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During my latest recovery from my last bout with Killer Khemo, I have spent a great deal of time watching C-SPAN.  And, I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand where the various callers and guests get their opinions.

I have also spent many years tracking the effects of the late 1970's educational revolution that focused on building self-esteem as one of the primary jobs of teachers and educators.  (A revolution which I fought vigorously at the time, and continue to oppose today.)

I think we are seeing the fruits of this intersection, writ large.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" has become the dominant mantra of civic life, and no one stops to question the wisdom of this notion that opinion is a replacement for knowledge.

How did we get here?  And, what are we going to do about it?

The concept of self-esteem was raised just as the cutting edge of civil rights, and changing demographics, made the growth of minorities, and the changing composition of the population of the United States inevitable for those who understand cultural dynamics.

One way which was offered to ease the transition from the dominance of a white, European population was to invest heavily in raising the value of different world views as valid, and having a place in the American life.  

Various phrases were trotted out to encourage a smooth transition.  Melting Pot was one of the first, but that implied a blending that might diminish the flavor and contrast of immigrants, and the cultural differences they brought.  Another was Salad Bowl. This maintained the notion of distinct, identifiable components of culture which, when taken together, produced a beautiful and varied serving of multicultural differences, contained within one vessel.

But how to achieve this goal?

Psychologists have long fretted over the popularization of complex ideas, generated in complex research projects, being appropriated, and frequently misunderstood, by educators and politicians.  There has never been much we could do about it.  Once an idea entered the popular vernacular it would take on an energy of it own and often become so divorced from original intent as to be unidentifiable.  Such a concept was Self-Esteem.

We all think we know what it means.  We think it means feeling good about yourself.  We think it means asserting your own opinions, and not doubting their value.  We think it means that the experiences you have (or think you have) are the basis for all of your social and political judgments.

Tain't so!

A careful reading of the above citation, and a bit of thought, reveals that it was never intended that the individual place their experiences and knowledge above the value of truth, fact, or reality.

As Robert Frost noted:

"The latest creed that has to be believed
And entered in our childish catechism
Is that the All's a concept self-conceived,
Which is no more than good old Pantheism."

This Pantheon is now composed of over 300 million individuals trained in self-esteem to think that every thought, every feeling, every belief, is useful, or valuable, or important.  We have dismantled the fabric of society, creating in its place a galaxy of single bodies, each revolving around the self.

In the classroom, just showing up became the goal.  Just turning in something was rewarded as an accomplishment.  In the work place, self enrichment was seen as a rational reaction to insuring the elevation of the newly aggrandized individual.  In politics, protecting ones own view of the universe was elevated above seeking communal solutions.  After all, a culture steeped in self-esteem had no reason to consider the needs, feelings, or beliefs of others.  It was the self that dominated all planning and thought.

As the shackles of the dominate culture fell away, it has not been replaced with a richer and more vibrant social dynamic.  It has been replaced with a narrow, limited, self-serving refusal to examine, consider, or search for truth, reality or a wider view of one's place in the world.

So, we have stupid people who profoundly misunderstand what the world is all about, espousing stupid ideas, in a vastly expanded technological wonderland, to anyone who gets in the way.  Not that they lack the brains, or energy, to understand reality, but that they have been carefully trained to think that reality doesn't matter.  

The only thing that matters is that they hold opinions.  That they have "values".  That they are seen as significant.  That the world pay attention to them, not for what they know but simply because they exist.

For those who see a glimmer of this false standard, needing and wanting some conformation of their fragile knowledge base, there are a host of various "groups" which will offer support.  Religious organizations, Tea Parties, talk radio, social activities, all provide a refuge from the barrage of the self-esteem of others.  But, they neither address the problem of a declining knowledge of reality, challenge the role of self in the universe, or enhance the value of seeking truth over patting yourself on the back for your ability to think you see a pattern in the most limited information.

To address the question posed in the title, each of us must begin to first question the value of our personal opinions.  Where did they come from?  How were they formed?  Are they based in a limited view of reality?  Are they promoted because we value our own sense of self beyond the truth?

Then, we have to begin the long process of raising these questions with others.  In the classroom.  In the office.  In the church.  In the political parties.

If we do not seriously begin to eliminate the idea that anyone has a right to their own opinion, based on the simple fact of existence, we will preside over the total destruction of civil society, all in the name of creating self- esteem.

Originally posted to Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:25 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have a go... (233+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, Pat K California, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, vicki, scribeboy, burrow owl, Emerson, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, mslat27, eeff, freelunch, bumblebums, opinionated, missLotus, EricS, wvtrailerdweller, BlackSheep1, linnie, mikidee, shanikka, high5, chimpy, taonow, wishingwell, dchill, Glinda, Cedwyn, wader, Getreal1246, psnyder, Barth, emmasnacker, Dallasdoc, missliberties, ccr4nine, hoolia, exiledfromTN, dwahzon, penguins4peace, Kristin in WA, blonde moment, zerelda, side pocket, Jacqueline, NapaJulie, homogenius, sawgrass727, Julie Gulden, nailbender, Karma for All, maybeeso in michigan, radarlady, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, ManOnTheBench, NoMoreLies, Jeffersonian Democrat, greycat, socks, Heiuan, SherwoodB, Lying eyes, Above the Clouds, oldhousepoor, Jersey Girl, Alice Venturi, panicbean, ZappoDave, basquebob, dewtx, juliesie, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, chidmf, Dobber, Pam from Calif, Overseas, CT yanqui, markdd, onanyes, FindingMyVoice, coolbreeze, LivesInAShoe, Ekaterin, Snud, reddbierd, third Party please, Shirl In Idaho, Jennifer Clare, buddabelly, BachFan, Keone Michaels, ainwa, Gorette, seefleur, LanceBoyle, deha, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, gooderservice, Crashing Vor, happy camper, myrealname, ER Doc, CA Nana, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, punditician, crystal eyes, kurious, Nulwee, bmcphail, Betsy Devine, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, dotsright, khereva, possum, Debs2, lordcopper, mamabigdog, Dartagnan, atlliberal, karmsy, LillithMc, Matt Z, terabytes, ballerina X, Unbozo, jayden, mcgee85, mudslide, millwood, gchaucer2, rogereaton, pioneer111, uciguy30, Neon Mama, gizmo59, VA Breeze, memofromturner, rogerdaddy, bkamr, JeffW, Indexer, indyada, Tchrldy, Involuntary Exile, lineatus, alliedoc, mayim, pamelabrown, TH Seed, Wek, codairem, Ruff Limblog, luckylizard, DixieDishrag, palantir, dmhlt 66, lissablack, satanicpanic, maggiejean, in2mixin, multilee, Rhysling, Ripeness Is All, Leftcenterlibertarian, weaponsofmassdeception, DontTaseMeBro, Carol in San Antonio, ScientistSteve, velvet blasphemy, virginwoolf, MKSinSA, allep10, kevinpdx, DaNang65, ozarkspark, cassandraX, commonmass, smileycreek, mamamorgaine, Loli, dorkenergy, gramofsam1, jethrock, candysroom, trixied13, DavidHeart, ItsSimpleSimon, PvtJarHead, science nerd, txcatlin, cherylm, verdeo, Rockpopple, Onomastic, renbear, Colorado is the Shiznit, ozsea1, vahana, msmacgyver, OldGrammy, Susipsych, Mistral Wind, FarWestGirl, deeproots, lawyernerd, boophus, marleycat, Lorikeet, Cinnamon Rollover, dle2GA, muddy boots, poliwrangler, VTCC73, agoner, Logical Fallacy Contraption, moonpal, gardnerjf, jacey, Pinto Pony, justme2122, sow hat, angry marmot, foucaultspendulum, DMLjohn, Joieau, MinistryOfLove, jest

    "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

    by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:25:41 AM PDT

    •  True, but... (32+ / 0-)

      self censorship is not a bad idea, and as long as society grants equal weight to all opinions, there is no reason question the validity of one's own musings.  <g.</p>

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:37:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's been lost is the concept of humility. (21+ / 0-)

        It seems like nobody ever eats humble pie any more, or if they do, they almost never admit it.

        In our society, humility, and having a healthy respect for what you may not know and for the knowledge and opinions of others, or acknowledging that acting upon ignorance may do harm, is considered a weakness, and is denigrated and often punished. Far better to pretend.

        Granny you are absolutely right about the connection between uncensored opinions being granted equal weight, and the notion of false equivalency that has essentially destroyed American journalism. The regular spectacle of "news" that has been reduced to seeing which of the simultaneously screaming pundits can scream the loudest to win the war of talking points is depressing and nauseating, and perhaps the greatest single threat to the notion of an enlightened and self-governing society.

        This is what we are teaching the younger generation these days -- it doesn't matter if your opinions are based on the critical evaluation of facts and data and whether your ideas are tested by carefully designed experimentation or historical examination; it simply matters that you are able to select fragments of information that may or may not be true or tested, and then assemble those fragments into talking points that buttress your preconceived bias and promote your self-interest, and that you can scream more loudly and rudely than everyone else.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:28:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I detest censorship in all its forms... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that's not to say all words spoken are protected speech. Or the truth. Or libelous. Or slanderous. Or make sense. Or don't offend anybody. Or cause a prurient interest in sex. Or cause impotence. Or make anyone a sexual athlete. Or start wars. Or make peace. Or police my thoughts. Or set my thoughts free. Or enslave. Or aren't troll-worthy. Or popular. Or better off left unsaid.

        It means that I am neither no more equal than you nor any less equal than you or anyone else. I am a free moral agent-just like you. I live and have a right to live and not live in constant fear from my own government-just like you do. I belong here and breathe the same air you do-I have a right to be, to think, and to occupy the same space in this universe you do. I have unalienable rights that aren't any less unalienable or any more unalienable than yours. I live and die by the same sword I live and die by-just like you.

        My opinions are mine and mine alone. My words are my own intellectual property, but knowledge belongs exclusively to no one. There's always 4 sides to every story: Your opinion, my opinion, the Big Lie, and the truth. You and I can have our own opinions, and we can even have our own set of facts separate from the truth and millions of opinions to back them all up.

        But the absolute truth is the one constant that never changes. Ergo:
        >The world was never flat and being murdered and cut-off from God for saying so is never right.

        >Slavery as an institution [or any despot's de facto enslavement of anyone's minds, thoughts, and speech or execution for the simple crime of dissent under charge of treason against the state under a constant threat of facing the ultimate censorship penalty for our thoughts-whether written or spoken-enforced by death] was never right, a right, or forgiveable.

        >Aggressive wars not fought for self-defense, but fought for solely for oil and empire based on lies, predator-droning, torture, assassination, subjugating whole nations and committing wholesale slaughter against those that never attacked us, and all done in our names are never right, and saying, "I was just following orders", doesn't make it any more right than it lessens the indefensibility of the crime.

        >"Might doesn't make right". Having the power to turn the world into a sea of smoldering glass 100 times over doesn't give anyone the right to be the world's judge, jury, and executioner. Or its Emperor. Neither does it make us above the same laws we wrote by our own hands and make others obey them under the same penalty of death that we don't apply to ourselves. That makes us hypocrites of the nth degree, and not worthy to be anyone's judge. But it condemns us all by extension out the words spoken from our own leaders' lips!

        And as far as this concept of "self-censorship", I'll say, "discretion is the better part of valor".
        And I shall exercise my inherent right to self-censor myself now.

        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:17:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I'm glad at least one person (12+ / 0-)

      took exception to this elitist, reactionary diary, which ends like this.

      If we do not seriously begin to eliminate the idea that anyone has a right to their own opinion, based on the simple fact of existence, we will preside over the total destruction of civil society, all in the name of creating self- esteem

      !!

      First of all and least importantly, it's, uh, amusing to see someone blasting the stupidity of other people (always other people) while demonstrating that she doesn't know even basic grammar.

      I haven't hung out here in months, but I do recall that Granny Doc often found a way to blame the ills of society not on systems or the powerful but on that sweaty stupid dangerous mass of humanity known as the American people.

      Here, though, she finds another culprit, which just happens to be a favorite bogeyman of the right-wing: the self-esteem movement. Self-esteem, by the way, is another word for self-respect. What a horrible thing, trying to teach people self-respect! It's quite important, actually, not least because the market in various forms--consumerism, most notably--teaches people to loathe themselves. There are a lot of things fixing to destroy civil society as I write this, and the self-esteem movement isn't one of them.

    •  When demogogues (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Crashing Vor, Granny Doc

      wicked lying pols, and those who have a vested $ interest in keeping the people stupid and misinformed are given equivalency by our institutions like schools, the media, and even our governmental bodies and those who represent us. The stupid is a valuable tool for those who seek power and for keeping it.

      When liars and propagandists are allowed access by interpretations of our laws and they remove the rules in place like truth in advertising, the fairness doctrine and stops teaching people the humanities like civics and history, ethics, we end up without a civil society. It allows the stupid to grow and calls it individualism with equivalency given to the misinformed and their ignorance. We are not given any standard to gauge the stupid.

      We need to teach people how to learn it's increasingly harder to learn the truth or form rational opinions. Truth is intentionally obscured by replacing core principles like concepts of common good, democratic principles, critical thinking, basics needed, with opinion and misinformation. When we as a society value greed, violence and the right to screw or get screwed and call this exceptional and the American Dream we really just get different versions of the same stupid.

      Maybe if we didn't from the top down declare teh stupid a self evident truth and actually stopped giving equivalency to those espouse and nurture the stupid we be in this stupid situation where the truth is up for grabs and all fair when it comes to tricking out of our real rights instead of interpretations based on how stupid we have all become.        

    •  Problem is most self esteemers don't understand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor, Granny Doc, Nulwee

      this nuance.  They are looking for you to validate their self esteem so they can earn self respect.  They are always looking out side for something they are not willing to either look at or take the time to fix.

      For example celebrity gossip is so popular because you do not have to spend any time doing any kind of research.  It is out there every where so all you have to do is opine about it.

      Being a truly interesting person at least to me--means you contribute something unique to the conversation which requires both thinking and having a core of knowledge to function from.  Having spent a considerable amount of time with young Pepperdine 20somethings, a core of knowledge even self knowledge is sorely lacking.

  •  Individual opinions are part (38+ / 0-)

    of a free society.  It is the equal weighting of the seriousness, danger and truth of those opinions which is destructive.  Not only was the ridiculous period in education of every kid deserves a reward a contributing factor -- the media has reinforced this inane concept.  "Fair and Balanced" is seen on the pages of formerly legitimate news sources every day.

