Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji can't make the distinction between "unrestrained capitalism can improve the life of the working class" and "unrestrained capitalism will improve the life of the working class".
Yes, and who chose the answer in the multiple choice list? Why not include the first statement instead of the second (they used "would", but close enough).
If I wanted to discourage people from eating vegetables, I might ask the following question:
True or False: Eating the recommended amount of vegetables will prevent you from ever getting sick.
Clearly, the answer is false, right? Now, how does it affect people's perception of vegetables if I ask this question instead:
True or False: Eating the recommended amount of vegetables will make you less likely to get sick.
Assuming that people who eat the right amount of vegetables will be more healthy than those who don't, the answer is "true", right? Do you see how by deliberately framing the question about something we dislike in such an absolute manner, we can force people to answer negatively about that thing? Do you see how if the subject was something less commonly understood and discussed (like say capitalism compared to eating vegetables), that students, perhaps never knowing anything more about capitalism than the references in various tests and textbooks, might be inclined to adopt the assumption that capitalism is "bad" simply because of the wording of the question (or others similarly worded that they've encountered).
How you use words affects how people view the things the words represent. Even when not talking about that thing at all, you can create a perception of something just by how you use it in a sentence.
And of course gbaji completely ignores "unrestrained capitalism can result in the working class being treated as virtual slaves". He seem blissfully unaware that that is the situation depicted in the picture.
That's great and all. I'd absolutely love it if we actually had education that taught kids the actual pros and cons of capitalism rather than having them pick up bits and pieces of subjective associative language along the way. But that's not really the point here. The point is that in a question where the correct answer was "Government should act to eliminate the worst abuses of industrial society", one of the incorrect answers was "Capitalism free of government regulation would improve social conditions”. This was clearly designed to create a very simplistic association: Government is good, Capitalism is bad.
The question isn't even relevant here. Only that the correct answer be about the positive nature of government regulation and the inclusion of a "wrong" answer including capitalism. This forces the student to choose government regulation and reject capitalism. Which is exactly the point
. Do this sort of thing enough times and you'll find a greater percentage of your population viewing government regulation more positively than they would otherwise, and capitalism more negatively than otherwise.
Again, the question is just the medium by which the message is sent.
I'll also point out (in response to your point about can versus will), that the correct answer also didn't leave any room for failure. It could have included the word "attempt" in there, but didn't. The clear assumption being fostered here is that government is the means to solve social problems. Hell. There's so many layers of progressive assumption in that question it's almost laughable. The part about "Advocates for individuals" has a connotation as well (which I already discussed). It's also not really asking for a factual historical answer (ie: "As a result of conditions shown in this image, the following occurred:", with the answer being about government reforms). That's a fact based question. But this test asked about what sorts of things advocates of the people in the photo would have agreed with. This is therefore much more about teaching kids about associations between advocates for victims and social policy than about historical actions.
You've got to be pretty blind (Yeah, not even going there) not to see how massively biased this test is. It's laughably so. Like if I got 50 liberal experts in social theory and linguistics together in a room and said "I want you to write an AP History test that looks on the surface like a legitimate test, but requires students to positively reinforce liberal social ideas in order to answer the questions", this is what they would come up with. Edited, Aug 26th 2014 4:24pm by gbaji