Thursday, June 30, 2011

Default Views, Part II

You’ll remember last week I wrote about Alan’s students at the CSPA summer workshop, and how they shared in common a set of default views to which they’d never put much thought. You’ll also remember how I said this:

I’m not bringing this up, of course, because I want to make fun of anybody. I could draw up a similar list of tropes that the locals believe without bothering to investigate them. It's just interesting to see the differences. Here, we'd get nothing but big cities are riddled with crime and strife and drugs and hookers and always smell faintly of pee from kids who haven't been to anyplace bigger than, say, Salt Lake City, or any further east than Jackson, Wyoming.

So I spent a good portion of the day today reading my own students’ proposal essays, in which they propose a solution to a common problem. Some of them chose to write on unemployment and, as I predicted, came up with their own batch of commonly-held belief to which they’ve maybe put some more thought than their younger, more liberal counterparts on the East Coast, but which still kinda don’t stand up to the sniff test, if you get my meaning.

Lots on trickle down economics. Lots on getting rid of regulation – even the minimum wage – as a way to encourage businesses to create more jobs and to stimulate the economy and to motivate employers to create opportunities and compete for workers and more of that rainbows and unicorns stuff. It’s like they all were John Stossel acolytes or something.

Again, in their essays as well as their younger counterparts, lots of opinion without fact to back them up. I’m encouraged they’ll work harder in their revisions to fix these errors (one of the reasons I comment on their drafts, rather than leaving my lightning strikes for their finished papers).

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