    I had 12 years of Catholic schooling.  While much of that time was focussed on rigid adherence to religious ideology -- at no point was there a "reward" for stupidity in hard academic subjects.  My last two years in high school through college opened the door to varying opinions -- but again, stupidity was not rewarded.  Even during my 8 years in the convent, during the tumultuous late '60s through the mid seventies, intelligent disagreement was encouraged -- but stupid disagreement was met with disdain.

    Thank you for this diary, Granny Doc and I hope that all the atoms and energy in the universe are keeping you healthy -- we need wisdom.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:50:33 AM PDT

  •  Contrive to let stupid... (8+ / 0-)

    ...devour itself.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:54:39 AM PDT

  •  I HAVE THE ANSWER!!!!! (11+ / 0-)

    let hollywood make movies about how stoopit isn't cool, and let nyc tv moguls make a reality series re: the same.

    yeah, that'll happen

    Thank you, Keith Olbermann

    by LivesInAShoe on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 07:58:26 AM PDT

  •  Superior question Granny (8+ / 0-)

    It is what Stephen Colbert calls 'truthiness'.

    We can fight stupid, but not by looking down our noses. You identify with the feeling of frustration, first. As in show empathy.

    We on the left are 'stupid' also. As in supremely frustrated.

    But when stupid is cynically bought up for political gain by billionaires.... then I am at a loss.

    My total and completely pet peeve has ALWAYS been, that the left lacks a messaging machine.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:01:08 AM PDT

    •  Meta: what would the first (next?) two steps be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, bmcphail

      to address this

      the left lacks a messaging machine.

      ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

      by dorkenergy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:31:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  personally? (6+ / 0-)

        I'd say create an unbiased news channel with world class objective reporting.
        actually, I'd say first find the humorous way to point out the problems with the other side but comedy central has already done that, and this is why the democrats are winning the younger voters grin

        republicians believe government can't work, when they're in power, they're right

        by askyron on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:18:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What fries me is (10+ / 0-)

          that the BBC is such a channel but they have cut back on their broadcasts.  Even CNNInternational is a lot closer to a news network, but they are not broadcast at all in the US.  The rest of the world won't tolerate what we accept as "news".

          "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

          by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:24:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When I lived in Seattle (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc, conlakappa

            CNN broadcast an hour of CNN International every day.

            When I moved back to Texas, I couldn't get that hour any longer.

            I'm not sure if it's still broadcast in Seattle. I had a weird little cable company that served the downtown area where I lived, and it wasn't one of the giants like Comcast or Time Warner.

            Probably got eated by one of them.

            "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

            by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:47:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Huh. We had the Washington, D.C., version (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Granny Doc

              of that weird little company.  It served the few buildings in downtown D.C. at the time and included NASA and Al Jazeera OG.  We would just find channels through surfing.

              Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

              by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:19:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Are you and my husband talking to each other? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc

            He just mentioned this morning that we needed to have a BBC-like channel here.  It was right after I told him about the above-the-fold article in the A section of the WashPost and its Outlook section.  The on-the-fold article was about a 2003 law in which the names of gun dealers who sold guns that were later used in crimes would be blacked out.

            Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

            by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:17:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  with the younger voters addressed, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Granny Doc

          I would prioritize cohering our msg as a more effective and more efficient mechanism to achieve our goals -- see my post downthread.

          If, by some means, a "factuary" comes to the fore, I would not object. But I would not count on it.

          ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

          by dorkenergy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:47:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've often fantasized about watching (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Granny Doc, dorkenergy, SoCalSal

          a political debate where every utterance by one of the principals was instantaneously fact-checked by a vast network of researchers and followed by a DING!!!! of truth or a BLAAAAAT!!! of falsehood.

          Baz

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:10:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Fair Witness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc, dorkenergy

        Here's an idea: in a few of Robert Heinlein's novels he had people running around who were members of a profession called Fair Witnesses.  They were essentially Notary Publics for reality rather than signatures.

        I think there is an idea there worth exploiting.  Create some sort of a new institution: it would be a school of thought, institutions for training, and practice, employ logic and radical skepticism, apply information retrieval technology and up to date knowledge about the nature of perception.  In practice, it would be a fourth player in any public utterance: not the politician, not the interviewer, not the listener, but the fourth person who could say: "this is bullshit"  and be believed on all sides.

        Baz

        We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

        by bmcphail on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:05:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The past wasn't any better. Human behavior (10+ / 0-)

    hasn't changed that much.  We have always looked out for number one, discriminated against those different from us, made foolish mistakes, been misled by politicians.  

    What caused the depression that began in 1929?

    What percentage of young back men now live in prison or have lived in prison?  

    So now they don't get hung in trees and terrorized by the KKK, but what has really changed?

    How many wars or military engagements has the United States been involved in over the last 65 years?  How many people have been killed in them?

    Don't kid yourself, this river of life still keeps rolling along with all of the good and bad behavior traits that ever existed.  Sometimes we just see it more clearly than at other times.

    •  what's changed? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stagemom, Granny Doc, bmcphail, conlakappa

      "social networking" and all of the many many venues where opinions (either ignorant or informed) can be expressed 24/7 with a growing majority having some sort of device growing out of one ear: "yackity-yackity twitter-twitter blah-blah"

      ...people too filled with self-esteem/self-importance (GD describes so well) to miss a single phone call - even while buying the family's groceries - even while driving - and yes, even while attending the memorial service (true) for a friend's deceased father.

      c-span call-ins being only one small indicator that we are on ignorance-overload

      And now? We have returned to the days when bullies prevail, this time via "social networking", apparently.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:23:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I caution that making fun of stupid (9+ / 0-)

    never works. It is the rights version of equal opportunity. Which is where the meme Academic Elitists, Lecturing, come from.

    I say first you sympathize with the frustration, then you fight back with the truth.

    We have let very simple principles become lost, because of tons of information overload from the right. It obscures the simple truth that, for example, cutting spending means cutting jobs. We should be talking about getting rid of corruption, not cutting spending.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:07:47 AM PDT

  •  Google searches (9+ / 0-)

    I was trying to debunk myths about fluoride in the water and mercury in amalgam fillings. Searches came up with the idiotic accusations against them for the first page and a half. On mercury, the CDC saying "for heaven's sake, amalgam fillings are harmless" appeared late and when I clicked on it, the print was teeny and hard to read.

    How many other things come up with bad info crowding out good in everyday searches? Who will look all the way to the third page, and why would they bother?

    Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

    by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:13:58 AM PDT

    •  Part of the problem of bad info crowding out good (6+ / 0-)

      info is that a lot of the information changes. I remember when eggs were bad for your cholesterol, now, not so much. A study came out that said coffee was bad for you, I lost track of whether that's still "true" or not. That's why I like Woody Allen's answer.

      Religion: Treat it like your penis. Don't show it off in public, and don't shove it down your children's throats. (-9.00,-8.41)

      by MinistryOfLove on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:20:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "myths" about mercury? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JG in MD

      Research that has been done and reported in scientific literature demonstrates that:
       1 Mercury escapes from fillings in the form of vapor created by chewing. It then enters the bloodstream and is delivered to all parts of the body, including the brain. ...
      2 People with mercury fillings have higher levels of mercury in their urine, blood and brain than people without fillings.

      Maybe all those amalgam fillings have affected your thinking ;-}

      Scientific Materialism debunked here

      by wilderness voice on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:13:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clinical Trials on Amalgam Fillings (4+ / 0-)

        It's always fun to get a chance to do online research.

        In this study, there were no statistically significant differences in adverse neuropsychological or renal effects observed over the 5-year period in children whose caries were restored using dental amalgam or composite materials. Although it is possible that very small IQ effects cannot be ruled out, these findings suggest that the health effects of amalgam restorations in children need not be the basis of treatment decisions when choosing restorative dental materials.

        Neuropsychological and Renal Effects of Dental Amalgam in Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2006;295:1775-1783.

        Risks of Dental Amalgam in Children: The various forms of mercury (mercury vapor, inorganic mercury ions, and organic mercury) associated with dental amalgams appear to initially affect the immune system and to only subsequently affect the nervous system. Even in the absence of overt renal or neural toxic effects, the immune system may be impaired.
        Paolo D. Pigatto, MD paolopigatto@libero.it
        Policlinico Foundation IRCCS and Luca Meroni, MD
        Inst of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine
        University of Milan, Milan, Italy
        http://jama.ama-assn.org/...

        Risks of Dental Amalgam in Children—Reply
        Our article did not state that there is no evidence of an association between exposure to mercury vapor released from amalgams and human health risks. To paraphrase Paracelsus,1 it is the dose that makes the poison. We reported that, at the levels of amalgam exposure experienced by the children enrolled in the New England Children's Amalgam Trial, we did not observe any adverse effects on neuropsychological or renal function.  Sonja A. McKinlay, PhD, New England Research Institutes, Inc, Watertown, Mass JAMA, 2006, 296:1461

        Full disclosure: Sonja McKinlay once consulted with the company I worked for, but it was coincidence that I found her in this search.

        Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

        by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:09:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JG in MD

          the conclusion

          On mercury, the CDC saying "for heaven's sake, amalgam fillings are harmless"

          is not justified. At best we can say the there is conflicting evidence.  Since there are plenty of reasonable cost (and more attractive) alternatives to amalgam for fillings I see no reason to have this in one's body.

          Scientific Materialism debunked here

          by wilderness voice on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:18:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're right (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc, wilderness voice

            There is no certainty. I believe there is no harm, but the research is not totally conclusive, and some fillings are probably safer than others in their chemical make-up. That can never be proven.

            Some of my amalgam fillings are over 50 years old, but I haven't gotten any for the last 35 or 40 years.

            Are they still using amalgam fillings? I would hope not. It isn't necessary.

            Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

            by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:29:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Link needs updating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        By Keith W. Sehnert, M.D., Gary Jacobson, D.D.S., Kip Sullivan, J.D., Reprinted from Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Aug/Sept 1999

        Townsend Letter link goes to a missing web page, a 404 error.

        Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

        by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:13:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Heck, I did a search on the DNC, filling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      out its full name and the first thing that popped up on the Google was a site commected with the RNC.  That was yesterday.  Google gnomes on the loose being evil?

      Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

      by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:23:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i always look at the rednecks in Calif. with (0+ / 0-)

      their beautiful white teeth.

      Meg will run CA like a business. Which business? BP? Massey Coal? Tyco?

      by stagemom on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:56:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" (10+ / 0-)

    Well, everyone is.

    What everyone is not entitled to is respect for their opinion.

    I wish the MSM--and the electorate-- would "get" that.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:17:24 AM PDT

    •  What, and stop talking to the average (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      citizen on the street?  Never!  What would news look and read like in that instance?

      A family member had a real tragedy happen, with a father and two young children left dead under horrible circumstances.  There were people milling about, ready to talk to any reporter who'd ask.  One talked about what she heard was behind the event, attributing bad behavior to the father.  To my surprise, a local columnist condemned the words and deeds, calling out by name the woman who stood around waiting to tell that story.  I have no idea if she was bearing false witness but whatever hopes she had of being in the news didn't turn out like she seemed to want.

      Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

      by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:30:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone has a right to their opinion, but not (16+ / 0-)

    their own facts...the real problem goes beyond the whole "self esteem" thing and into a kind of populist version of postmodernism which questions the value of "facts"...whether anything can truly be "known"...which is fine as a starting point for academic exercises but quite toxic when it comes to real-world discussions and decision-making. A lot of this does arise from the intellectual rebellion of the 60s, influenced as it was by psychedelic drugs and the parallel discoveries of quantum mechanics...i.e., that the more physics learned about the behavior of very small and very large objects the weirder it seemed....the accumulation of cognitive dissonance has led to a kind of notion that nobody really knows what's real.

    But people, it turns out, require a "reality" to orient themselves to in order to thrive...and religious fundamentalists (not just Christians, either, I'm sure there's a jihadi version of that game out there, and Gods-know-what-else) have capitalized on people's need for structure, for a sense of belonging, for a world-view with themselves at the center.

    One other thing--you refer to "over 300 million individuals trained in self-esteem"...are you including yourself? That figure suggests that whatever is wrong is on every single American, whatever their age, education, ideology, nationality, etc.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:18:29 AM PDT

    •  I'm too old to have been (8+ / 0-)

      gifted with that particular educational fad.  My self-esteem was earned.  The hard way.  <vbg>

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:20:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The movement was for those who needed it (8+ / 0-)

        When the self-esteem movement began in the 1960s, women were blinking and staggering out of their kitchens, folding their aprons after they took them off and before they threw them in the fire.

        Children were beginning to be listened to instead of seen and not heard.

        Back then self-esteem was needed for a jump start to taking a full place in society. We They just forgot to take off the jumper cables when they revved the engine.

        Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

        by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:29:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (7+ / 0-)

          And while I certainly think that children should be treated with dignity and respect, maybe we have gone too far?  Contrary to popular public opinion, studies have shown that bullying, for instance, is not the result of children (or adults,for that matter) who are insecure or "feel bad" about themselves, but, often as not, a result of an inflated ego and sense of entitlement.  A too higher level of "self esteem".  

      •  The Tea Party is also too old. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kpardue, Granny Doc, Matt Z

        The average age of Tea Partiers also puts many of them above the age to have the sort of baseless self esteem boosting when they went to school.
        The 'kids these days' may not be benefiting from universal ego stroking but they are not the source of teh stupid in today's political scene.

        They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Terry Pratchett

        by Toon on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:51:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But do you understand that not all (0+ / 0-)

        Americans are the same age? That's what bothered me about your "300 million" figure...you seem to be suggesting that everyone, or maybe everyone but you, is of the same generation...and 100% are stupid....

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:41:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The irony then... (4+ / 0-)

      a kind of populist version of postmodernism which questions the value of "facts"...whether anything can truly be "known"..

      Is that the so-called "stupid" people who have imbibed this radical relativism don't realize it. Indeed, they reject relativism as a subversive--and likely Godless--threat to tradition and values. Of course, they float freely in that their truth is to be found in the gut, in their natural and intuitive "authenticity" rather than through the hard work of critical reasoning.  

      Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

      by JoesGarage on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:09:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pleased to add (9+ / 0-)

    "Recommended" to your tags.  Well deserved not only for the diary but also the fine discussion herein.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:19:43 AM PDT

  •  "Evolution is just a theory!" (14+ / 0-)

    Well, so is gravity but it's funny how ya' never see wing nuts jumping out of airplanes without parachutes.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:22:14 AM PDT

  •  I can't believe I'm quoting MoDo... (11+ / 0-)

    At least, unlike Paris Hilton and her ilk, the Dumb Blonde of ’50s cinema had a firm grasp on one thing: It was cool to be smart. She aspired to read good books and be friends with intellectuals, even going so far as to marry one. But now another famous beauty with glowing skin and a powerful current, Sarah Palin, has made ignorance fashionable.

    You struggle to name Supreme Court cases, newspapers you read and even founding fathers you admire? No problem. You endorse a candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat who is the nominee in West Virginia? Oh, well.

    At least you’re not one of those "spineless" elites with an Ivy League education, like President Obama, who can’t feel anything. It’s news to Christine O’Donnell that the Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. It’s news to Joe Miller, whose guards handcuffed a journalist, and to Carl Paladino, who threatened The New York Post’s Fred Dicker, that the First Amendment exists, even in Tea Party Land. Michele Bachmann calls Smoot-Hawley Hoot-Smalley.

    Religion: Treat it like your penis. Don't show it off in public, and don't shove it down your children's throats. (-9.00,-8.41)

    by MinistryOfLove on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:25:26 AM PDT

  •  I think that today, (15+ / 0-)

    the difference might be the media.  As noted in comments above, people have always held their own "opinions", and ignorance is as old as time.  However, we have a media today that glorifies the most outrageous, therefore, I think people are actually encouraged to be as "out there" in their thinking as they can be.

    And yes..."feelings" and "opinions" seem to have been elevated to the same status as "facts" and "reason".  My own personal pet peeve is asking someone why they think or believe something only to be told, "it's just what I believe" because they really, really do not understand that an opinion is only worthwhile if it can be backed up by fact.

    •  Did any of you see the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, Matt Z, JG in MD

      interview with D D(Obama's rage) and Jonathan Alter last night.  Opinion meet Fact.

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:29:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, I didn't... (10+ / 0-)

        was it on c-span?  I'll try to catch it today.

        I'm living this personally as my son's girlfriend is a real right winger who told me that she doesn't "believe in facts".  Sort of shuts any real conversation down, you know?  Tried just the other day to explain why I wasn't interested in doing The Bible in a book club with her.  Tried to explain that everyone thought they were right, but all I got back was the "but, it's so simple and they just want to make it hard".  No recognition that other people have ideas or opinions, too, or that in reality, there's no "factual" basis to back up anything in the Bible.

        •  succint (7+ / 0-)

          she doesn't "believe in facts".

          and

          "... it's so simple and they just want to make it hard".

          Reality = f(Belief) vs Belief = f(Reality)

          ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

          by dorkenergy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:41:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So what IS the message then (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc, Nulwee, dorkenergy

            ~a little change goes a long way~

            by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:55:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes! (10+ / 0-)

            Do you remember an article written by Ron Suskind back earlier in the Bush years?  He interviewed an unnamed staffer in the White House who went on and on about the ability to "make one's own reality".  The concept was that if one believed it enough, and could get others to believe it as well, it became reality.  I think that's what we're seeing.  

            We see this demonstrated in daily life all the time.  Sure...I believe in hope and ambition and all the rest, but, when we tell people "you can do anything you want as long as you want it enough", well, we're starting them down that path.  When facts get in the way, just ignore them.  Don't let those pesky facts get in your way.  "Belief" can overcome them. Frankly, this is why we have people losing houses today that they realistically never could have afforded...they were willing to "believe".  I'm not excusing those who have taken very unfair advantage of this ignorance, nor am I suggesting that these unfortunate people don't deserve better treatment than they're getting, but there is an element of magical thinking out there that we seem to just endorse.

            •  The whole private education system for profit (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nulwee

              is based on this.   When American Idol first started and I watched for a while.  Many at the auditions stated they had been taking voice lessons for many years.  and I am like who would do this to these poor kids?  Note I studied Opera for 14 years and sing in 8 different languages.  I have also taught and coached a lot.  People who do not have the physical ability to sing should be told.  You can do nothing with tone deafness.  It is like being color blind--you inherited in your genes and you learn to cope.  

              You don't choose to sing and then hate people who don't like your sound.

    •  Bravo. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, Nulwee

      I've run into that more times than I can count, especially online.

      "It's MY OPINION and I have a right to it!" they whine whenever challenged.

      To these beknighted and defensive souls, "facts" only emanate first, second or third-hand from the minds of the professional liars of the right, like Karl Rove, Roger Ailes, the Koch Brothers, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, the entire Bush dynasty, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, and others of that ilk.

      In other words, facts = "Whatever I agree with." And round and round we go. Any facts that don't jibe with their willfully ignorant worldview are instantly dismissed as "liberal," thus proving Stephen Colbert's observation.

      And any attempt to have a rational discussion with anyone of this mindset rapidly devolves into the same level of frustration as trying to reason with a three year old in mid-tantrum, banging his spoon on his high chair and screaming, no, no, no, no, no.

      Critical thinking is elitist! DO NOT WANT!

      "We have to remember that Timothy McVeigh was a tea-partier before his time." -- Kossack ccyd

      by Sharoney on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:25:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well, I have often wondered where our culture (8+ / 0-)

    of self absorption has come from, and it is interesting to pin it on the philosophy of education promoting self esteem. But where did that start from? and why, in this time of history?

    i think the worst effects are in the workplace, where jobs are considered primarily vehicles for 'self enrichment', and why we have such mediocre results and lack of accountability.

    are there any people in positions of power trying to change the basic philosophy of our educational system?

    •  This is what I saw happen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      I was there, sort of, and I posted about it above.

      Two good rules of life: Don't brake on a curve and don't drag the gears.

      by JG in MD on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:34:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How did the Giants win the Playoffs? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, Matt Z, JG in MD, Toon

      The coaches answer....... "We play as a team".

      Personal self enrichment, is enhanced, when you work together as a team. It can't be all individual effort for selfish self centered goals. That creates infighting, jealousy, and undermines the team effort.

      It was really refreshing to hear a coach take pride in the 'misfits' that came together to form his team that won the playoffs.

       The Rockies my home team, don't play as a team. Why? Because some players make millions, while others make merely thousands. The less well paid players played harder for the team than the stars, and were more willing to take risks.

      ~a little change goes a long way~

      by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:03:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Agree with Your Larger Thesis (15+ / 0-)

    But not this idea as stated:

    If we do not seriously begin to eliminate the idea that anyone has a right to their own opinion, based on the simple fact of existence, we will preside over the total destruction of civil society, all in the name of creating self- esteem.

    I think there is a real distinction between the false idea that all ideas have equal social value no matter how divorced from facts, which IMO underlies the self-esteem movement (which I agree with you was a catastrophe in terms of teaching folks to operate within a diverse society), and the 100% true idea that everyone has a right to their own opinion.  A person does have a right to their own opinion, since inherently a person has a human right to their own thoughts.  What they don't have a right to, however, is to have those opinions positively validated by society, merely because they exist.  They don't have a right to possess their opinion in a vacuum, for example, or contend that opinions different than their own be silenced.  They don't have a right to have their opinion be un-responded to, and challenged on the merits.  They don't have a right to see their opinions adopted and ascribed to by anyone else.

    It's like I told my kids growing up:  they can think whatever they wanted.  But they couldn't do whatever they want and they couldn't say whatever they wanted.  And that life wouldn't let them do it either, so they might as well get with the program early.  Today, my children are all adults with very diverse opinions about lots of things.  And that's OK with me - they also are not running around with their hair on fire when every day they must learn to work cooperatively with folks who think nothing like them.

    I feel we've become a society of people where folks really do feel entitled to silence views they don't share, because (as part of the elevation of self-esteem to a religious tenet, almost) otherwise they "feel bad" about themselves.  IMO, this is why you get folks who, for example, when called out on racism, sexism, homophobia, and a whole host of other -isms, go headlong into whinging about how they've been wronged just because someone God forbid was "too harsh" and called them a name. The issue for folks like this is not first and foremost that perhaps someone might have a point that is grounded in their words and behavior.  Nope.  Instead, it is all about how they feel when they are called out, and in particular, about their demand that they define what is, and is not, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

    I wish I could say it was limited to the right wing, but I can't - I see too many examples of it right here at DailyKOS every day.  I even see a really insane projection where people fight rhetorically on behalf of politicians as if they are fighting for their own survival (where the mere expression of alternative viewpoints threatens them so much that they either fall to rage or just outright denial of reality, depending on the day.)  

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:30:35 AM PDT

  •  Speak truth to stupid, (6+ / 0-)

    just like we do to power.  Example -
    He said: A bad decision is better than no decision.
    I say:  No, a bad decision is a bad decision.

    He said: The reason NOLA had so many problems after Katrina is because of all the poor people - poor people are the problem.
    I say: No, poor people aren't the problem - poor people have housing, transportation, health, educational, etc. problems because they are poor.

    Juan Williams - I am not a bigot but I'm afraid of Muslims in Muslim garb, blah, blah, blah....
    NPR - You're fired.

    Etc.

    ""Folks, wake up! This is not some academic exercise. Don't compare us to the Almighty -- compare us to the alternative." B. Obama, POTUS

    by mikidee on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:32:41 AM PDT

  •  I have spent the last forty (18+ / 0-)

    years in education. Self-esteem was a theme, but certainly not the dominant one in education. Nor do I think (my opinion) that it is at the root of our current political discourse that anyone's idea has validity. I spend some time trying understand my mother-in-law and her friends at the retirement home. Most of them have been pretty low information, relative low interest citizens and voters their whole lives. They feel bombarded now with ideas, concepts and notions laced with carefully chosen words and phrases that are familiar to them and fit with the simple paradigms they have known their whole lives. They conclude that it is all too complicated. Who can really make sense out it or figure out the facts and truth of the matter? So - I don't know but I will latch onto the people and phrases that seem to support the past that I have known and fears with which I have lived. Communism still has power for us a threat to democracy? It these messsages also are crafted to appeal to the more base prejudices that they hold.

    I think the stupid problem is not new. It is just that the power elite has learned to exploit better than ever before. Animal Farm remains one the best books that I ever read about political manipulation and use of power. I think it applies here.

    If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

    by itisuptous on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:32:48 AM PDT

  •  Yep (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikidee, Granny Doc, bmcphail, Matt Z, JG in MD

    Met Stupid in the flesh yesterday.  I didn't fight with him, I walked away.  He's convinced that his house lost value and his 401K went down by 50% because of "the idiot in the White House."  Um, duh.  Look at the time line.  You can only save so many souls.  Stupid isn't one I'm willing to waste my time on.

  •  Great line (6+ / 0-)

    I have also spent many years tracking the effects of the late 1970's educational revolution that focused on building self-esteem as one of the primary jobs of teachers and educators.  (A revolution which I fought vigorously at the time, and continue to oppose today.)

    One of my favorite lines is "the jails are full of people with high self esteem". (the implication being that self esteem without some common sense and realism can be quite dangerous.)

    "If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." Mike Lazaridis of RIM

    by taonow on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:38:11 AM PDT

    •  Forgot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      forgot to add that the idea was that instead of self esteem we should be teaching "self control". It is the ability to delay gratification, to anticipate the consequences of actions, and to understand that everything will not always work out just right because you want it to, that are the real lessons that need to be learned.

      "If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." Mike Lazaridis of RIM

      by taonow on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:43:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why is it one or the other? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc, Toon

        you're worthless and don't matter, isn't a viable place to make good decisions either.
        this isn't a simplistic either or situation, and I don't believe that the rise of the rabble is because the schools have taught them that they matter, rather there's a lot of money to be made by the proper feeding and directing of the ill-informed, made possible because of the lack of easily digested sources of information.  
        Remember the line truth has a liberal bias?
        these guys took that and then have gone on to destroy the dissemination of truth, and replaced it with he said, she said.

        republicians believe government can't work, when they're in power, they're right

        by askyron on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:05:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perfect, Granny Doc. (6+ / 0-)

    You had me cheering by paragraph four.

    People hate the idea of a meritocracy based on knowledge and wisdom, but how else does civilization really progress.  That's why I refused to pay union fees at a state university that voted in a teachers' union - retrenchment was based on seniority, not merit.  Can you imagine a university to base who goes when cuts are necessary on how long you've taught there rather than how good you are at teaching or your profession?  That's about as regressive as you can get.

    As my signature line says - and as your diary drives home - it's the cocksure - the overconfident - stupid who are the problem.

    Hope you're feeling better.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:40:33 AM PDT

    •  We've never had a meritocracy. (4+ / 0-)

      We've have had a partial meritocracy operating along side the age old aristocracy for a number of decades now. The best predictor of wealth is parental income. Parents with resources will always use their resources to improve the prospects of the next generation. Financial success is much like Ivy League college admission, some get because of their family connections and some through grades.

      They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Terry Pratchett

      by Toon on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:10:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thank you! saved my raging fingers! (0+ / 0-)

        Meg will run CA like a business. Which business? BP? Massey Coal? Tyco?

        by stagemom on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:08:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But you could achieve thru merit in a way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        that I do not see as possible now.  I was a National Merit Scholar in 1963 and as a woman it was a huge help.  I had a lot of other talents that also helped--debate and music.  I got to do things young because I had the talent.  My parents would pay for nothing--they did not believe in educating women.  I got scholarships thru private schools in a way I see as no longer possible.

        Many of your best educators, teachers of the year etc., cannot get jobs.  Often nationally recognized teachers leave the country to teach where they are appreciated.

        I civil service was much more meritocracy in the 60s than it is now.  Huge pyramid of political appointees.

  •  The bolstering of self-esteem... (11+ / 0-)

    which you identify seems less a "cause" to me than a "symptom" of the profound transformations acting upon Western culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s, what we might call the transition from Modernity to Postmodernity. It's ironic in a way, because Postmodernity (as used among and exemplified by cultural theorists such as Foucault and others) seemed to have real promise as a leftist critique of culture with the potential for politically progressive outcomes. At the moment, however, as I assay the American cultural and political landscape, I would argue that the Postmodern Condition has been most fully realized by the Right. Then again, we Postmodernists are supposed to revel in irony, so there ya' go...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 08:44:50 AM PDT

  •  If we want to maintain high standards, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    You'll want to use the adjective (dominant) instead of the verb.

    the shackles of the dominate culture

  •  this is the basis of surveys that don't help (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom, Granny Doc, JG in MD

    Organizations do attitude surveys which give people a way to express opinions.

