Skip to comments.Low self-esteem is good for you! We’ve been too successful at making people feel good
Posted on 05/26/2014 2:00:02 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Terms once used to describe state of mind and outcome have become, according to author, an illusionary obstruction of thought.
Well, except if we allow self esteem to be determined by achievement and character then we’ll hurt the feelings of all those little darlings who are unsuccessful and we’ll have to adopt commonly agreed upon standards of morality.
(Yeah, I’m being sarcastic)
What a concept!... Self-loathing is GOOD FOR YOU!..
Must be better for some than others.. but all could use a little of it..
Actually I know some that should SLAP themselves HARD first...
Before they put their head up their ass..
Henrys quip about the bone in the nose elicited the expected quota of outrage from culture-cultists. But the outrage missed the serious and, ultimately, the deeply humane point of the observation. What Sandall calls romantic primitivism puts a premium on quaintness, which it then embroiders with the rhetoric of authenticity. There are two casualties of this process. One is an intellectual casualty: it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the truth about the achievements and liabilities of other cultures. The other casualty is a moral, social, and political one. Who suffers from the expression of romantic primitivism? Not the Lauren Huttons and Claude Lévi-Strausses of the world. On the contrary, the people who suffer are the objects of the romantic primitives compassion, respect, and pretended emulation. Sandall asks:
Should American Indians and New Zealand Maoris and Australian Aborigines be urged to preserve their traditional cultures at all costs? Should they be told that assimilation is wrong? And is it wise to leave them entirely to their own devices?
Sandall is right that the answers, respectively, are No, No, and No: The best chance of a good life for indigenes is the same as for you and me: full fluency and literacy in English, as much math as we can handle, and a job.
This is a truth that was broadly recognized at least through the 1950s. With the failure of colonialism, however, came a gigantic failure of nerve. (It might be said, in fact, that the failure of colonialism was a gigantic failure of nerve.) More and more, confusion replaced confidence, and with confusion came the pathologies of guilt.
Since the folly of locking up native peoples in their old-time cultures is obvious, but it is tactless to say so, governments have everywhere resorted to the rhetoric of reconciliation. This pretends that the problem is psychological and moral: rejig the public mind, ask leading political figures to adopt a contrite demeanor and apologize for the sins of history, and all will be well. Underlying this is the assumption that we are all on the same plain of social development divided only by misunderstanding.
But this assumption, Sandall emphasizes, is false. And it was recognized as false by governments everywhere until quite recently. Around 1970, the big change set in. Then, instead of attempting to help primitives enter the modern world, we were enjoined to admire them and their (suitably idealized) way of life. As Sandall observes, the effect on indigenes of romanticizing their past has been devastating.
If your traditonal way of life has no alphabet, no writing, no books, and no libraries, and yet you are continually told that you have a culture which is rich, complex, and sophisticated, how can you realistically see your place in the scheme of things? If all such hyperbole were true, who would need books or writing? Why not hang up a Gone Fishing sign and head for the beach? I might do that myself. In Australia, policies inspired by the Culture Cult have brought the illiterization of thousands of Aborigines whose grandparents could read and write.
The statistics are grim. Between 1965 and 1975, Sandall reports, Aborigines arrived at one college with sixth-grade reading levels; in 1990, after primary education had been handed over to local Aboriginal communities, that had fallen to third grade. Today most Aborigines arrive at the college in question almost completely illiterate.
This social disaster was the result of specific political policies. But the policies themselves were the result of a moral attitude, one that many anthropologists have actively nurtured. In part, the attitude is a reflection of the Lévi-Straussian non-hierarchical view of culture: the view which denies that there are important distinctions to be made between la pensée sauvage and the mind, for example, of Claude Lévi-Strauss. In part, what we might call the anthropological attitude is a coefficient of the ideaalso fostered by Lévi-Strauss, among many othersthat culture is at bottom a narrative, a product of social construction. And the results of that developmentcorrosive skepticism, blasé nihilism, irresponsible relativismhave helped to place anthropology in the intellectual slum wherein it now molders. For more than twenty years, Sandall writes, anthropologists have written about constructing reality as if the world and everything in it were mere artifact, about building identity as if any old self-glamourizing fiction will do, about creating the past as an enterprise more exciting than history, about inventing tradition as if traditions were as changeable as store windows. As if, indeed. Sandall is very good on all this, and I only wish that he had devoted more space to discussing the work of the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who is mentioned only in passing. He is one of the most influential and oleaginous proponents of the all-is-narrative, all-cultures-are-equal position now writing. He is a real postmodern culture-cultist who would have benefitedwell, we would have benefitedfrom a closer look.
