Inflated self-esteem can be decidedly counterproductive.
American students, for example, took first place in self-judged mathematical ability in a comparative study of eight countries, but last place in actual mathematical competency.
Two weeks after the Democrats' joyride with rock star Obama hit a very jarring bump on the road, many members of the nation's oldest political party are no doubt wondering what hit them. I here suggest that in addition to the public's general disdain for big government solutions to government-created problems, what hit the Democrats was a backlash from voters who are tired of their assault on decency in the name of compassion.
One of the things that made William F. Buckley, Jr. so much fun to read in the days before National Review became a house organ for Republican propaganda was that Buckley and others in his large and fun-loving orbit took such obvious, unrestrained delight in poking fun at liberal icons without the phony sentimentalism and sham decorum that prevented most writers from saying anything that would cause more respectable establishment commentators to say "Tsk tsk." When Eleanor Roosevelt died, for example, Buckley wrote in his syndicated column: "Following Mrs. Roosevelt in search of an irrationality was like following a lighted fuse in search of an explosion." One never had to wait very long.
The headline atop the front page of my hometown newspaper announced on Friday, the day after Veterans Day, that federal funds for home-heating assistance have been cut in half. Not exactly heartwarming news in northern New England in mid-November. Meanwhile, half a world away, a story in the Kabul Press gives the calculation of how much it is costing NATO forces and their taxpayers back home to kill Taliban in Afghanistan. It comes to — brace yourselves, now — $50 million per dead Taliban.
It has been said that the most effective way to conquer a man is to capture his mind. There is no slave more devoted, no disciple more dedicated than one who has become completely obsessed with the vision of what he considers to be a great idea. (1)