    The scores are added up in a report. That must be wisdom because it is the expression of the self esteem of the group.

    But there is nothing in the surveys that help much in formulating what to do. Because they are opinions about attitudes with scales like disagree to strongly agree.

    This meaningless exercise is repeated over and over and only makes the people more discouraged.

    A excellent organizational consultant can interview people and observe the organization and come up with a plan to do something about it.

    If anyone is interested I could provide a link to a novel way to survey organizations.

  •  How do you fight the slide in ethics? (7+ / 0-)
      Part of the self-esteem for everyone apparently included the "permission" for those with little education and training to tear down those with such training in order to make themselves look better.  It's included a culture where ethics are tossed aside in the name of advancing some  repugnant goal.  Soon the lines of what is ethical are blurred beyond distinction as more and more people believe it's SOP to do what used to be considered exceptions to the rules.  Inexperienced staffers are arrogant enough to believe they know all there is to know, while experienced individuals are shot down for pointing out the fallacy of that staffer's claims lest the staffer have their precious self-esteem dented.  Up is down, wrong is right, the bully is deemed the victim.
      I used to work in a profession that was highly regarded for its ethics.  But over the past three decades it has eroded to the point that people now think it's "cool" that so many in that profession push the limits on what's ethical.  And the contorted reasoning those (otherwise highly educated) ethics violators use to justify their positions is no better than climate change deniers, birthers, or teabaggers screaming that public schools are "socialism."  

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

  •  This dairy is too complex. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, bmcphail, codairem

    I don't understand this diary.I know what it "feels" like to me... subtle racism. discrimination, elitism...but those are likely terms that I don't really understand.
    Maybe, I am wrong. I just feel offended.

    I don't see any focus on self-esteem at my child's school. Socially, the focus is on civility and order. However, the school and the city put a great deal of effort into supporting disadvantaged children-this is to everyone's advantage. The school, by the way, is fantastic.

    People will always have their opinions and will voice those opinions at times. Should some people stop breathing because they have bad breath or never leave home because they are overweight and are visually distressing to others?

    A. Modern psychology/psychiatry has helped millions of people and saved many lives.

    B. Modern psychology/psychiatry has destroyed millions of lives with the wide disbursement of under-tested medications.

    A case could be made for both statements.

    I won't offer my opinion because I would not be informed enough to do so.
    My generation gets dumped on a lot. We were taught that we were valuable and important. We took out loans to go go to college and grad school that will take our lifetimes to pay back. We can't afford to buy anything-so the economy is tanking. And we should think less of ourselves and not share our opinions because we really aren't important. And this message comes from the generation that benefited from the greatest jump in economic prosperity in American history.

    "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

    by orphanpower on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:07:32 AM PDT

    •  the other key point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bmcphail, mashed potatoes

      it's not the rise of self esteem, it's the decline of civility that is the  problem

      Scientific Materialism debunked here

      by wilderness voice on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:33:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Civility (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        The decline of civility is a major problem. What matters most is one's own civility towards others. Sometimes we fail.

        Pundits are by nature opinionated. Pundits are running the news programs. I would not refer to them as "stupid". They are about ratings. Conflict boosts ratings. If one pundit or politician spouts a ridiculous lie as truth, it makes the other pundits and politicians angry producing...conflict. Swagger,cockiness and the heady glow of privilege is also good for ratings.

        How this relates to an educational theory that pushed teaching self-esteem in the school systems in the 70's...I have no idea.

        "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

        by orphanpower on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:46:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  don't people remember (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, bmcphail, Matt Z, codairem

    that Bush & Co lied to start a war?  And that the republicans are being run by the same people?

    www.tapestryofbronze.com and www.haikudiary.com

    by chloris creator on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:09:36 AM PDT

  •  A perfect example of stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, BoxNDox

    is the way the CEO of NPR handled the firing of Juan Williams.

    She felt so self justified, that she did it over the phone, and handed the right a huge talking point.

    How do we fight stupid when it comes from our own side. The message should have been Juan Williams is engaging in broad brush hate speech of an entire race.

    His offense has now been negated, because the left, as in the CEO of NPR, was stupid in the way she handled this whole situation. She was right to fire him. Yes.

    She should have done it behind closed doors.

    This is how the left loses the messaging wars.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

    •  I respectfully disagree. (5+ / 0-)

      The right's shrieking is a perfect example of an idiotic/stupid/factless/ignorant/opinionated response to Williams' firing - and we would have heard the same stupidity no matter how it was done.

      If anything, NPR's firing of Williams was exactly what we need to see more of from the main stream media - call bullshit when they see it. No amount of shrieking negates that fact.

      ""Folks, wake up! This is not some academic exercise. Don't compare us to the Almighty -- compare us to the alternative." B. Obama, POTUS

      by mikidee on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:27:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yup (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        woulda been no different no matter how they fired him.

        Scientific Materialism debunked here

        by wilderness voice on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:35:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Should have been done behind closed doors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        without personal insults.

        It should have been presented as a conflict of interest. Objectivism at NPR vs Propaganda at Fox.

        NPR fired him for his racist comments.
        Fox hired him for his racist comments.

        There is no doubt of that. But this meme that the left (like Stalin and the communists) wants to censor free speech was allowed to seed and breed by the way Nina impulsively handled Williams termination.

        ~a little change goes a long way~

        by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:07:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nah - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharoney, Granny Doc, Matt Z

          it's the firing the right picked up on ("O.M.G. - It's supression of speech!!!!!) The manner of firing was just icing on the cake.

          In fact, you have answerd Granny Doc's question in your reply: what do we say to stupid?

          NPR fired him for his racist comments.
          Fox hired him for his racist comments.

          And that, afterall, is what matters most.

          ""Folks, wake up! This is not some academic exercise. Don't compare us to the Almighty -- compare us to the alternative." B. Obama, POTUS

          by mikidee on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:20:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That message was obscured (0+ / 0-)

            by the way it was handled.

            ~a little change goes a long way~

            by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:35:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obscured? Nope - (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sharoney

              not at all. And it's our job to avoid getting wrapped up in irrelevant conversations about things that don't matter.

              ""Folks, wake up! This is not some academic exercise. Don't compare us to the Almighty -- compare us to the alternative." B. Obama, POTUS

              by mikidee on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:46:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yup it was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Granny Doc

                Sure enough.

                You are so blinded by your desire to paint Williams as a racist, deserving to be fired, that you can't see the forest for the trees.

                The CEO of NPR handled this whole situation very stupidly.

                I have explained how this could have been about Fox News being unfair and unbalanced, IF Tina had fired Williams quietly. Juan would still be fired. A brief statement could have been issued about conflict of interest re: muslim bashing, and we would be talking about Fox's muslim bashing.

                I have made my point and whether you see it or not IT IS a valid point. Williams is a racist. And NPR handled this stupidly.  I won't belabor it further.

                Please do have the last word.

                ~a little change goes a long way~

                by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:40:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Every Man a King; the Sovereign Citizen (6+ / 0-)

    Who Cannot be Taxed; You're Assaulting My Self-Esteem; We're Making Our Own Political Reality Here; Why Should I Listen to Your Media Sources, When I Have My Own?; Why Should I Study-- I'm Buying a Diploma; Making Me Responsible for My Fellow Man is "Socialism;" Not in My Backyard, Put it in His; Your Science Must be Suppressed, It Makes Me Feel Stupid; None of Your Federal Laws Apply to Me, But I Want New Ones to Punish Those Dangerous Arabs and Mexicans.

  •  I consider myself a liberal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom, Granny Doc, bmcphail

    or a progressive.

    My suggestion is that liberalism needs to grow up in many ways.

    You can not win a war with an enemy you don't understand. How many of you understand hard core libertarianism that is the core of the GOP, since the New Deal?

    The bottom line for the GOP is overturning FDR's New Deal. How many liberals understand that.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:26:28 AM PDT

  •  NYT has already been taken over by Murdoch (6+ / 0-)

    Two articles in the today's paper:

    "Back on the Stump, a Chastened Obama Takes a Sharper Tone"

    and,

    "GOP is poised to Seize house, if not Senate"...

    I just checked on the net and the word "chastened" has been removed from the internet (I was looking at in the paper while I was searching the net for it) and that article does not even mention that 35000 people showed up in L.A.'s rally.

    The second one: WHY in the hell do they want to predict the future ten days in advance. So Dems don't go out and vote?

    What is going on?

    A man's character is his destiny.

    by Jaleh on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:27:30 AM PDT

    •  Not limited to the NYT, of course, on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, Jaleh, Matt Z

      the cover of yesterday's WashPost:

      In search of approval for his party and himself:  Obama crosses U.S., trying to recapture magic touch

      Um, okay.  Article two pages later is headlined:

      Familiar faces funding conservative attack ads

      We did see later that there was a "break in Democratic gloom" but the message had already been delivered.  But today's gem is about the tea party lacking a compass.  Really?  An alleged movement?!  I guess the paymasters forgot to have that aspect funded and created.

      Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

      by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:49:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For the reasons you cite and other ones as well (6+ / 0-)

    ... we have, as a culture, seemed to have lost the ability to reason. We have enshrined Chauncey Gardner as God.

  •  What propagandists have synthesized (8+ / 0-)

    over the existence of human kind is an understanding of how fear motivates the ignorant.

    Religion was the first consolidated hierarchical construct; it served the purpose to motivate human beings to act like savages for thousands of years.

    Nationalism is simply the latest construct: the combination of race, ethnic, cultural and religious driven fears are stoked with misinformation and lies. They are amplified by mass media.

    Like what happened in Nazi Germany and with Radio Rwanda, a saturation of lies and distortions are fed into the minds of the masses, until nonsense becomes reality.

    You are not fighting 'stupid', you are fighting deliberate lies and propaganda; you are fighting against corporations that power these giant media Wurlitzers and spew hate.

    Many authors have addressed this, from Mark Twain to George Orwell, from Upton Sinclair to Sinclair Lewis. Corporations know that ignorance is crucial to their survival: they actively work to keep the public ill-informed and fed lies.

    Anti-science anti-education for profit entities have always been and always will be the bane of civilization.

    #nogop Help make it a trending tag at Twitter.

    by shpilk on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:33:31 AM PDT

    •  On Booktv, yesterday (5+ / 0-)

      I saw a program on the fight that has lasted for the past 25 years to suppress the dangers of electromagnetic wave generators being held against the head (in the form of cell phones), or carried in the pocket, on both brain tumors and lower sperm production.  

      The makers of these phones, and their "apps" are fighting tooth and nail to keep the information from the public.  They slander scientists, threaten to sue states (Maine) that want to include warnings, and keep calling for "more investigations" to delay any concerted effort to address the problem.

      The Right Wing wonders why we distrust their "Business Model"...

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:39:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  yikes, that's a distortion (6+ / 0-)

    I can tell you don't teach, and probably never have.  At least I hope that's true.

    Teaching self esteem isn't some wishy washy "all opinions are valid" kind of approach, for crying out loud.  In fact, it is much more about supporting the effort made in expressing an opinion, even if wrong headed, because learning cannot happen in students who are cowed into silence.

    Also, I really dispute the notion that somehow this approach to teaching is rooted in an effort to make minorities feel better.  In fact, the implication that one way to bring minorities in is to credit stupid ideas, really implies that previously when only white people spoke there were good ideas, and then we had to let in dumb brown people's ideas too.

    If it were anyone else, granny, I'd be jumping down your throat on this, but I konw that's not what you mean. It'sjuust how it sounds.

    In fact, this movment of teaching to support student efficacy is simply an observation that learning only happens when students do the work, and That only happens when students feel they can and have a positive relationship to the work.  Any blasted fool can lead a student to water, but a teacher involves getting them to drink.  

    I'm sorry, but the premise here is so incredibly wrongheaded, it is difficult to know where to begin.

    I wish more people were thoughtful and honest but being outraged is too much fun I suppose

    by Guinho on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:36:46 AM PDT

    •  We differ in our interpretation (3+ / 0-)

      of both the history, and the result.

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:41:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I tend to agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stagemom

      I find true ignorance is more promoted by blind following of dogma, and religious dogma written by man and interpreted by special messengers (priests) is the biggest destructor of human innovation.  Look at the dark ages and any overly religious societies. Therefore, I would think that encouraging people to have their own real opinions, even if not factual, would in the long run create innovation, which should be a good thing???

    •  stagedad always says that if you think you can (0+ / 0-)

      solve a problem, you will!  it sure worked for our youngest daughter, the math whiz.

      Meg will run CA like a business. Which business? BP? Massey Coal? Tyco?

      by stagemom on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:16:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where it really lies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, Fabian, congenitalefty

    is in the anti-elitist, anti-education ethic that elevates any schmoe because he's a working american to the same level as the people who've busted their asses for years learning and investigating phenomena.  I think stupid comes from firm belief that looks down on "nerds" in favor of "common sense"

    I will notice that since this diary itself is remarkably lacking in actual evidence brought to bear, but instead lies in unfounded (and wrongheaded) assumptions, it is a classic case of the precise phenomenon you speak of.  Namely, a long assertion based on your opinion without supporting evidence.

    Did you mean to be ironic?

    I wish more people were thoughtful and honest but being outraged is too much fun I suppose

    by Guinho on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:41:04 AM PDT

    •  Do you? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EricS

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:42:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I second this comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal

      People are products of their environments and while education IS important, once you exit school then you are subjected to an environment of your choosing.

      RNinNC did a splendid little series where he lived on a news diet of nothing but Bill O'Reilly for an entire month.  It was a very strange experience - many perfectly news worthy events were ignored completely and other events were covered heavily.  The missing blonde teen?  Covered repeatedly, even though little actual progress was made on it.

      Once you submerge yourself into that news environment, you understand where the "stupid" comes from.  People who declared they were no longer going to "watch" NPR?  They never listened to NPR and they mostly obviously watched most of their newsish, infotainment and infoganda programs.

      The "stupid" did not come from "self esteem" programs.  It came from people who seek out a comforting, consistent environment.  Fast food news, served up with just enough titillation and emotion to keep people engaged without creating any troublesome curiousity.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:50:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Walk down your street at night (9+ / 0-)

    and see the ghostly flicker of televisions in home after home.
    The impact of my school shaped perceptions are ever dimming as the years pass, but every day the riot box whispers and shouts in my mind.  

    I suspect we are seeing the erosion of rational thought by continual exposure to television induced reality which has two objectives.

