Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Acceptance of Mediocrity

The self-esteem movement has hurt my generation more than it has helped it.  I don’t know who the asshole was who started it, but he’s on my short list of people I’d like to time-travel-shin-kick.  Because of it, individuals now overestimate their abilities and intelligence more so than ever before.

Contrary to popular belief, not all people are equal.  Sure, you can argue that we are all equal in the sense that we’re all going to die, but that’s about it.  Beyond that, there is little much else that.  We are all snowflakes, after all.

More to the point, by what metric does our society tend to measure equality?  Usually it is a financial one based on ability, but even ability is not a good indicator.  I have about seven years worth of software development experience, but that doesn’t make me the same in ability as another software developer with the same amount of experience.  There are specific fields of interest within that realm, different tools that can be used, and frankly different lines of thinking as to how to solve a problem.  That’s what an interview is for.  A resume tends to be too general.

And yet we are infected with this progressive notion of fairness and equality that has blossomed into a giant tumor on our society complete with hair and teeth.  People regard things they have not earned as some kind of human right that must be forced out of others all for the sake of some farcical notion of equality.

Why am I saying all this?  Because I enjoy being iconoclastic.  I love tearing down the silly notions that rule our society because often times they are built on lies and misconceptions.  For example, when I was teaching the youth during Sunday school a few weeks back, one kid stated that some idea wasn’t fair.  I retorted that God isn’t fair.  I wonder if she stated as much to her parents.  I doubt her parents would have disagreed.  Undoing 30 hours of government skooling is difficult but thoroughly enjoyable.

We all like to think there is some grand purpose to our lives, but I think that our lives are a blessing and that we really shouldn’t ask for much more.  As terrible as things may turn out for us, at least we had a chance to exist.  Think about all the prophets, kings, and other significant people in the Old Testament Bible.  There were maybe a hundred or so.  But there were literally millions of people throughout the course of the nation of Israel who never did anything significant enough to be mentioned.  Heck, some kings only got a footnote-sized mention in the chronicles.  In other words, despite being proclaimed as a holy people, set aside for God, the vast majority of the Israelites lived a mediocre life.

Such is the fate most of us.  There are very few who will have a significant effect on the course of mankind.  You think my blogging will make a difference in anyone’s life?  I don’t, I just do this to provide some kind of rant outlet for myself.

And this is where the self-esteem movement has done more harm than good.  People don’t realize that they are going to live a life of mediocrity for their entire life but instead focus on making it big somehow.  Perhaps this is the attitude that created the various bubbles we’ve see in the past two decades.  People thinking they are better than their own estimation.  I doubt anyone really learned their lesson.


  1. I think it was initially a nationalistic idea ("Americans are the best") and it really grew to be a rallying cry under Reagan, that we should tell kids they can achieve anything. The liberals made things worse during the 90's with the introduction of "PC" language and countless attempts (and successes) to eliminate competition (like not keeping score during sports).

    On the bright side, it's hilarious watching millions of people grow up thinking they'll be rock stars and actors.

  2. Mediocrity: Welcome to Canada. We mastered the art.

  3. "I don’t know who the asshole was who started it"

    Penn & Teller had an episode where they linked it back to Nathanial Brandon.



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