Common Sense

The management of Coronovirus consists of scientific advice and government decision-making. These are valued and respected. However, this could be broadened by the introduction of common sense. Common sense reflects a broad consensus on what is right and good in any circumstance but it also has an intellectual history in Scotland. Thomas Reid (1710-96) was a Church of Scotland minister and academic. He is the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense. Reid succeeded Adam Smith as Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University. He sought to counter the extreme scepticism of David Hume and others. His argument simply put was that common-sense beliefs govern our lives and thoughts.

Applying common sense to the lock down results in questions. Why are parks and gardens in cities and towns not yet open? Why are individuals not allowed to sit and read in parks or sunbathe while respecting the 2 metre distance rule? Why is some commerce, manufacturing and construction not allowed while managing self-distancing rules? Why were the schools shut? Why were young people deprived of their life affirming examinations? Was this a political failure of nerve showing the weakness of government? It has led to an increase in stress, physical and mental health issues, spouse abuse and child protection orders. Why was IVF treatment cruelly stopped?

In Scotland there were 12,212 abortions in 2017. Around 1000 have died of Coronavirus in Scotland as of 20th April. Yet the country has ground to a halt, the population is under house arrest, the economy has been trashed and people are being impoverished. The reasons given are understandable but they require the balance of common sense.

Robert Anderson 2017

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