Yet another example of the “deep opening sentence” or “profound historical generalization,” both of which seem to be among the aspirations of student writers.
I encourage students to seek an opening assertion that both invites the reader’s agreement and opens the theme of the planned argument. For example, for an essay that will argue that a community garden should be permitted to remain even if that means less acreage for commercial development, a student might begin “The value of a piece of land cannot be adequately measured by its monetary worth.” From there the reader can be responsibly led through the specific subject and the “lens” or issue through which the writer is viewing the problem, to the thesis that the essay will support.
But sometimes students mistake the idea of this “general subject” or “broad issue” statement and write instead a “deep opening sentence” or a “profound historical generalization,” as you see I call them. And then they write sentences like today’s example.
Where is an essay that begins with this sentence going? It could go anywhere.
For me, it goes directly to mental responses such as “Well, duh,” “Obviously,” and “Luckily for human history.”