In recent years, we have seen the steady erosion of the liberal order and the institutions that protect it. Citizens of many nations have turned away from universal values and toward old ties of ethnicity, race and sectarianism. They have become increasingly resentful of immigrants, refugees and minority groups.
They have turned inward economically and prioritised protectionism over integration. They have warmed to authoritarianism and embraced strongman politics. Most troubling, they seem to have given up on the very idea of liberalism itself, betraying the underlying will that is necessary to maintain any world order.
We have seen the results at ballot boxes around the world from the Brexit vote in Britain to the rise of populist movements and parties in Germany, France, Poland and Hungary; and of course, in the United States, where voters chose an “America First” foreign policy rooted in nationalism and protectionism.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this. As defenders of the liberal order, we grew complacent and made mistakes. At times we tried to do too much, and at others, we failed to do enough. We lost touch with many of our people and were too slow to recognise and respond to their hardships. Now we must acknowledge these realities. But doing so does not mean losing hope and retreating.
This is the choice that faces all who believe in the liberal world order in 2018: to accept decline or to inspire a revival. Will we allow the further erosion of the foundation of our security and prosperity, or recommit ourselves to its advancement? For the sake of future generations, we must not give in. We must take up the mantle of those who crafted the most successful compact in history and ensure it survives for another 70 years—and beyond.
1. What is the primary purpose of the author?
- To lament the erosion of the liberal world order.
- To castigate the defenders of the liberal world order for their complacence and their mistakes.
- To idealize liberalism as the most successful compact in history.
- To give a wake-up call to the defenders of the liberal world order to arrest its decline and inspire its revival.
2. Which of the following CANNOT be inferred as a characteristic of liberalism?
- A globalized world economy based on free markets and free trade.
- Appeasement of minority groups and promotion of identity politics.
- Promotion of universal human rights and values and individual freedoms.
- Maintenance of international peace and security under the aegis of global institutions, such as the United Nations.
3. Based on the contents of the passage, all of these are warning signs of the erosion of the liberal world order, EXCEPT
- The “America First” foreign policy of the Trump administration.
- The rise of the left and the right in different countries.
- The Brexit vote in Britain.
- Growing economic inequality.
People appear to be born to compute. The numerical skills of children develop so early and so inexorably that it is easy to imagine an internal clock of mathematical maturity guiding their growth. Not long after learning to walk and talk, they can set the table with an impressive accuracy-one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, for each of the five chairs. Soon they are capable of noting that they have placed five knives, utensils, and forks on the table and, a bit later, that this amounts to fifteen pieces of silverware. Having thus mastered addition, they move on to subtraction.
It seems almost reasonable to expect that if a child were secluded on a desert island at birth and retrieved seven years later, he or she could enter a second-grade mathematics class without any serious problems of intellectual adjustment. Of course, the truth is not so simple. This century, the work of cognitive psychologists has illuminated the subtle forms of daily learning on which intellectual progress depends. Children were observed as they slowly grasped—or, as the case might be, bumped into-concepts that adults take for granted, as they refused, for instance, to concede that quantity is unchanged as water pours from a small stout glass into a tall slim one.
Psychologists have since demonstrated that young children, asked to count the pencils in a pile, readily report the number of blue or red pencils, but must be coaxed into finding the total. Such studies have suggested that the rudiments of mathematics are mastered gradually, and with effort. They have also indicated that the very concept of abstract numbers—the idea of oneness, a twoness, a thereness that applies to say any class of objects and is a prerequisite for doing anything more mathematically demanding than setting a table-is itself far from innate.
1. Which of the following would the author likely agree with?
A Children appear to be hardwired for numeracy.
B Children develop numerical skills from simple to advanced effortlessly as they grow older.
C Children need to be taught the concept of abstract numbers.
D Children have an inborn understanding of up to second-grade mathematics class.
- A, B and D
- B, C and D
- A and C
- B and D
2. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage, EXCEPT?
- That the idea of a oneness, a twoness, etc. is independent of the types of objects can at first be confusing to children.
- Young children judge the quantity of a fluid in a container by the level of the fluid in the container.
- Children need to be made to apply themselves to mathematical exercises involving addition and subtraction of objects in order to develop their numerical skills.
- Children mainly learn mathematical concepts by accidentally bumping into them from time to time.
3. Which of the following CANNOT be inferred from the statement that ‘The numerical skills of children develop so early and so inexorably that it is easy to imagine an internal clock of mathematical maturity guiding their growth.”?
- It is commonplace to see that children develop numerical skills at a young age.
- It appears as if children instinctively learn mathematical concepts of increasing complexity as per fixed timeframes as they grow with age.
- Numerical skills develop gradually as children are coaxed into situations necessitating application of numerical skills.
- The development of numerical skills in children takes place almost imperceptibly.