Supposedly this is a Danish saying. It certainly rings true. Why then is it called
I believe the term comes from the Middle Ages when only the clergy and the nobility had
formal education. Thus, the wisdom of the common people would be based on sense and
experience, not on book learning.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that all common people, nor all educated people, use sense.
My own experience with educated people I have observed,
which does not appear to be unique, is that many get so caught up in their knowledge
that they don't always use the ruler of common sense to measure what they say or accept as
Specialized Knowledge vs. Common Sense?
You must be interested in furthering your own specialized knowledge about the
defensive use of firearms or you wouldn't be reading this.
Who would contribute to your specialized knowledge or training? Here are a few
types of people:
People who write for a living. These people may have varying degrees of expertise.
They may also have to have an article ready to meet a deadline, regardless
of whether they have anything worthwhile to say this month.
People who teach for a living. These people may have varying degrees of expertise
and, more importantly, may or may not be wed to a certain "method" which they teach.
People who have some internal motivation (as opposed to external, like money) to
put forth their ideas, but who don't have any real credentials to do so.
People who have some internal motivation to put forth their ideas and have some
verifiable credentials to bolster their position.
Is any one of these groups more reliable than another? As a group, I don't believe
so. That's where your common sense comes in. You must evaluate each person who would
shape your mind and skills. Do their teachings or ideas make sense? Will their ideas
increase the likelihood that you will prevail when attacked? Do they have some
sort of credentials that will stand up to legal scrutiny if their teachings land you
Most importantly, just because a person makes sense some of the time does not
guarantee that they will make sense all of the time. It's kind of like that
famous credit card - when it comes to common sense, don't leave home without it!
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purports to be no more than the personal opinion of
Stephen P. Wenger.
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