By Tom Quiner
Welcome to the brave new world of young people inculcated with self-esteem.
These delicate flowers will not tolerate anything, ANYTHING, that makes them feel uncomfortable, bilious, or flustered. Can you blame them? After all, no one wants to feel uncomfortable, right?
A positive self-esteem it seems, if today’s college grads are any indication, results in one disinvite after another to politically-incorrect commencement speakers. If a speaker is conservative, forget it! Conservative ideas, backed as they are by logic, field-testing, and objective truth, are simply too taxing, too challenging to these young lambs (or should I say ‘sheep’) of the left.
Conservatives ideas make young leftists with their finely-tuned sense of self-esteem feel kind of icky. They don’t know how to rebut the clarity and wisdom of these rich ideas, which makes them mad.
Mad is bad for the self-esteem-challenged, so conservatives must be expunged from our college campuses for the sake of the emotional health of this new crop of kids, as Paige McMichael eloquently explained in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“The graduating classes at most universities entered kindergarten in 1997: an era of self-esteem promotions, universal trophies and zero tolerance for any statement that could possibly offend any individual in any regard, regardless of the accuracy of the observation.”
Feelings trump truth.
The old-fashioned conservative philosophy, that virtuous actions leads to self-respect, is sneered at by this mob of sensitive liberal souls. Ms. McMichaels deftly points out what our public schools have created:
“These new adults have been protected from the ordinary daily negativity that abounds in the real world and that is critically necessary for full emotional development. Every hypersensitive concern of every child is coddled and protected. Every effort—no matter how minimal—is greeted with resounding praise. Every characteristic—no matter how unpleasant—is seen as a proud sign of individuality. Every comment—no matter the accuracy—is parsed for offensiveness and ruthlessly silenced if found to offend. Not only is a free exchange of conflicting ideas discouraged, any idea beyond a narrow, politically correct and intellectually vapid set of predefined statements is banned as anathema.”
Interestingly, one of the self-esteem movement’s advocates, Roy Baumeister, was commissioned to study the impact of self esteem curriculum. Mr. Baumeister is a professor of psychology and Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar at Florida State University.
He discovered that self esteem curriculum didn’t deliver on its promise. Even more, that it was counterproductive:
“Recently, though, several close analyses of the accumulated research have shaken many psychologists’ faith in self-esteem. My colleagues and I were commissioned to conduct one of these studies by the American Psychological Society, an organization devoted to psychological research. These studies show not only that self-esteem fails to accomplish what we had hoped, but also that it can backfire and contribute to some of the very problems it was thought to thwart. Social sector organizations should therefore reconsider whether they want to dedicate their scarce resources to cultivating self-esteem. In my view, there are other traits, like self-control, that hold much more promise.”
In the meantime, those with self-control and self-respect better buck up if they’re going to deal with the self-absorbed brats and their massive self-esteems who desire to dictate our very thoughts.
We’re in for an unpleasant ride.