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Why Paradigms Shape Policy

“In the wake of the new Arizona law allowing the police to detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally, young people are largely displaying vehement opposition.  Meanwhile, baby boomers, despite a youth of “live and let live,” are siding with older Americans and supporting the Arizona law.  This emerging divide has appeared in a handful of surveys taken since the measure was signed into law, including a New York Times/CBS News poll that found that Americans 45 and older were more likely than the young to say the Arizona law was “about right” (as opposed to “going too far” or “not far enough”). Boomers were also more likely to say that “no newcomers” should be allowed to enter the country while more young people favored a “welcome all” approach.”

This quote, obtained from The New York Times writer Damien Cave, highlights the cognitive diversity in our nation regarding immigration.  Ever the “hot topic”, immigration evokes deep emotion, often triggering mechanisms in our brain that have long since been dismissed.  Science tells us the reason for this a formula of one part experience and one part expectation combined with a tendency go with our “gut” feeling.  What’s missing?  Free thought.  Subjective reasoning often leads us to make decisions that we are not consciously aware of, often to the detriment of others.  Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, take some time to think about how you perceive the issues in todays world.  Do you research multiple arguments?  Do you empathize with others?  For most of us, the natural answer is no.  We have our mind made up before we even learn of a developing issue.  It is this approach to problem solving that denies nature’s most vital characteristic: CONNECTEDNESS.

As you read the article found by clicking here, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/us/18divide.html, take some time to think of the automatic responses that we all fall victim to.  This post is not intended to sway you to one side of the immigration issue or the other.  Rather, it aims to bring conscious thought to the decisions that shape our society.  Please take some time and share with us your decision making process.

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