The two favorite words of the Beloit Mindset List are “always” and “never.” For instance,
“There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles” (Class of 2016, #14), “There has always been a World Trade Organization” (Class of 2016, #49),
“The Communist Party has never been the official political party in Russia” (Class of 2015, #23), and “Food has always been irradiated.” (Class of 2014, #51).
The first list (Class of 2002) had a mere 13 “always” items and 10 “never” items in its 43-items list. By the Class of 2013 list, there were 59 “always” items and 14 “never” items among the 75 entries.
Some of these claims are limited to the experience of students themselves, e.g., “They have never owned a record player” (Class of 2002, #14), but most them are written as absolute ontological claims: “Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.” (Class of 2016, #74).
Are college freshman so stupid that they don’t realize that gene sequencing is a modern development unknown to the Pilgrims or the Founding Fathers? That’s a question that doesn’t even make sense. By the logic of the Mindset list, “There never were Pilgrims” and “The Founding Fathers have never existed.” If something happened over 18 years ago, the little solipsists can’t conceive of it.
One of the guiding principles of the Beloit Mindset list is that college freshman are so incredibly stupid that they don’t understand that things happened before they were born.