The Common Sense Society exists to promote civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and the ideals of responsible liberty among university students and young professionals in Hungary. CSS believes that the civic education and political engagement of young people is a crucial aspect of Hungary’s transition from a post-communist state towards a truly free and prosperous society. CSS hosts regular debates, panel discussions, lectures, workshops, film screenings, and book events. We are not by-standers to the development of our civilization; we are participants in defining our future of sustainable freedom.Vision: An engaged citizenry contributing to a free, stable, and prosperous society Mission: To promote civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and the ideals of responsible liberty among university students and young professionals in Hungary
In April 2009 in a living room overlooking Moszkva Square in Budapest, six young people met to discuss the nature of politics in Hungary and abroad. We lamented the absence of reason in politics, of integrity in education, and of transcendence (truth) in culture. In short, we were disgusted by the emptiness of the discourse. So, we began to work together and volunteer significant amounts of our time and personal resources to give reason a voice. Since that time more than a hundred individuals have joined with us.
Why “Common Sense”?
The term common sense was chosen because the Society wishes to promote sensible and eloquent dialogue within the Hungarian political sphere, as opposed to reactionary and ideologically charged public discourse. The notion of common sense finds its earliest formulation in ancient Greece. The Greek word έμπειρία connoted that which could be understood through experiencing life. The Romans likewise understood sensus communis to connote sensibility and humanity. The Christian tradition presents a theological equivalent in the concept of “general” or “natural revelation” which understood the existence of morality and God to be self-evident in the material world. The most famous use of Common Sense occurred in 1776 when Thomas Paine, a British political theorist, published a pamphlet entitled “Common Sense Addressed to the Inhabitants of America” which set forth the case for American Independence from Great Britain. At the heart of his appeal was a belief that political ideals and practice must be joined. It was in this pivotal time where political ideals were being popularly acted upon to an extent not previously seen in history that Paine declared: “the cause of America is, in great measure, the cause of all mankind.”
While our group is not a revolutionary bunch, we believe that modern political discourse and policy-making are greatly enhanced by an understanding of and engagement with political theory, philosophy, and historical experience. We seek to contribute to the intellectual development of our generation by providing a regular forum for rational and civil engagement.
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