Where it says government in this article it is referring to the U.K. – A leading sociologist has attacked the Government for belittling personal responsibility with its mantra of low self-esteem
THE belief that raising low self-esteem will cure all our social and personal problems is undermining our ability to cope with life on our own, a leading sociologist will say today.
Fifteen years ago, when the concept of the stiff upper lip was still deemed acceptable, the term low self-esteem was seldom heard, according to Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at Kent University.
But nowadays children, teenage mothers, lone parents, domestic violence victims, older people, the poor and convicted criminals are all perceived to be suffering from this disease, which undermines their ability to control their own lives and allows them to abdicate responsibility for their actions.
To take a sociological issue that comprises several factors, and corrupt it is typically human. One of the great benefits of cheaply and widely distributed information is the ability for it to be used by individuals as the new cool excuse for doing something that should not or not do something they should. That does not mean that self-esteem does not figure into how people perceive themselves and how that self-perceptional figures into their behavior.
The business and voluntary sectors have latched on to the “self-esteem” deficit too. The National Cycling Forum boasts that regular cyclists, “have improved well-being, higher self-esteem and greater confidence in their ability to perform active tasks”, while SureSlim, a commercial company helping people to manage their weight, tells potential customers that the “rewarding end product” for people who lose some weight is “the boost in morale and self-esteem”.
The weight loss business culture is way too obvious an example of how business exploits an exploitation of self-esteem, but are also one of the major corruptors of the the good side of the concept. Luxury goods like high priced imported cars, certain brands of watches, many brand names in general, selling people on the need to buy the newest something when what they have still does a serviceable job are all good examples that are so interwoven into the popular psyche that few people question them anymore as outward displays of prestige seeking. Thus ego gratification. Thus salves to self-esteem.
Even anti-poverty campaigners have shifted their focus from the broad structural picture to the impact of deprivation on self-esteem. A recent study by the Child Poverty Action Group examines the impact of poverty “on self-esteem and personal dignity”. Despite this widespread emphasis on low self-esteem, there is no convincing empirical evidence linking high self-esteem with positive social outcomes, Professor Furedi says.
Furedi may be right. We’re advocating instilling high self-esteem to get good grades, a promotion, the right spouse instead of teaching the skills to get good grades which in turn leads to higher self-esteem. The same is true of job skills. Learn the skills, be one of the best at what you do and the self-esteem will follow. By raising children or encouraging adults to just have the self-esteem without the whole grains and vegetables we’re teaching these people to have the whole package of defensiveness, narcissism and usually completely unjustified conceit.
On the contrary, evidence appears to be emerging in the US that high self-esteem can be destructive as it makes people respond aggressively when their inflated self-image is threatened by criticism or perceived insult. Professor Furedi argues that the more low self-esteem is politicised the more it “provides an exemption from having to reflect or to take responsibility for the failures of life. People will become less resourceful and more dependent as they come to believe that unless they are feeling good about themselves, they will not be able to cope with life on their own.”
I’m not saying these people are all equal in specifics in terms of failing to reflect on their faults, but that passage reminds me of George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, Sarah Palin, Fidel Castro, Donald Trump, Mao, Joseph Goebbels and a myriad of other famous or powerful figures. None of them suffer from lack of self-esteem. On the contrary they think they’re great. So great that questioning means there is something deeply flawed about their critics. The ones still living seem to have a singular capacity for avoiding self-reflection.
Professor Furedi ends by being guilty of the same lack of evidence he sights for the self-esteem extremists( there is such a thing as teaching positive self image and humulity side by side, the non-extremist). Claiming that teaching any positive concepts of self leads to subservience. He got a little reactionary there. There is no evidence that teaching self-respect for instance, an element of positive self-image leads to any such thing. On the contrary, people who like themselves enough not to be used are generally resistant to be used by others.
Slide show, Freezing the Fluid Emotions of Dance
In an August 4 post titled “If On The Dole Why Do You Still Get To Go To The Poll?” Forbes columnist Bill Flax wrote, “Before we devolve into a Third World dictatorship where the mob denies the liberties of losing minorities we ought to ponder several potential solutions.” His list of suggestions:
A basic literacy assessment;
A non-partisan test ensuring competency of basic constitutional principles;
A stake in the community reflected by property, employment or other measures;
Restrict the franchise to lessen conflicts of interest regarding state employees, lobbyists, contractors, etc.;
Surrender one’s voting privileges when seeking public assistance.
The rest of Flax’s post touched on familiar right-wing falsehoods: half of Americans don’t pay taxes; fighting poverty is a waste of money; the poor in America aren’t really poor because they can buy appliances.
As a reminder, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned the institution of “basic literacy assessment[s]” and other “voting qualifications or prerequisites” based on race. Apparently, Flax thinks it’s OK to discriminate against people based on their jobs — public employees — or economic status — the recipients of “public assistance” — by removing their ability to vote.
Though Flax’s suggestion that voting rights should be rolled back came in a blog post, his writing is also published in Forbes magazine.
Flax dreams of the early days of the republic when only while male property owners had the right to vote. Even after the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870, besides poll taxes and literacy tests, it was common in the south to have nefarious voting restrictions such as excessive length of residency restrictions, having to come to a registration office multiple times to re-register, requiring voter registration at times when the white government administrators knew would be difficult for laborers to break from work such as harvest season and requiring a street number and address when many black neighborhoods had no formal addresses. Conservatives are not trying to bring back the Antebellum South. They’re actually going further than in their zeal to keep American from the polls. Conservatives in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, and Kansas all have passed or are trying to pass some of those good ol’ days voter disenfranchisement.
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln