I read a sentence in "The Hindu" which was:

Lazy common sense holds that the minority must understand the historical injustice done to Hindus by their ancestors and atone for it.

How would you interpret the phrase "lazy common sense" used at the beginning of it?


As a UK-born native English speaker I don't recognise the phrase

 lazy common sense

as an established idiom, however I think it is possible to deduce the meaning.

We frequently use phrases such as

it's just common sense

implying that something is self-evidently true and needs no further justification. Adding the word lazy is clearly intended to imply that further thought is needed, that the common sense is actually, if not wrong, then at the very least not self-evidently correct.

So we might read this as

it is a widely-held belief that ... but we should consider that ...

I might have used instead

Received wisdom ...

implying that the concepts have been passed from person to person, perhaps from generation to generation and should be more critically examined before being accepted as true.


A paragraph from this Wiki article describes common sense quite nicely:

Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by ("common to") nearly all people.1 The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as "the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done." The second type is sometimes described as folk wisdom, "signifying unreflective knowledge not reliant on specialized training or deliberative thought." The two types are intertwined, as the person who has common sense is in touch with common-sense ideas, which emerge from the lived experiences of those commonsensical enough to perceive them.[2]

The article describes two different types of common sense- good sense and folk wisdom: I think "lazy common sense" as it is used in your sentence refers to the worst kind of folk wisdom.

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