Janteloven And Its Opposite

If anyone brought up during the self-esteem paradigm should think that this was the way it had always been, zie needs to know that one of the greatest fears of my parents’ generation was that the children might acquire some. “You must not think that you are any good” may have been formulated as the Law of Jante in Denmark and Norway, but it is actually a human universal. It used to be thought that any praise of children at all – other than perhaps the invocation of the natal talents which they were now squandering before coming to a well-deserved bad end (continued on Page 356) – was to be rigorously eliminated.

What was the real fear here? Of kids with swollen heads. And the self-esteem movement, when divorced from deeds, has shown us how well-justified that fear actually was. Lazy kids with an inflated sense of self-worth but without self-discipline or accomplishments are indeed going to come to a bad end, although unfortunately not always before middle age. Some of them are downright dangerous, especially those who kill people just to get famous.

I have lived through two equal and opposite philosophies of child-raising, and I say that both of them are shit. The danger of swollen-headed nincompoops was very real, but countered with the most vicious knee-jerk belittlement. The reaction against this then gave us the cult of undeserved self-esteem and a culture dominated by, guess what, swollen-headed nincompoops. If there is to be a kind of Hegelian synthesis, it will have to take the form of a refocus on deeds – which will require a rethink of our dominant Ethic of Intention. Never mind what you feel you deserve, kid, what have you achieved?

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 20:00 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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