    1. Attract eyeballs with sex, novelty, violence, adventure and fear
    1. Train those eyeballs to see unmet needs and then suggest commercial solutions.

    Watch any tv of the reality shows and that stupidity  which is blinding America's ability to solve its problems is on display.
    Commercial driven entertainment has captured our politics and our collective reality.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:42:52 AM PDT

    •  Fly over the USA after school, while it's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crystal eyes, Granny Doc

      still light out.  The ballfields are empty.  That's where I learned about competition, physical fitness and how much better it feels to be a winner.

      Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

      by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 04:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is very dangerous (8+ / 0-)

    to blame the self esteem movement for ruining education while ignoring the whole language movement from the same period that destroyed the reading competence of the students. When "Jill" can't read she can't acquire any facts but those she is spoon fed. Teh Stoopid Is Complex.  

    •  Ah, phonics! <g> (0+ / 0-)

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:46:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as a speech-language pathologist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stagemom

        with extensive background in reading instruction as well as language development I can tell you that the problems with reading instruction have little to do with such oversimplifications between whole language, phonological awareness, phonics, sight word instruction etc.   Nothing is ever that simple.

        And the school with the highest success rate in literacy--100%--has no methodology other than respect for the learner's autonomy.  Children learn to read when and how they want to learn to read. This would be Sudbury Valley where democracy in action is practiced.

        •  But why can't Jill spell? And why is her (0+ / 0-)

          life dominated by text-speak?  I'm developing a tic from holding my tongue [well, typing fingers] when I see what my young relatives write.  

          Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

          by conlakappa on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:53:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  did you ever read (0+ / 0-)

            Lewis and Clark diaries?  talk about non-standard spelling!  bad spellers are nothing new.  spelling instruction, with only a few exceptions of research-based practice, has stayed in the dark ages of teaching by testing--tell kids to study a list and test them weekly.  It doesn't work any worse now than it ever did.

            Literacy, including spelling are developmental language processes that are heavily influenced by a multitude of factors including biological and cultural/environmental factors.

            Some individuals with biological traits that make spelling difficult to acquire can and do, when motivated, acquire functional spelling skills.  I am reminded of a teen who had struggled for years with spelling who got better when she started chatting online with friends and texting and wanting to be understood.  I am reminded of the archetypal engineer whose bad spelling got much worse after a stroke who worked some on improving but kept defaulting to, who really cares?  my colleagues say they don't and they get what I'm saying most of the time.

            as to text-speak, just keep in mind that language and communication forms constantly evolve and you are just reacting with nostalgia for the good old days.  we are more comfortable with the familiar as we get older.  change is the hallmark of youth and thank our lucky stars we still have young people to keep us moving.

            ps--typing one-handed due to a broken arm I find myself less articulate and not caring about some conventions like capitals.  motivation and interest are complex factors.

  •  If the opinion can answer 5 why's, then it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, bmcphail, Matt Z, BoxNDox

    probably deserves a listen.  Most opinions you are talking about can't answer 1 why?

    We want our pre-existing conditions back - Tea-GOP

    by 88kathy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:45:08 AM PDT

  •  ah, this statement you made (7+ / 0-)

    Psychologists have long fretted over the popularization of complex ideas, generated in complex research projects, being appropriated, and frequently misunderstood, by educators and politicians.

    accurately sums up the "initiative" system of governing here in california.

    i am absolutely astounded at the pseudo-good-sounding initiatives that are written by the corporate special interests to try to trick the stupid into thinking they are voting on something beneficial to them instead of those corporations.

    my latest favorite is an initiative put forward to prevent "government" from assessing a "fee" without voter approval first!  what better way to strangle any government than having a general election over every single fee assessed in the system!  if this passes, you'll see california totally disintigrate - even moreso than the chaos we face today!

    add "no child left behind" and we see an entire generation being "thrown out" instead of being left behind!

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:47:49 AM PDT

    •  We are voting in Florida on similar amendment. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, bmcphail

      But it sounds more comprehensive than yours. Crazy stuff. I'm not sure many will understand the reach of this thing. They're saying it could cause thousands of referendums since it's so far reaching.

      Amendment 4 in Florida.
      This "Vote on Everything" amendment would force Floridians – not the representatives they elect – to decide hundreds of technical comprehensive plan changes each year.

      ....the Vote on Everything amendment
      would cause Florida’s economy to permanently collapse.... According to a study conducted by The Washington Economics Group, Amendment 4 will reduce Florida’s economic output by $34 billion annually. Given Florida’s precarious economic climate, that’s the last thing our state needs.

      ....the Vote on Everything amendment will make matters worse. Amendment 4 would lead to short-term thinking and piecemeal planning which would promote sprawl, not prevent it. For this reason, leading environmental organizations such as 1,000 Friends of Florida have raised objections to this misguided measure. They know that Amendment 4 will make well-coordinated, responsible growth impossible and lead to the exact type of urban sprawl most Floridians bemoan.

      Our unemployment crisis could be cured very quickly if we had the intellectual clarity and political will to act. ~ Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:21:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my gut feeling is this amendment and others like (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, Granny Doc

        it are designed to turn OFF voters.

        the whole plot is diabolical - while it seems to put power in the hands of the people, it actually makes governing next to impossible.

        oh, how i loathe republican/corporation plans to destroy this nation!

        this is the proposition that is just downright disgusting...

        while it is being touted as voter approval of any new fees, in reality, it means that 2/3 majority of state government must approve to pass any fee at all.

        MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

        by edrie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:05:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Contrariwise - Vote Yes on 4 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        People voting on changes to their community's comprehensive land use plan would "...  would cause Florida’s economy to permanently collapse...."  

        Where is your BS meter?

        You quote wild stuff from the megabuck opponents of the amendment. [and in particular, a right leaning consulting firm in Coral Gables Florida with "Washington" in its name]. The quote also misrepresents the group 1,000 Friends of Florida, which is neutral on 4, recognizing that something must be done about excessive developer influence, and their own preferred action got nowhere.

        It is doubtful that any one community would have more than a few items to vote on per year.  

        People do not have to vote on technical questions. The city or county commission is supposed to make sure the technical rules are satisfied before recommending a change.  The issue facing Florida communities is: will a technically legal change benefit the community, or the developer? To often it is the latter.  If the community benefits, fine, people will vote Yes on the change.

         

  •  Unfortunately, (6+ / 0-)

    The conundrum GrannyDoc is presenting is even more complicated than it is.

    Right at the time we are teaching 'self esteem', our society has also created the situation that from the earliest weeks and months of a child's life, they are forced into the group think and behavior of outside child care.

    Because our society is not civilized enough to realize that children need to be with their parents, we have no ethos of long term paid child leave as many other industrialized nations do.  So children are squeezed into the box of what's necessary to maintain discipline and order among a large group of kids.  They are little sponges for all the marketing directed to them, and become parts of waves of trends and fads, most of which are of utterly no value.

    So, they are simultaneously being taught to have individual 'self esteem' and being de-individualized.

    If the rare parent takes the time and effort to actually raise an individual, one with self-confidence rather than self-esteem, that unfortunate young person suffers the consequences of not falling in step as has been programmed from the earliest weeks of their lives.

    Extraordinarily complex issues here.  With no facile solutions available.  Which for most people means there are no solutions at all.

    Master's degreed tri-lingual professional looking for work. Email in profile.

    by pvlb on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:48:02 AM PDT

  •  I am sorry but i do not get the basis of this (0+ / 0-)

    diary?  surely it is one person's opinion to consider
    another person 'stupid' for having a different set of what they perceive to be factual knowledge or an opinion about that fact or knowledge. That's a judgement!

    Truth and reality are very moveable feasts and to express an opinion about anything must in essence be based on one's feelings toward that fact, reality or truth?

    For example the brouhaha last week and this week still about NPR firing Juan Williams for having 'feelings of fear toward Muslims under certain circumstances''!!!!

    I'm sorry I don't see how you can expect 300 million people from different levels of education, different cultural backgrounds and different educations to find consensus on anything at all, especially when supposedly sensible people have extreme diverse feeling about climate change and evolution to name a couple.

    Stupid is and as stupid thinks and to be anything less is being intolerant, and that IS stupid.

    •  The World is Not Fact Free (3+ / 0-)

      Here is a fact. The sun rose in the East this morning. You can not have an oppinion that a fact is wrong. An opinion would be, "I don't think it matters which side the sun rises from."

      I think you confuse value judgements with facts. Juan Williams was fired last week. That is a fact. Nobody is entitled to opinion whether or not he was fired. They can only be right or wrong. Now if you want to argue if his firing was justified, then we can offer opinions and have a discussion on the subject. Somebody who knows how to think critically will be able to weigh the different opinions based upon how well they are argued by known FACTS. Not all opinions are equally valid. For instance if someone said "It is wrong to fire him because the moon is made out of Swiss Cheese," we could throw that opinion out because it is supported by something that is both untrue (Everybody knows the moon is made out of Blue Chesse :)) and it has no proven relationship to the topic (No argument has been put forth to show the effects of the moon's composition on his firing).

      •  if you bothered to really read and comprehend (0+ / 0-)

        my comment you would see I never questioned the  accuracy of the FACT of Williams firing. That is indisputable and NOT an opinion.

        What is valid to have an opinion about is whether it is was/is justified based a variety of basic premises, his own self confessed feeling of fear that the sight of a Muslim in traditional garb a a plane in case he was wearing it presumably to make a point when he blew Mr. Williams to smithereens, plus the anomaly of Mr. Williams dual and conflicting roles as news analyst and opinionator on the two rival and totally disparate news organisations he was beholden to to.

        Ones opinion on that score could certainly probably      constitute a value judgement on the behalf of the opinion holder, and it would be stupid to think otherwise.

        I don't understand your point frankly? so I can only assume it was meant to be argumentative and not to be taken seriously.

  •  One irony I see is this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom, Granny Doc, karmsy

    some of the people who want to "take my country back" were educated before the post-civil rights era shift to "self-esteem" education, and the mythic country they imagine included, as I remember from my early years of public school, rigorous academic standards whose mastery produced self-esteem. I was raised to believe, for instance, that an individual is only entitled to his/her informed, truthful opinion. These people should know better and behave accordingly,and that they don't suggests two points: they are ignorant in the Puritan sense of rejecting values they were taught, and their self-esteem was and is founded more on their sense of white privilege that on their meritorious accomplishments.

    The other irony starts here: The younger generations of people swept into the "teahadi" movement are those Grannydoc's diary accurately describes.  If I had a nickle for every student who has argued that perfect attendance alone deserves an "A," I could teach for free. Some students have trouble following instructions, I suspect, because adhering to an assignment's guidelines has mattered less in the past than merely doing some, any writing that could be loosely called "academic." It would take a diary I shouldn't write in respect of my students' privacy to document all the various ramifications of public schools' abandoning academic discipline to preserve students' fragile egos. Let it suffice to say that we have sown the wind with three decades of education reform and we are now reaping the whirlwind of supposedly good intentions.

    "The most frightening feature of unreason is its failure to recognize itself." --Howard V. Hendrix

    by vahana on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 09:48:58 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EricS, stagemom, Granny Doc

    Unfortunately I don't see much possibility of getting people to dismiss their opinions as unworthy. They think, they believe, that they have the facts, or the "right" information, the "right" "logic" or rationale. They form their attitudes and opinions and find others as they go along in life to support those. They don't want to be changed, challenged or to grow or get educated. They merely want to find and relate to others who support their own beliefs/opinions. It might be summed up:

             I am. I speak! Therefore I am right.

    Opinions will not be stopped in favor of truth and facts, imho, because we do have a right to our opinions. And people have as you say been led to believe that their opinions are as good as anyone else's, regardless of what they may be based on. They fight back against people with more knowledge, more truth, by labeling them as "elites." I'm just stating the obvious.

    I agree with you completely and absolutely that this is one of the most serious problems our society faces. Probably because I'm in the same age range as you are I'm very disheartened by all this. Indeed, I had to stop watching C-Span call-in shows due to the stupidity in the guise of brilliance. But I'd never linked all of this to the pushing of self-esteem. I can see how that is involved without doubt, and how incredibly insane it is to be used to qualify one's opinion!

    Thanks very much for this diary. Your thoughtfulness is much needed here.

    Best wishes!

    Our unemployment crisis could be cured very quickly if we had the intellectual clarity and political will to act. ~ Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:08:39 AM PDT

  •  Funny what you've described as self-confidence or (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Granny Doc, Matt Z

    self-esteem I've always considered as "flakey".  Self confidence is all about going into a situation where you don't know the results or the outcome, yet you charge in anyway.  You invest $100M to make a better battery, not because you already know how but because you think you can do it.  Self esteem (to me) means you don't jump off a bridge if the battery doesn't work.  (Smart people incrementally invest so they can pull the plug as early as possible if things aren't working out).

    Of course, that is a big part of the problem, we're not investing in real things like batteries (although Obama has turned part of this around, believe it or not).  Instead, we are dominating our society with things that don't really matter except in opinion: facebook, reality TV, etc..  

    Another problem is education - we teach too much what we know and too little what we don't.  Education becomes all about the realities of the past, not the possibilities of the future.  People then take for granted everything they see but don't understand, and they react almost with fear when their assumptions are threatened.

    So confidence in expressing an opinion replaces ability to build a better battery because, well we get that in the mail from china, and can't you just look up the answer in the teacher's edition of batteries 101?  

    Not sure how to fix any of this.  We seem to be kindof stuck.

  •  you're looking too far, the 'immediate' problem (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Granny Doc, bmcphail, Matt Z

    re our politics and the disaster we face (underfunded schools, overfunded military, climate change innaction, etc) can be attributed to one significant factor.

    the backsliding that has happened the last 20 years, with a GOP devoid of independent thoughtful conservatives, is the result of the talk radio monopoly and the ignoring of it by the left. no other medium can do what it can to determine what is and what isn't acceptable or true in the US. it has been the single most important component for  creating the alternate reality we and the rest of the media are stuck in now where 2+2 can equal 3.

    the party of lincoln  has been purged and now it is the party of limbaugh

    and it has only worked for the roves and heritage foundations and chambers of commerce because the left has given the 1000 local radio stations and their propagandists that blast the country with that coordinated repetition a free speech free ride.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:20:34 AM PDT

  •  Well said, but methinks it is more than too muchy (6+ / 0-)

    self esteem wrong with this country.  

    American Exceptional Stupidity goes back way farther than the "self esteem" movement.  It is in the very DNA of our population base that these flaws manifest.  

