I've written before about the damaging cult of self-esteem in our education system, and now Abraham Katsman proposes that the cult of self-esteem is fueling "Obamania".
For the past two decades, America's educational establishment has stressed the inculcation of self-esteem as the supreme educational goal. Self-respect - the product of struggle and achievement - is out; self-esteem - the entitlement tofeel great self-worth regardless of actual accomplishment - is in.
Strict correction of misspelling or of wrong answers to math problems is discouraged. Competition is a big no-no: many youth sports leagues forbid keeping score, lest any child's self-esteem suffer from the indignity of losing. Posting honor rolls is discouraged, as it might injure the self-esteem of those who did not make the grade.
Grade inflation is rampant in schools: according to one recent study, about half of today's college freshman had an "A" average in high school compared to under 20% in the late 1960s, even though SAT scores have tanked over the same period. The focus on self-esteem has, in a sense, been a huge success.
For example, American students have very high scores when asked to assess how good they are at math. Unfortunately, they have low/mediocre scores in actual math performance, routinely being outscored by students in most other developed countries.
Inevitably, however, such over-indulgence of students leads to increased narcissism, self-absorption, and sense of entitlement. Those with self-esteem disproportionate to their achievement tend to be less willing to take responsibility for their own failures, shortcomings, or bad behavior.
Coddled children raised to believe that any dream is not only attainable, but an entitlement granted regardless of actual effort and accomplishment are increasingly growing into depressed and stressed young adults as they rudely discover that the post-school world is not so cooperative and doesn't really care about their dreams or their feelings. In the real world, they keep score.
But not in Obama-world. That is a world of Hope; of Action; of Change You Can Believe In; of Yes We Can; of Coming Together; of Moving Forward Into the Future, and of other banalities that can mean absolutely anything to anyone. "I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations." It's all about us and our good feelings of youth and unity. Nothing so difficult as spelling out tough policy choices or arguing about a particular program's merits or ramifications is involved.
If that's right, then America is simply reaping the vacuity our mushy education system has been sowing for decades. Hopefully "Obamania" will meet the real world sometime before November.