring back common sense.

The next time regulation (especially government, but other institutions too) is being discussed, what will you bring to the conversation?

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