I’m not the biggest fan of New York Times columnist David Brooks, but I wanted to call attention to a recent piece of his that highlights a pretty serious problem we have here in the U.S.
Brooks points to several markers that show Americans to have high levels of “self-esteem” even as they get worse in several areas of accomplishment, such as mathematical skills. We all think we live in Lake Woebegone, where everyone is above average. And because we are all so wonderful, we believe we deserve the very best of everything and have this message constantly reinforced through advertising.
Near the end of the column, Brooks does some interesting connecting of the dots and speculates about how many of our current social and political problems can be traced in part to our inflated egos. Political partisanship? Increased levels of consumption and debt? Decline in civic virtue? It’s all food for thought.
Pride goeth before the fall. If Brooks is right, we may be setting ourselves up for a nasty plunge.