    It is really who we are. Witness slavery when all else on the planet had ceased this abhorrent practice for example.

    If you stand somewhere else on the planet you can see more readily the flaws Americans flaunt.  

    The German population during the time before the WW2 acted similarly stupid.  Even after the war, I spoke with Germans that still were stupid, in denial of what they did and still hating the Jews.  The Jews caused the war they said.  I talked to them about their beliefs and the war.  They were still "stupid" decades after they lost the war.

    Perhaps it is not stupidity we have, but a population enthralled with the propaganda and voices of stupidity of such like Rupert Murdoch?

    Rupert Murdoch is to the Americans as Joseph Goebbels was to the Germans?

  •  By the way, great to see your sig again, mahalo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    My aloha goes out to you and your healing process.

  •  Just my opinion... (5+ / 0-)

    but I am pretty sure their were always this many idiots, they just did not have computers.

    History tells us they voted and listened to demagogues.

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:28:50 AM PDT

    •  Nor did they have 24/7 (0+ / 0-)

      tv stations with slots to fill, or the elevation of useful idiots like Palin, and Lumbaugh to fill them.  

      "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

      by Granny Doc on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:31:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not People But the Greatest Propaganda Machine (8+ / 0-)

    in human history is the fault. This has been a purposeful, planned, well coordinated and astronomically funded program going back generations.

    And our Constitutional rights have incredibly dangerous flaws to them that empower the corporations to fight the people without obligation to society.

    November 3rd is the time to take this up.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:28:58 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, allergywoman

      and I would add that the news media and overtly political advertisments are not the only forms of propaganda to which we are exposed--the TV advertisements for goods and services really aren't anything more than than propaganda for the wasteful, consumerist, buy-buy-buy, status symbol conservative culture that the corporations would like to force upon us.

    •  Yep, eliminate corporate personhood (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gorette, Granny Doc, allergywoman
      Overturn Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific.

      http://www.movetoamend.org

      Strip corporations of all Constitutional rights. They are not people!

      But first, GOTV! Because NONE of this will get fixed with Repugs in power. In fact, it would get much, much worse. You have no idea the depths it could get to if Repugs take back the House.

      GET OUT THE VOTE! Get people to vote early! Now! Make phone calls! Go door to door!

      Ok, gotta get back to the phones myself. This is not fun, but it beats the alternative, big time.

  •  Fairness Doctrine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    That is how ignorance and lies are fought.
    Shut down the hate of Glen,Rush and all of those Fox folks.

    •  There Was Much More to the Better Press of Past (6+ / 0-)

      than just the f.d. It may not really be necessary.

      What we did have was very strict business regulation such as limits on ownership, frequent license for broadcast with heavy public service requirements, and others including a lot of local ownership.

      What we need to do is nationalize cable distribution system so that the old broadcast business regs and media ownership limits can be restored and applied to both broadcast and to cable.

      That way government can enforce access requirements for the public's business too such as campaigning.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:35:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, FarWestGirl, Ana Thema

      You reinstitute that and you drive the right wing talkers to cable and satellite, to which the FD would notapply, and give them something else to scream about: government censorship.
      You also further marginalize terrestrial radio, an industry with enough problems as it is.
      The solution is not the Fairness Dopctrine.
      It would be to revisit the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and restore ownership limits.
      If only.

      RKBA: the only focus group on Daily Kos that is attacked by Kossacks for doing what it was formed to do.

      by kestrel9000 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:48:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If it's the self-esteem movement in the 60s -70s (7+ / 0-)

    that's contributing so much to making people stupid, then why are people who went to school before then some of the most ignorantly opinionated assholes I've ever seen?

    All other hoped-for outcomes for the betterment of this nation flow from the bedrock of Good Government.

    by zett on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:32:10 AM PDT

  •  Highly recommended as usual GrannyDoc (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, Matt Z

    You are spot on. I love your diaries.

  •  Sadly this is an old story in America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom, Granny Doc, Matt Z

    Richard Hofstadter in "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" amply illustrates that the current wave of idiocy is nothing new.
    http://www.amazon.com/...

    There are no solved problems; there are only problems that are more or less solved. Henri Poincare

    by Bourbaki on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:43:47 AM PDT

  •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    The majority of the human race, throughout the entirety of its history, has formed its opinions not through rational observation but through prejudices, emotions, and groupthink.  The modern progressive idealization of "the truth" has all but destroyed the movement and allowed the extreme economic right to drag the world to Hell.  Progressivism's hope for survival rests within its adherents' ability and willingness to create Big Lies as effective as those of the corporate right wing.

    •  there are approx 7 billion people on the planet, (4+ / 0-)

      only about one billion of them live in what we west like to refer to a 'civilised' society or Western civilisation, the rest live under varying stages ag tyrannical theocracy, authoritarian regimes, dome have semblances of democracy or socialism or oligarchical governments, and we are fighting two wars trying to impose our version of Jeffersonaian democracy on some of the people. .

      So obviously many Americans views on what constitutes 'stupid' will vary a great deal compared to much of the rest of the world.

      What has self esteem got to do with it?

  •  Understanding that one has a problem (5+ / 0-)

    is the first step toward solving it.  The self-esteem crap has swallowed the possibility of that realization.  I was popular with students and some parents (not so much with administrators) for 'telling it like it is' in the classroom.  

    I expected a lot from my kids, but I didn't go out of my way to make things hard for them.  Whenever possible, I explained to them why I insisted that they do things, but sometimes the reason just had to be "because I said so."  My catch-all explanation was that I wanted them to have successful, fulfilling, good lives.  When I couldn't articulate how what I was doing was going to enable that result, I told them they'd just have to trust me.  (Never lie to kids.  They can smell it a mile away!)

    I usually got a good response from most kids, but as a general rule, the poorer the kids, the more they took to heart what I was trying to do.  I'm sure that is a gross generalization based on my limited experience, but I think if it were studied, it might prove true.  The poorest kids I taught were the easiest to convince that there were just some things they HAD to do to have a good life.  They didn't have to like it or keep doing it once they were out of school, but they did have to learn it in my class.  

    Years later, I'm still getting thanks from these kids.  That's all the confirmation I need to believe that I have/had the right idea.  If I didn't get that feedback, I'd be looking at/reevaluating my assumptions.  I guess that's the difference between my opinions and some others': mine can change based on new information.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:47:26 AM PDT

    •  This is an interesting statement: (4+ / 0-)

      I usually got a good response from most kids, but as a general rule, the poorer the kids, the more they took to heart what I was trying to do.

      I've felt that ennui, indifference, and a certain self-centeredness, are the prerogative of more affluent kids (and perhaps their parents).

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:04:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I cannot cite anything (4+ / 0-)

        tangible, but it is true.  There is a certain entitlement that seems to accompany that level of income (or even a self-perceived affluence.)  It may have something to do with the low esteem in which teachers are held by those who make a lot more money.  At least, that is how I've always felt.  I've never apologized for my career choice.  There really are things that money can't buy, and having a positive influence on the future by educating children is one of them.  Nothing makes me more proud or happy than to see a former student truly happy and successful.  It's a great legacy!

        -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

        by luckylizard on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:18:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One comment (6+ / 0-)

    My observation is that you can't pin a nation's unwillingness to think on one teaching, such as we all ought to have good self esteem and are inherently good even if we don't know much.

    There are a lot of reasons people don't like to think.  To some, it is too hard to think through complex issues.  If the brain is not used to it, and has few associations stored to help one, then it is really very hard.  You must sit with a dictionary, or Google, or a set of good reference books.

    We all need to know more and we do need to challenge our assumptions, even if it takes hard work to do so.  Jefferson did not think democracy would fare well without an educated populace.  I don't either.

    There are pockets of group-thinking in the nation.  I think Salt Lake is a "group-think" place.  Idaho is another.  The Bible Belt is another.  In "group-think" places, there is a lot of reinforcement for group-thinking.  Shunning of one sort or another is in store for those who try to crack out of the mold and think and disagree with the prevailing opinions.

  •  The Melting Pot (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Granny Doc, VClib, Matt Z

    I'm really sorry our distance from the Industrial Age means that we've lost the sense of what the Melting Pot image meant.  In a melting pot, different metals are added together to become something new, stronger than any of them were alone.  In the American Melting Pot society, immigrants from all different countries and cultures join together to make America, changing themselves and their neighbors in the process.  

  •  Fight Stupid with Love (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    Progressives, he shows, have been suckers for a myth of human cognition he labels the enlightenment model. This holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. All that has to be done to persuade people is to lay out the data: they will then use it to decide which options best support their interests and desires.

    SNIP

    Our social identity is formed by a mixture of values. But psychological tests in nearly 70 countries show that values cluster in remarkably consistent patterns. Those who strongly value financial success, for example, have less empathy, stronger manipulative tendencies, a stronger attraction to hierarchy and inequality, stronger prejudices towards strangers and less concern about human rights and the environment. Those with a strong sense of self-acceptance have more empathy and greater concern for human rights, social justice and the environment. These values suppress each other: the stronger someone's extrinsic aspirations, the weaker his or her intrinsic goals.

    We are not born with our values. They are shaped by the social environment. By changing our perception of what is normal and acceptable, politics alters our minds as much as our circumstances.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:56:41 AM PDT

    •  excellent! except the not born with our values-- (0+ / 0-)

      actually, eating and surviving are technically "values."  that's what makes it so hard to get out of the poverty cycle in one generation.  

      Meg will run CA like a business. Which business? BP? Massey Coal? Tyco?

      by stagemom on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wasn't till I was well into adulthood (4+ / 0-)

    that I really started to grasp the distinction between "personal" and "objective" criticism.

    The first resorts to personal attacks--for instance, the insinuation that the opposing viewpoint is taken in bad faith--the second keeps the criticism to the merits of the topic under consideration.

    The second is the basis of civil society.

    Interesting diary, thanks.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:57:15 AM PDT

  •  Wait for them to die. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    It's not possible to fight stupidity in Americans - they lovelovelove being stupid too much.

    Either catch 'em when they're young and prevent stupidity from setting in, in the first place, else just wait for them to die.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 10:59:38 AM PDT

  •  You can't fight stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    You just make sure they know that you aren't stupid and therefore you aren't buying what they are selling. At least then they will know to leave you alone.

    Things fall apart; the center cannot hold-Yeats Grab a mop- President Barack Obama

    by TexasMango on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:09:58 AM PDT

  •  Everyone IS entitled to their own opinions. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, FarWestGirl, angry marmot

    But no one is entitled to his or her own facts.  And people babbling opinions without a basis in fact ought simply to be made to look foolish.  That's really the only way to combat what you describe; to make people foolish for relying only on opinions, or opinions that fly in the face of reality.

  •  While much of what Grannydoc says is spot on... (3+ / 0-)

    the pathology is even more pervasive and fundamental from an educational standpoint.  The paedegogical shift noted in the late 70's was simply another manifestation of the wholesale adoption of postmodern epistemology in the humanities and social sciences.  Foucault, Derrida, and Co., so in vogue in the sixties and early seventies, stormed the ramparts of academe and have yet to relinquish the keep.  When all the institutions that create our educators are filled with authoritarian sophists who teach that knowledge, truth, and reality are all illusory and that power and rhetoric alone move humans, what else can you expect?

    •  a fundamental misreading of postmodernism (6+ / 0-)

      to label postmodern thinkers "authoritarian sophists" is a fundamental misunderstanding of postmodern criticism.
      PM doesn't say that "knowledge, truth, and reality are all illusory "
      but that "knowledge, truth, and reality" are social, mental and cultural constructs we impose on our environment.

      •  Right... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        they are constructs imposed on our environment that effectively keep us from any grounded knowledge or understanding of our environment, i.e. the real world around us. All we have access to, according to these guys is "authorized and/or authentic knowledge," and there may even be various, competing, equally tenable knowledges in any particular arena. Foucault called these constructs "epistemes," or later, "discursive formations," or yet later "genealogies."

        Sophistry:  If what Foucault says is so, then all knowledge is relative and culturally based, even his own "discovery" of epistemes, which he claims to be a universal human phenomenon.  He contradicts himself both here and in his notion that there can be equally valid competing "knowledges," and in his belief in absolute discontinuity of knowledge from one episteme to the other, i.e. a geocentric worldview is just as valid as our modern understanding of the universe.

        As for authoritarianism, it is well established that the Paris schools were all fundamentally inspired by and dependent upon the work of Martin Heidegger, who has now been revealed as an ardent and unrepentant fascist whose philosophical beliefs were conditioned by his politics, and not the other way around.

        Truly sad: a bunch of disillusioned radicals turn in desperation to an anti-modern reactionary, not only rescuing his thought from the dustbin of history, but enshrining it as the academic dogma of a generation.

    •  Ahem... (0+ / 0-)

      and that power and rhetoric alone move humans, what else can you expect?

      I don't know about "power" but "rhetoric" is doing a good job in "moving" the tea baggers, so far.

      Truth? Reality? Of course. But only very few individuals have the ability of observing the "whole truth, nothing but the truth" at any given time. Thus we have to share our "truths" with one another with hopes to come closer to the whole truth, if ever.

      ps# Classical notions of "absolute unchanging reality" have failed (although it works in macro space)with the advancement of quantum physcis at the beginning of the 20th century. Not a believer? Well, a whole bunch of current technology depend on it.

      Faucault, Derrida and Co. knew what they were talking about.

      •  Post modernism is not compatible with scientific (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cardinal, Granny Doc

        method.  To them it's just another episteme that has no greater validity than witchraft or any other superstitious twaddle you find in another era/episteme.

        "Thus we have to share our "truths" with one another with hopes to come closer to the whole truth, if ever."

        For the PM police, there is no "whole reality" to be discovered, because epistemes are completely disconnected.  There is no potential for growth in knowledge from one episteme to the other.

        Just because astronomers don't see an unchanging universe or historians acknowledge the importance of cultural norms over time does not validate Postmodern epistemology.  Both notions were discovered/intuited long ago without recourse to the radical relativism of Postmodernism.

  •  Eh...no. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pontechango, Fabian, stagemom, FarWestGirl

    Right area, wrong emphasis. The idea of self-esteem isn't the problem. The problem is our refusal to fund education properly, and the conservative takeover of most public schools and public school commentary.

