During this presidential election cycle, we are reminded of the commentary by historian Forrest McDonald on the results of the 1998 mid-term elections, as recounted in the Wall Street Journal, Notable & Quotable, on January 25, 2016:
[There] can hardly be room to doubt that the nation has undergone a grave decline in its moral standards. Relativism and permissiveness have won; “sensitivity” toward the behavior of others, no matter how despicable, has won; the notion that self-esteem is more important than achievement has won.
McDonald is correct, that when the focus is on how others feel, then freedom is trampled. Elevate self-esteem over accomplishments and sniveling self-centered children are the result. Self-esteem, by itself, creates a false sense of worth that translates to the individual’s sense that he is owed something.
Responsible men are created when they succeed AND fail. When they suffer the trials of hard work and risk. However, when they are provided from birth the notion that they are “wonderful” and everyone gets a trophy for showing-up, they are left with a sense of entitlement. Yes, they have self-esteem from doing nothing, but they do not have self-confidence from having accomplished something. Without self-confidence, an individual does not have the internal fortitude to make difficult decisions in business and life.