Who Stole Self-Esteem?

Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. Who Stole Self-Esteem?

How did “self-esteem” become a pejorative associated with the most contemptible trends in contemporary culture? How did it turn from an earned expression of self-respect to an all-purpose form of coddling for the incompetent?

The phenomenon should not be such a surprise. Ayn Rand anticipated it in The Fountainhead when she wrote this summary into the mouth of Gail Wynand: “Most people go to very great length in order to convince themselves of their self-respect. And, of course, a quest for self-respect is proof of its lack.”

That’s exactly what we see in a report on how the “participation trophy” version of “self-esteem” worked its way into California’s education system, thanks to a preening politician who was caught up in a long rebellion against his self-loathing Catholic upbringing.

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