    Conservatives worked hard to take over public education through school boards. Any evangelical during the 80s/90s could tell you that. It was part of taking over society for God. That's how the Kansas school board, as Thomas Frank ably points out, and other school boards nationwide elevated the Christian doctrine of creationism over the science of evolution. That's why the Texas school board controls textbooks and rewrites them to fit conservative ideas of education.

    Not self-esteem. Not at all. Wow. Maybe it had a minor impact, but tell me: how well can kids learn in schools with rats running through the classroom? Where pieces of the ceiling come down into their food? Where their textbooks end with, "One day, man will walk on the moon?"

    Nope. Funding and con takeover.

    On Sara Palin: "That woman...is an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:29:44 AM PDT

  •  Well Granny Doc... (9+ / 0-)

    I hear what you are saying...and you do have a right to your opinion (!) but I am going to disagree...

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" has become the dominant mantra of civic life, and no one stops to question the wisdom of this notion that opinion is a replacement for knowledge.

    As an educator, I make sure that everyone IS entitled to their own opinion but I do not remember ever confusing opinion with facts or in your terms, truth or/and reality. I welcome opinions while expecting them to be supported by credible evidence. Without supporting evidence, opinions stay as opinions. That's it. Self-esteem? I have never seen a student succeeding without it. I myself have a history of serious lack of self-esteem which turned me into a shaking, shivering idiot during early days of my college years.I would have the opinion but wouldn't be able to speak up from lack of confidence in myself. Next thing I know it would be someone else who would state it and get the credit for it.  No I wasn't always right and I never intend to to think what I see is the only truth, but I wasn't always wrong, either. See, opinions are crucial first steps on the road to the establishment of facts (truths). It is thus essential that we are not afraid of developing opinions, hunches, ideas,etc. It is not the opinions themselves that are problematic but not testing of them by supporting proof and credible evidence that is acceptable to the majority of people who would test the reliability and the validity of the same. When one person's opinion is forced down on the others, however, then it is a problem.

    All established facts start as opinions. They should be shared and tested and studied. Not accepted as God's only truth but a first crucial step into possible truth. Major scientific discoveries are known to start as dreams, hunches, opinions...you name it. And that makes sense. Why? Here is one fact for you: You can never discover something "new" and "original" from the already known.

    Plus, denying opinion equals denying freedom of thought no matter how stupid one's opinion may sound to us. I am sure you wouldn't want that.

    The Tea Baggers who sound stupid are not developing their own opinions but they are consuming the false opinions that have been fed to them, daily. I wish they were coming up with their own opinions without being manipulated by a well organized fallacy machine.

  •  Sorry to go all meta (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ekaterin, Granny Doc, Pinecone, MaikeH
    But I see exactly this learned helplessness and inability to tolerate struggle for long periods of time, in all the fucking whining about Obama not having waved his goddamned magic wand and fixed all our problems already.

    Look, this is OUR country. We decide what happens. We elect Democrats, or we get fucked. Your choice.

    Get to the phones, get door to door, get people to the polls early, and KEEP DOING IT for the next THIRTY YEARS BEFORE WE SEE ANY POSITIVE CHANGE!

    It took Repugs 30 years-- since Reagan-- to fuck up this great country. It'll take at least as long to fix it. It ain't going to get fixed by electing one President, or even in one midterm. It will take DOZENS of midterms to fix this, and at least a few presidents. Are you up for it? Let's go!

  •  How do you fight stupid ? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, stagemom, Granny Doc, FarWestGirl

    You laugh at it.

    The idiot right expresses a wide range of highly-charged emotion against us progressives, but laughter isn't one of them.  If nothing else, they for damm sure take us seriously.

    What does somebody who thinks they're serious as a heart attack do when personal contact after personal contact takes them for a silly and ludicrous clown?

    Not voting is a choice. And it's just about half a vote for a Republican.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:34:39 AM PDT

  •  I disagree that multiculturalism and self-esteem (5+ / 0-)

    coddling are the roots of insular conservatism.  I think this is actually a conservative attack on liberalism that may have some merit but not much and does not address the dearth of critical and scientific thought in our culture.

    If you want to blame American psychologists for where we are, you should begin with Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays and the rise of  the modern public relations industry.

    •  Im glad Im not the only one (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Fabian, allergywoman

      that sees this article as essentially a right-wing talking point

      •  It's an anti-democratic argument (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925, Noamjunior, allergywoman

        (that's small d)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

      •  Me three. (0+ / 0-)

        David Mizner four, above. There are a few of us who recognized this. :D

        On Sara Palin: "That woman...is an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

        by allergywoman on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:23:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I won't go so far (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pontechango

          as to say that this article is a "right-wing" talking point, since that doesn't square with the diarist's long history here.  However, anyone who has spent any time engaging conservative writing (unfortunately, my job requires me to do so) knows that the "self-esteem education = coddled children = the root of society's ills" argument is a veritable pillar of contemporary conservative thought.  I would like to have seen an acknowledgement of that in the diary, along with a brief explanation of how it's being co-opted for liberal purposes here.

          In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

          by cardinal on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 06:02:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You have nailed it, Granny Doc. (6+ / 0-)

    Well done. These paragraphs said it all as far as I'm concerned:

    To address the question posed in the title, each of us must begin to first question the value of our personal opinions.  Where did they come from?  How were they formed?  Are they based in a limited view of reality?  Are they promoted because we value our own sense of self beyond the truth?

    And here:

    The only thing that matters is that they hold opinions.  That they have "values".  That they are seen as significant.  That the world pay attention to them, not for what they know but simply because they exist.

    On this blog I have seen this too many times, i.e. "I have an opinion and THIS is what the "truth" is!", implying that because I say it, it's "truth".  It has been amazing to me to see the rejection of fact as perfectly acceptable as well as the demonization of those who don't hold the same opinion.  And the idea that one must provide data and fact to support one's opinion is not a burden--it's a requirement in order to have rational discourse.  Complete lack of tolerance that someone else who disagrees with one could ever possibly hold the truth in their differing opinion prevents rational discourse.  NONE of us owns the truth because NONE of us is omniscient.

    We have a serious problem in this country that there are far too many individuals who have never been trained to think critically, to examine their OWN personal opinions in the light of facts and truth and reality.  Disagreement with an opinion, instead, is an open invitation to destroy verbally anyone who dares interfere with one's own "truth".  

    I used to hate the 12 credits in Philosphy plus Logic that I was required to take at the small liberal arts college I graduated from, but over time have come to realize those were among the most valuable courses I ever took.  Knowing "how" to think, to reason, in order to arrive at the truth is a valuable thing to have as is the ability to listen to what others think in acknowledgement that we CAN learn from others.  

    You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

    by 3goldens on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:38:28 AM PDT

    •  Those quotes are good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      but multiculturalism is not the root cause of overinflated personal opinions.  In fact, it is the solution to the diminishment of cultural narcissism.  We must be confronted with differing opinions in order to understand that the mere holding of an opinion does not make it privileged.

      •  Agreed, pontechango (0+ / 0-)

        Multiculturalism is not the root cause of overinflated personal opinions.  I think there is a far more complex set of reasons that have combined to create this overinflation of personal opinions.  And your last sentence is dead right on IMO.

        You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

        by 3goldens on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:58:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Could not disagree more (6+ / 0-)

    With all the conservatising forces at work trying to invalidate public education through defunding, missuse of  standardized testing, politicized textbooks, and privatization, to blame the self esteem movement is not only shortsighted, but actually falls into the realm of repeating right-wing talking points.

    If "reality doesn't matter" in our society, rather than blaming the education system, maybe blame a mass media (which children spend much more of their time with than they do any teacher or guidance counselor advocating self -esteem) controlled by Billioniares trying to dumb down the populace.

    But hey- if you dont blame the constant nonsense spewed by the mass media, then just blame the education system, just like every hack AM right-winger does.

    •  YES! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      Yes yes yes yes yes! Don't look at conservative takeovers of school boards or non-funding of schools, just blame "self-esteem." As if "self-esteem" were going around telling people to vote against funding public education...

      On Sara Palin: "That woman...is an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

      by allergywoman on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:22:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Getting teachers who are actually SMART (5+ / 0-)

    would be greatly helpful.

    Of course there are a variety of very powerful forces preventing that from ever happening.

    (shrug) As long as Americans deeply love being stupid, stupid they will be.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 11:50:19 AM PDT

    •  in elem ed, getting them to major in a subject (3+ / 0-)

      other than "education" would help.
      you gotta know what to teach, not just how.

      Meg will run CA like a business. Which business? BP? Massey Coal? Tyco?

      by stagemom on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:26:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Needs to Be a Professional Degree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stagemom, Granny Doc, MaikeH

        I've thought for a long time that teaching should be treated just like any other professional degree (doctor, lawyer, etc.)  You get a degree in a discipline and then obtain a master's degree in teaching.  That would truly make it a profession rather than just a job.  Now, one gets the impression that almost all of the curriculum is oriented toward process rather than understanding what is going to be taught.  If one believes that the teacher is there only to act as a conduit for a packaged batch of material, then the current system works fine.  That's not how the politicians and media discuss the evaluation for teachers, so the current system is automatically dysfunctional.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:48:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Process... (0+ / 0-)

          Now, one gets the impression that almost all of the curriculum is oriented toward process rather than understanding what is going to be taught.

          Learning IS a "process" (-or do you see the students as programmable robots?) and the curriculum IS oriented toward undertsanding what is going to be taught. Each student is a unique human being thus is a different package in terms of how he/she learns a given subject. I have autistic students, international students, esl students, genius students, not so genius students, all sizes and shapes, if you get my drift. The challenge is to teach them by working with their unique learning abilities. This is "process." And it works.

          Ps# I do have a masters degree. And it is the politicians and the media that is dysfunctional.

      •  You cannot teach what you do not know. (0+ / 0-)

        This should be the first mantra of teachers.  I am always appalled when I meet a teacher who is angry they have not passed the CBest here in California.  Based on my educational experience any 10th grader when I used to teach should be able to do it.

        Then I found this person to be chanting for hours to pass this test and the idea of studying for it still seemed not to have occurred to them.

  •  By naming it, by knocking on doors, by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    talking to people...by pointing out the exclusivity of the Republican brand that relies on a bigotted base, more ideas here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Sounds Great But Doesn't Jive with Reality (8+ / 0-)

    The bulk of my schooling took place in the 70s and I assure you that nobody spent their time trying to build up my self-esteen or convince me that my opionions were of any value unless they coincided with the "correct" answer provided by the teacher. Quite the opposite is true. The bulk of students are conditioned to spit back out what they have been told and thinking is discouraged. It is the rare teacher that encourages students to think for themselves and learn how to express an opinnion. The result is an uncritical mind, willing to accept any information provided by a figure that accept as authorative. This has always been the case. Most people are educated to be unquestioned drones who will listen to authority. A small percentage of students of will learn how to think in advancee classes in highschool and will go on to develope those skills in advanced education. Thirty years later the classroom looks largely the same through my 16 year daughters eyes.

    What has changed is that there are new Authoraties in town. The Becks and Rushs of this world have replaced the traditional authoratative voices of Science and Political Leaders. And why shouldn't they? They are ominipresent, their voices heard multiple times a day and they package their information in an entertaining fashion.  The people who listen to Beck, Rush, et al, are for the most part those who did not learn how to think critically and blindly accept the infomation and its poorly constructed logical support because they lack the critical thinking ability to see its flaws. They are cocooned in this alternate reality and they have so many fellow travlers that it is easy to ignore those who live in a different reality.

    To the extent self-worth and the idea that ones oppinon is paramount plays a part, I see this more of a sigm of the large number of bullies who have been drawn to the worship of the fact-free Right. Most people dislike disagreeing with other people and try to avoid topics that cause argument. Bullys on the other hand, are more interested in asserting their will and getting everybody to do what they want. They don't care about getting along, they care about domination. That to me seems, to be the character of people like Palin. She is the bully with limitless self-esteem, and her followers are bullies or their low-self-esteem followers. She is their Draco to their Crabb and Goyle.

  •  I don't think the (9+ / 0-)

    "self-esteem revolution" as you call it, was any more than lip service. Having gone to public school in the 70's and 80's, I can actually speak with limited expertise on this.

    What "self-esteem" amounted to, in my experience, was not any new method of teaching. It was posters on the wall, intended to inspire. (Sometimes they were ridiculous: "Everybody is a Winner!" Huh?)
    It was educational films about how important it was to feel good about yourself and believe in your own abilities, without any practical discussion of how one goes about feeling good about oneself. It was hand-wringing and visits to the school social worker if a student displayed signs of "low self-esteem."
    The concept never actually got into the "pores" of the school. I imagine the current anti-bullying crusade is more of the same sop.

    I agree with you that all opinions are not equal, and that people without any credentials are often given the opportunity to weigh in on matters they know very little about.

    I do not think that this has to do with public schools and "self-esteem." In my (very humble) opinion, it is simply a manifestation of the cultural embrace of selfishness. TV commercials play on these hedonistic values: You deserve this. You should have this right now. In the world of commercials "self-esteem" means "buying this product." An attitude that my mom called "I want what I want when I want it."

    When Reagan and his minions came to power they played on the virtue of greed and selfishness. Ayn Rand sums up this philosophy nicely.

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:16:57 PM PDT

  •  Two examples (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, yoduuuh do or do not

    I grew up in the south of the 50's and 60's.  Most people did not agree with the civil rights movement, but they learned to keep their opinions to themselves and not speak out in public.  Now with the help of the Tea Party, they feel they can say what they have believed for many years.
    From the 70's on I worked as a real estate agent.  We began with strong ethics.  By the 1990's, agents were forming "marketing" groups, but within those groups, I believe, was the ethic of doing whatever it took to get the deal through.  By skirting ethics and even legal requirements, they gave themselves an edge.  Even when fraud became apparent in the mid-2000's no one felt free to speak out.

    •  You have the 'Realtors' nailed. (0+ / 0-)

      I used to deal with realtors once in a while.
      I've never dealt with slimier, more deceptive, unethical, lyin', cheatin' bastards in my life (with one or two exceptions).
      If I weren't the type that does serious due diligence I would have been screwed many times by those SOB's (and DOB's too), both buying and selling (BTW, it/they still cost me money sometimes). No more, I do their functions myself now (with a good RE lawyer too).
      I notice they have been running a lot of feel good BS PR ads for the "Realtors" lately, don't believe a word. PS: because they must be hurtin' what with the crappy RE market, couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of assholes.

