Each spring the stresses of class and Madison's hyperactive social scene fade away, students return to far-off cities or humble hometowns and familiar childhood surroundings and almost instantly forget everything that happened during the semester.
The few that return to non-urban lifestyles are often confronted by a more intense post-semester readjustment period than those who go back to urban and suburban homes. In fact, those who return to the country are often dismissed by urbanites who were their equals in the classroom during the semester as \quaint"" or ""simple.""
By so dismissing their country-born peers, these urban individuals, who can quite accurately be called elitists, are committing a rather obvious logical mistake. They are assigning value to pluralistic or ""open-minded"" views of the world from one direction only.
Those who return to more glamorous well-populated, well-known, and well-polluted urban environments would almost universally express pity upon seeing the average ""close-minded"" uneducated small-town citizen going about his or her business.
""Wow"" they might say, ""it sure is a shame that this town is all they will ever know.""
This hypothetical expression of pity illustrates what many urbanites and converted urbanized country people think: ""That hick/redneck/hillbilly would do well to expand his or her horizons, get some education and see the rest of the world.""
This is certainly true. Many small-town and country people would benefit greatly from a little dose of culture and travel. But would these judgmental urbanites not benefit just as much from a little of the same thing, but in the opposite direction?
Most people would agree that an ignorant person from the country would greatly improve their perspective by trying out an unfamiliar lifestyle and taking a few night classes or traveling to the far reaches of the nation or to foreign countries. Few of these same people however would agree that an ""educated"" person from a large city would improve his or herself by taking a little time to learn the simpler country way of life, or take a vacation to help out on a farm or volunteer in a small town.
The logical mistake that these elitist types make lies in the fact that they are assuming that the lifestyle that expands the number of ideas that one entertains before making a choice is inherently better than one that entertains fewer.
It can be better, but is not automatically so: The simplicity and beauty of a cotton-candy-clouded clear blue sky over a beautifully quiet and blissfully ignorant field at the edge of the Wisconsin woods will never be known to these people.
The ignorance of urbanites to the simple joy of the countryside, which can be obtained without uppers or downers, or shopping malls or cinemas, is truly tragic. Almost equally tragic is the fact that these urbanites often pity simple country people when they are equally deserving of pity for their own ignorance.
All that would be necessary to correct this common mistake among urbanite students would be a simple self-application of the principles that they use to generate their feelings of pity for country simpletons: Get out there, expand your horizons, and open your mind to new possibilities.
Breezy is a senior majoring in international relations. Read his column every week this fall in The Daily Cardinal. Send comments to email@example.com.