It is part of the ethos of designer tribalism to foist all of ones own attitudes and longings onto the apparently blank canvas of whatever primitive populace happens to be in vogue at the moment. To some extent, this is simply a matter of ignorance, as illustrated, for example, by Christopher Columbuss report that the people he discovered are very gentle, and know nothing of evil. But the culture cultist supplements ignorance with heavy helpings of ideology and idealization. He looks at an exotic culture and, lo and behold, he finds himself looking into a flattering mirror. This is one reason that natives always seem to be non-smoking, vegetarian, sex-worshipping, drug-taking, eco-conscious, progressive-thinking pacifistsaccording, anyway, to the press releases distributed by the culture cultists."............................
I don’t think the “outrage” missed the point, I think it was intended to drown out the point.
Excellent point. How did the descriptive become the prescriptive??
Small but interesting discussion going on in comments at the Source. But mostly it appears that this article is producing mostly “crickets” at Salon.
Something striking has happened to the self-esteem of American children during the era of raising our children to feel good. They have never been more depressed.
Unable to handle rejection, ex: the Santa Barbara killer.
Perhaps I missed it. No mention of the fact that black students have much higher self esteem than whites.
I grew up in an area where there is a large number of American Indians. The worst the government ever did was put them on the reservation and feed them liquor. It will take generations to undo the damage
It’s best to teach children that their true value comes because they are created by the Almighty, and were worth dying for. That’s the only sane and workable self esteem.
I know that I am of value, while at the same time, I also know that it’s because of grace and I have to enjoy my position in God and please Him at the same time.
This self worth gives you security, gets your mind off of yourself, and drives you to become a better person all at the same time.
Indeed. Sadly, many have turned their backs on God.
What we sow, we reap.
The entire “self esteem” movement was a plan hatched by liberals to replace god and country.
Liberals hate god and country.
In the old days, you may have felt small and insignificant but you could feel good about being a part of god and god’s plan and the same about being a part of the USA.
Liberals have bashed god and patriotism. You will not see them in church or waving a flag.
The article quotes “If everyone is special, then no one is special.”
That would be communism, the favorite form of a liberals idea of utopia.
“And other studies show that the so-called Millennial Generation young adults born after the self-esteem movement began are demonstrably less likely than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers to care about social problems, current events or energy conservation. Millennials are also less likely to have jobs whose main purpose is to help other people. In one study, three times as many Millennials as Boomers said they made no personal effort to help the environment.”
Libs pushed their agenda too late; schools had already stopped teaching and students had stopped learning by the time they rammed through the curriculum that included white guilt, Bolshevism, and environmentalism. These studies are simply showing that young whites are now behaving like young urban blacks (in case the out-of-wedlock births, high unemployment, and rampant drug use didn;t already warn you).
We have more mass shootings now that the victims of our homes and classrooms are showing the folly of the disastrous “self esteem’ movement. These young men have been told from birth how special they are, so they have zero coping skills when they can’t keep up in their college classes or can’t find a girl friend or can’t find a job. They have no moral foundation or religious faith to withstand the inevitable blows that life delivers. Life doesn’t think they are “special.”
It must be society’s fault that their specialness isn’t appreciated, so they will make society pay. Thanks, you educated idiots. You should have seen this coming .but you know you won’t be held accountable by the Left in government and media.
I don’t usuall bother reading long articles on the 3” screen of my phone, but this was worth it. It has been my opinion for a couple of years now that hubris was the “original sin” of manking, the thought that we could be “as God, knowing what is good and evil.”
Failure is the breeding ground for success - it humbles us. Without it, pride rules and destroys our lives.
Lots of people confuse self esteem with self confidence. A kid can have low self esteem — in the sense of knowing how ignorant he is — but still have the self-confidence needed to cure his ignorance. Too many of today’s blacks are all self esteem and no self confidence.
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