What the self-esteem movement got disastrously wrong

From Dan Sanchez at MercatorNet:

Ironically, these criticisms [of toxic snowflakes] would be heartily endorsed by the father of the self-esteem movement. The whole thing was kicked off by an influential 1969 book titled The Psychology of Self-Esteem, written by Nathaniel Branden (1930-2014), a psychotherapist and one-time colleague and lover of Ayn Rand. It was the first of a long series of books by Branden about self-esteem, which included The Disowned Self (1971), Honoring the Self (1983), How To Raise Your Self-Esteem (1987), and The Power of Self-Esteem (1992).

He elaborated that:

“I have stressed that ‘feel good’ notions are harmful rather than helpful. Yet if one examines the proposals offered to teachers on how to raise students’ self-esteem, many are the kind of trivial nonsense that gives self-esteem a bad name, such as praising and applauding a child for virtually everything he or she does, dismissing the importance of objective accomplishments, handing out gold stars on every possible occasion, and propounding an ‘entitlement’ idea of self-esteem that leaves it divorced from both behavior and character. One of the consequences of this approach is to expose the whole self-esteem movement in the schools to ridicule.” More.

Reality check: It was worse than that. The movement’s tenets, enacted in schools, exposed universities to an onslaught of teen totalitarians whose self-esteem demanded that everyone else just shut up.

Mind you, life was probably easier for a certain type of teacher who didn’t really have to teach anything now. Well, how could you? You might offend someone!

See also: Who’s really behind the downpour of toxic snowflakes on campus. It isn’t leftist profs as such but leftist profs with no other qualification than leftism. And they are many.

Share