I usually try to stay away from such general statements, but doesn’t it seem like conservatives have a prevailingly negative view of human nature? I ask this after having read George Leef’s latest Phi Beta Cons post, in which he describes typical college students as “academically weak and disengaged kids who just want a few years of college fun with little work to interfere with that.”

The first thing that came to mind when I read that was how similar it seems to the mainstream conservative take on the unemployed: that they’re indolent, useless people who simply don’t want to work.

Obviously there are lazy students and lazy people. But based on what we know of human nature, it just doesn’t strike me as very likely that the “average” college student or unemployed person is struggling or unemployed simply because of a lack of effort. I can see how this view would inform certain conservative policy views, however…

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.