In Perilously Short Supply

by Mike Pyatt

Mike Pyatt

We’re reminded routinely that silver is severely limited, and that the big banks are buying it in enormous quantities. “Buy now!” “The good news,” they insist, “Silver’s set to go to $200 an ounce.” Don’t hold your breath. One lady posted, “Men are like parking places; the good ones are all taken.” U.S. Coin Guide informs us that the 1914D Lincoln Wheat penny, is quite rare, and the 1922 “Plain” Wheat penny is rarer yet, and valuable. Whether it’s silver, good men, or rare pennies, when in shorty supply, the value rises. Supply and demand. Often those things that are rare, such as elements in the earth we’ve never heard of, the impact on the common person is negligible. However, there’s one commodity that’s in short supply that has nearly bankrupted our society, and the future prospects aren’t hopeful. In fact, according to an Unknown Author, he or she has written its obituary. One has likely read a poem, story, quote or column, in which one remarked, “Sure wish I’d said that.” Columnists understand. Consider the following words that are simple, yet profound. It’s worth repeating, remembering, and passing on to others. Sooner rather than later.

Obituary: The Sad Passing of Common Sense

Today, we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in discipling their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. It took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from burglar in your home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and you own.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason. His is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized that he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Our Unknown Author sagely marshaled moral, social and political realities to encourage the common person, appealing to a former age, that may have either forgotten these principles, relegated them to antiquity, or to newer generations completely unfamiliar with them, in a very brief summary. In 1776, in our embryonic stage, a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, Common Sense, advocated independence from Great Britain to those in the Thirteen Colonies. It was written in clear and persuasive prose, and avoided nuance. It was a short work, but had an enormous impact on colonial America’s decision to break its ties with Great Britain. He initially published Common Sense anonymously. It sold more than 100,000 copies within the first three months, galvanizing support for an armed rebellion and shifted our early nation from the lukewarm column, into the solidly independent one, willingly to sacrifice their all.

According to thefederalist.com, several factors promoted Common Sense’s uncommon success. It was easy to read. After 241years, the language remains incredibly simple. Secondly, it’s a short work. Thirdly, it was accessible to more people, and was often read aloud to the illiterate. Finally, as the title insists, it’s just common sense. He avoided hyperbole. His arguments resonated with the majority of the people with common sense. Paine appealed to those things that were repugnant to most. He reminded them that they can no longer be subject to any external power, and that reconciliation was a fallacious dream, and that every quiet means and method for peace had been exhausted and was ineffectual. The “cause for revolution” was the love of freedom and liberty.

Paine strongly appealed to the indispensable duty of government to protect religious liberty. He crafted words that appealed to the soul, and reminded readers of the pernicious effect of selfishness, “Let man throw aside the narrowness of the soul, that selfishness of principle, which niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with, and he will be at once delivered of his fears on his head.” The full 48 page pamphlet is available for those so disposed to read, or re-read for one’s edification. His style was for the common people, using Biblical quotes which many easily understood. In 1774, Paine, a Brit, met Benjamin Franklin in London, where Franklin persuaded him to relocate to America, at a pivotal time when colonists were on the brink of revolution. His Common Sense, advocated two simple points: independence from England, and the creation of a democratic republic. Today, we are the great benefactors of his written pamphlet. He sold nearly a half million copies. He donated any royalties to George Washington’s Continental Army.

One of the most compelling, moral questions, he posed was, “If Britain was the ‘true mother’ country, would a mother burden her children, and treat them badly?” Extrapolate that question today with the erosion of many of our liberties. Although our 45th President has acted to reduce some of those oppressive regulations, one mustn’t relax, or be lulled to lethargy. Our Federal Tax code is so onerous, burdensome, and unconstitutional. Most States too are in hot pursuit to strangle our freedoms. The struggle for liberty has no surcease. For those inclined to fervent prayer, while praying for wisdom, and other worthy petitions, include one for a large dose of common sense.

Though it’s in shorty supply, one must do one’s part to maintain, discover, or mine that elusive, precious commodity. Mensa is a high IQ society of 135,000 esoteric members. With rare exceptions, common sense has been the driving force since our Founders. Common sense is, “Ordinary good sense and sound judgment in practical matters; sound prudent judgment based a simple perception of situation or facts.” Thomas Edison, regarded as a brilliant inventor, tagged common sense as the third leg of the achievement tripod. IQ wasn’t mentioned.

There’re two statues of Thomas Paine in New Jersey, and a bronze sculpture located in New Rochelle, New York, dedicated to the legacy of this Founding Father. Even though Paine was a staunch abolitionist, the fact that he advocated common sense, which is sufficiently repugnant to a particular segment of our population, and funding slave holder, George Washington’s Army, may be reason in this polarized nation, bereft of any sense, to call for the removal of Paine’s statue from our public square. Millions of pro-lifers find Planned Parenthood Clinics morally repugnant, as slave holders of American women. Can’t we remove them from our sight? Emblazoned on the masthead of the Indianapolis Star Newspaper, is a poignant reminder for its readers, a quote from 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” This vital resource snatched from our formidable repertoire, to assiduously oppose this counter culture of division and unparalleled nonsense. There’s a paucity of common sense-it’s not so common after all. What do you think?

Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s roderickstj@yahoo.com

Editor’s Note: Thomas Paine – Common Sense (1776)

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