      Republicans: "Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your National Debt, and blame 'The One' "

      by Bluefin on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:16:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Misunderstanding of things which enter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pontechango, Granny Doc

    our public consciousness:

    How many people who say "It is what it is" know whom they're quoting and about what? Do you?

    First of all, the entire quote is "It is what it is and not any other thing", it is from Thomas Cranmer, the principal author of the first Book of Common Prayer and the subject matter? The nature of the Eucharist.

    How this entered our daily vocabulary I will never know, but it has, and people who have no idea of its provenance use it to mean all sorts of things--mostly to shut down dialogue, in my experience. Which at least is true to its original intent.

    If this can happen with an obscure quote from a Tudor period Archbishop, I can see the diarist's point about it happening with complex theories of education.

    Get. Out. Your. Democratic. Vote.

    by commonmass on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:22:17 PM PDT

  •  A lost battle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    You will win yours, we all hope, and it is important to us that you do but the one against the happily stupid, andproudly so is lost.

    You well detail the recent basis for the ignorance is king meme, but it is also the story of this nation, repeated over and over with somebody coming to our rescue just when the stupidity gets us in the biggest fix.

    We are, as you and Robert Reich for instance have explained,at just such a point again.

    Yet, we have politicians reveling in this ignorance:  calling the rest of us deluded members of a "reality based community"

    Important whining and Red Sox stuff at http://edsbarth.blogspot.com/

    by Barth on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:40:23 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary! The best in months. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    It's spot on!

    The common misconception, trumpeted far and wide starting 3 decades ago or more, of what self-esteem entails has resulted in a generation of angry, opinionated poorly-educated and intellectually-lazy adults who are deeply unhappy because they never developed real self-esteem, which is based on measurable personal accomplishments and the discipline to master the ability to learn and accomplish new things repeatedly throughout one's life.

    "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." -- H.L. Mencken

    by Glinda on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 12:43:23 PM PDT

  •  Self esteem battles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    Just thought of this with all the anti-bullying campaigns we see today- do you think that the self-esteem campaigns of the 70's were to combat the bullying?  Perhaps they thought that if kids felt better about themselves, then they wouldn't make such an effort to hurt other kids and everyone would do better in school?  I know that teachers always seem to be powerless to stop bullying- at least I never ran into one who was willing to step into the fray in a meaningful way.  It may not have been the whole reason for the self-esteem movement, but maybe a component of it.  

    As for the CSPAN viewers and their nutty ideas, perhaps all that self esteem training worked a little too well on them, and they now believe the world revolves around them exclusively!  That's why they can't possibly understand or accept a point of view that doesn't fit with their own.  

  •  I have an idea for a reality show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    We take reality-denying ideologues of various stripes and make them this offer: You live in a house with three philosophy professors who will challenge your every viewpoint. If you successfully defend your views with logic, you win a huge prize (a car, a cash windfall, whatevs). If you can't defend your viewpoint but you end up adopting some critical thinking skills, you win a smaller prize. If you start screaming or slamming doors, you lose. Could be fun.

    Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller was caught wrongfully using borough computers for political gain.

    by Alvin K on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:09:56 PM PDT

  •  over thinking this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    First assumption is that people are more stupid now than ever. I don't see any evidence to support it. Salem witch trials. McCarthy era. Stupid and fearful people were thick on the ground.

    I agree, that stupid is a problem for democracy, but can't agree that the schools have gotten so much worse in curing the stupid. It's parents that teach the stupid.

    One change I've seen in my lifetime is that smart women have other options now, like becoming a lawyer, doctor, or other high-paid, high-performance professional. It doesn't pay a living wage to become a public school teacher. Prison guards make as much or more than teachers.

    CLEAR Act would sell carbon shares to fuel producers and would return 75 percent of the resulting revenue in $1,100 checks to every American.

    by mrobinson on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:12:29 PM PDT

  •  Anyone who does not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students. Boas first articulated the idea in 1887: "...civilization is not something absolute, but ... is relative, and ... our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes."

    value my opinions, that are based on high self-esteem, is just a hater. Even if my opinions can be demonstrably proven to be based on faulty data, ever since Einstein postulated the theory of relativity and Boas articulated the idea of cultural relativism, we were given permission to say everything is relative, do your own thing, you have your facts and I have mine.

    Inevitably this led to where we are today: I have my facts and you have your Fox.

    •  I don't know what Boas believed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc, FiredUpInCA

      (he taught Mead, didn't he?), but obviously, a more mature way to look at what he said is that a large portion of beliefs are relative and contextual, but that doesn't mean that they're all or completely relative. Thus, "2 + 2 = 4" is not relative nor legitimately subject to relative interpretation, while "abortion is murder" is.

      But these are extremes along the absolute-relative spectrum, so perhaps a more suitable example is "social security is going broke", which can be argued pro and con, like "abortion is murder", but when constrained by a specific definition of "broke", can no longer plausibly be argued both ways. It's at this point that "Well it's my opinion" breaks down and becomes rediculous, because you're either lying (or misstating reality), or else redefining the word "broke" beyond any reasonable interpretation.

      It's these latter situations, in which there's some, but not really that much room for rational, reality-based difference of opinion, that people get into these silly "It's my opinion!" arguments. And, sadly, it happens on both sides of the aisle. Ignorant, dishonest and faith-based "reasoning" are not a uniquely far-right phenomenon.

      And if you disagree with that, then it's my opinion and you can't make me...

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:59:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  vouchers? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

  •  No "self-esteem" doctrine in my school. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, Granny Doc, LillithMc, SpamNunn

    For better or worse, the New Education theories never made it into my neck of the Texan woods.  In fact, children were routinely told that our opinions were wrong, unimportant, foolish or some combination of the three.  We were also told that we could form opinions only after we had learned the facts.  Then we were expected to defend our opinions with fact-based reasoning.  

    The good news is that it gave me the tools to recognize fact from fiction.  

    The bad news is that so many people clamoring for power and control view my ability to sort fact from fiction as threat that makes me dangerous, unpatriotic and unAmerican.  

     

  •  I've long thought that the plague of PC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    was the doing of liberals, as loath as I am to admit it. But wasn't it? Wasn't it liberals who decided that A can never be better than B, only different? Doesn't matter what A and B are: policies, religions, individuals, or nations. We, the politically correct citizens of the world, cannot, must not, and by God shall not say that anyone or anything is superior to another, because doing so might cause the not-superior thing to suffer a loss of self-esteem.

    Thus if Mary gets a better grade than Johnny, we can't recognize Mary's achievement, because that'd make Johnny sad. Instead, we come up with some moronic way of making Johnny feel every bit as good as Mary, and force the teacher to employ it. Win-win! So that's why just showing up is good enough.

  •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, Granny Doc

    I have gone back to school to investigate what people in academia are thinking now, and the answer seems to be a rollback of post-modernist thought on the narrative proposed by the individual and going back to the theories that prioritise the rights of the collective. They're teaching Marx and Adorno now as opposed to Derrida. Just saying.

    If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

    by northsylvania on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 01:58:04 PM PDT

    •  It should be a mix of the two (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, Granny Doc

      Individuals and their needs matter, but so does society. Just as society's needs must not lead to the oppressing of individuals, neither should individuals' needs (or, more accurately, desires) hurt society's needs. A society is composed of individuals, but there's a social contract between them (that wingnuts dislike and reject) that sometimes requires that they put society's collective needs about their own.

      Plus, what's sometimes seen as good for individuals is often not.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:48:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. You really really missed it. (0+ / 0-)

    Why do we CARE if a student shows up for class?

    I dunno.  

    Maybe because consistency is a good thing?

    Maybe because being prompt and prepared for our obligations are essential life skills?

    Maybe because there is more to life than being in the very tippy top of whatever competition?

    There are so very many life skills that we can teach our children.  One of the most important is simply To Try, to put forth an effort, to do more than the minimum, to pull our weight.  The lesson is that there is value in that - not that the only people who Matter are the winners.

    If that was true, then we should actively discourage anyone from doing anything they can't win at.  Boston Marathon?  Pshhh.  Maybe one or two hundred runners can win it, and the rest?  They should just stay home and compete in some races they might win. Imagine all the energy they could put towards something more productive!

    I know I see enough of that in politics.  "Oh, they aren't ELECTABLE so they shouldn't run."  aka "Sorry honey, you aren't a Winner.  We don't back Losers."

    Mmmm..hmm.  Seen the DNC do that right here in Ohio.  2008 and again in 2010.  Pity that.  I would have phone banked for Brunner....

    Show me the POLICY!

    by Fabian on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:33:00 PM PDT

    •  Wow, you really missed the point of the diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      We care if students show up.

      Showing up is not enough.

      We care if students prepare.

      Preparing is not enough.

      We care that a candidate wants the office.

      Wanting the office is not enough.

      And on that last... an election is a contest with a winner. If you are in the race and aren't fighting to win, then you are helping your opponent win.

      neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

      by khereva on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 04:30:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So...if someone is just entering politics (0+ / 0-)

        and hasn't got enough:
        Votes
        Name Recognition
        Experience
        Money
        Poltiical Connections
        to
        WIN

        Then...
        they shouldn't bother.  Right?

        Because they are totally going to lose.  They won't gain anything from the experience.  They won't learn how to do better next time.  They won't get any positive feedback from their constituents or party.

        It will be a big ol' waste of time.  Theirs, yours, mine...

        Obama totally effed up his first run.  Loser.  Why did he bother?

        Show me the POLICY!

        by Fabian on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 03:46:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOOD Diary! GOOD Diarist! GOOD for YOU! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    /snark

    Seriously, though, I completely agree. While no one should be made to feel bad for getting things wrong and not being as smart or knowledgable as others (unless they're being willfully stupid and ignorant, or just plain dishonest, which is much more about character than intelligence or knowledge), I also believe that with the exception of special needs people, no one should be rewarded for being dumber and/or less knowledgable than they are reasonably expected to be in today's world.

    And I'm not talking about understanding the theory of relativity or knowing who was the first Plantagenet king (William the Conquerer, FYI). I'm talking about basic, 9th grade social studies and science knowledge and intelligence, like being able to name at least a couple of supreme court justices or knowing that the earth goes around the sun, and not vice-versa. If you're much older than 15 and live in the modern world and can't do these things and are not mentally challenged or otherwise disadvantaged, then YOU ARE A MORON and deserve to be treated as one.

    And yes, I know, a lot of kids are growing up in very difficult circumstances these days, e.g. broken homes, poor parenting, inner cities, bad schools, etc. Thus my allowing for such disadvantages that are no fault of the child. I'm talking about people who grew up in reasoably stable and comfortable homes and areas and have had access to decent education, and yet are still functional morons.

    And no, the fact that "everyone's like this" isn't an excuse. Nor is the corollary fact that many people literally have no idea of how stupid and ignorant they are because everyone else they know is just as if not more stupid and ignorant. Stupid is stupid and ignorant is ignorant and no amount of making excuses for or forgiving it is going to change that. If you're going to be of much use to yourself, the people in your life, and to society, you simply cannot let yourself remain stupid and ignorant.

    While well-intended, for the most part, at least initially, "I'm OK, You're OK" is bullshit, if that's all there is to it. There have to be standards, people have to be challenged, people cannot be rewarded merely for trying, and forgiven for failing, to the extent that they're capable of doing much, much better. Mediocrity for the sake of self-esteem is not only a lie (because such "self-esteem" is skin-deep and phony), but a dangerous lie, because it hurts individuals and society. I'm not saying that we should deliberately insult people who fail to measure up to even the most basic standards of knowledge and intelligence. But neither should we be easy on them--for their own sake, and ours. Or else we'll continue our slide into banana republicanism.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 02:42:49 PM PDT

  •  It's not possible to "eliminate" an idea or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    preconceived notion.  People are entitled to have them and to be wrong.  Each person is also entitled to be treated with respect, regardless of the opinions they hold on to.

    What counts is not what opinions people have, but how we behave in response.  Opinions which are obviously false -- i.e. contrary to measurable experience -- should not be considered when a course of action is determined.  It is not the fault of the people whose incredible opinions are rendered credible by people who should know better.  It is tempting to let the foolish make total fools of themselves, but it's not nice.  When you see someone is heading over a cliff, the right and proper thing is to stop him.

    I do believe that there is a significant portion of the human population which has almost no sense of itself and, in consequence, has little sense of anyone else either.  Such people are mainly reactive to how they are treated and when they are dissed and/or mistreated, they become resentful.  When they are made to feel everything that goes wrong in their lives, and much does because their perceptive abilities are compromised, is their own fault ("personal responsibility") when, in fact, they've been cheated and deprived, then their resentment may well evolve into wrath.  Calling them stupid won't make it better.

    The isolation of the person is not a desideratum on the part of the isolates.  Most people want to be and feel connected.  Individual isolation is, however, the desideratum of people whose aim is to control the population.  Large numbers of people striving together are a threat to those who lust for power.  That's why American society has been atomized during the last 30+ years (dispersing people into the countryside) and kept on the move (strapped into their vehicles).

    For a very long time American society was controlled by subjugation particular populations as an example of the punishment that would befall those who didn't behave.  The civil rights revolution wrote finis to that strategy, so another had to be found.  Relying on money to define a new class or classes that could be segregated with impunity has not been as effective as was expected. Which is why we've seen an effort to develop new target groups (Muslims, gays, female-headed households, recent migrants, etc.).  Our paper currency has proved a real problem for people who want to be in charge and rule the nation.  Only a small percentage of public officials have stayed bought.  Which is why this time around the role of the public official is being devalued by the money bags promoting a bunch of jokers.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 03:40:16 PM PDT

  •  Anyone who post a comment here gets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc, Dixie Liberal

    a "participation award".

    Self esteem is knowing that you are winner.  

    Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

    by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 04:09:01 PM PDT

    •  (at least) One Problem with a meritocracy... (0+ / 0-)

      ... we don't have one, really, nor would a pure meritocracy be just, fair or even workable as long as humans continue to have children.

      The real problem with any __cracy is when the elite lose their sense of obligation to society as a whole.  It is the lack of an elite with "noblesse oblige" which is destroying America.  

      "We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart." - Blaise Pascal

      by Dixie Liberal on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 04:28:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could rec this line a thousand times... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    We have dismantled the fabric of society, creating in its place a galaxy of single bodies, each revolving around the self.

    Our position is tax cuts for the middle class, theirs is tax cuts for millionaires, Stupid.

    by Jimdotz on Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 04:33:22 PM PDT

  •  It seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    that it isn't a case of 'self-esteem' but rather a case of self indulgence.

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