Attitudes That Are Deeply Rooted Are Difficult to Change, Even Though Critical Thinking May Tell You Something Else

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Kaufman

A few weeks ago, I found myself following an "All-American" pick-up truck: American flag and eagle reflective decal blocking the entire rear window, a real flag flying from a pennant holder, "Support Our Troops" decals covering the tailgate. It was only when the driver turned off the road into the Wal-Mart parking lot that I did a double-take. How could someone so proud to be an American shop where the majority of products are imported from China or some other country where manufacturers can shut down operations in the U.S. to take advantage of paying next to nothing in wages there or have no regard for environmental concerns?

That got me thinking about other examples (too plentiful, unfortunately) of the disconnect between thought and action. One that came to mind was the recent petition calling for evolution to be taught as a theory, since it couldn't be proven - and how many of the same people who supported such a petition have no problem whatsoever accepting the literal word of the Bible as fact. What in the world has happened to the capacity for critical thinking?

There are some cases, like the American Wal-Mart shopper, that are tempting to argue because they can be supported by facts. For example, the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics in the Chicago area, www.AndersonvilleStudy.com, found that for every $100 spent locally, $68 remained in the community - compared to only $43 spent in national chain stores. The study also revealed for every square foot occupied by a local firm, the local economic impact is $179, compared to only $105 for a chain store. A similar study conducted in Austin, Texas, produced an even more dramatic difference.

Still having to work for a living (not to mention being able to afford paying taxes and insurance to live in Fernandina Beach), I can be just as price-sensitive as the next guy. …