Dennis PragerPosted: November 30, 2010 1:00 am Eastern
By now, most people (with the exception of many psychotherapists) recognize that the self-esteem movement officially launched by California in 1986 has been at best silly and at worst injurious to society, despite whatever small benefit it may have had to some individuals.
The movement was begun by California Assemblyman John Vasconcellos. As the New York Times reported, "Mr. Vasconcellos, a 53-year-old Democrat, is described by an aide as 'the most radical humanist in the Legislature.'"
In an interview at the time, Vasconcellos told me he had personally benefited from therapy. It enabled him to improve the poor self-esteem he had inherited from his childhood. He therefore concluded that improving other people's self-esteem would greatly help society.
And so, California created its Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility, whose guiding principle was to raise young people's self-esteem in order to increase the number of socially responsible people in society.
This belief â€“ that increasing self-esteem among the members of society will increase goodness in society â€“ spread through the rest of America like proverbial wildfire.
It turns out, however, that the premise was entirely misguided. There is no correlation between goodness and high self-esteem. But there is a correlation between criminality and high self-esteem.
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