Excessive optimism is baked into our genes. It is a pervasive problem that causes false predictions. But cultural influences that used to moderate it now amplify it. In Lake Woebegone America all kids are far above average.
A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
The self esteem movement has amplified an already big problem. Optimism bias is built into our nature. This is now amplified by the forces of political correctness against low assessments of a person's ability. We need the ability to call people on their deficiencies, weaknesses, shortcomings, and moral failings. "Lazy" is a label that should be handed out a lot more. Labels that should be passed out only very rarely: bright, exceptional, gifted.
Kids need to be told that they need to work hard. They need to be told realistically (based on IQ and other tests) what each of them, based on their psychometric measures, can hope to become if they work hard. And another thing: Montessori schools can not make dumb kids creative geniuses.
What I wonder: Do social media make it easier for people to segregate by IQ level and also by political persuasion so that the deluded are less likely to come into contact with people who will explain to them why they are wrong? Is the Dunning Kruger Effect getting amplified by technology?
Also, is politically correct blank slate liberalism creating a protective shell of feel good deluded pap around people's delusions? Has the very erroneous tabula rasa view of the mind (a.k.a. the Standard Social Science Model - really, academic social science is that bad) caused kids to be taught falsehoods about their potential that serve as the foundations of their delusions? I mean, who today is going to tell a kid he or she is not smart enough to become a rocket scientist or a medical doctor or a captain of industry? Who is going to steer less than super bright kids toward occupations that they are actually capable of mastering? The colleges today remind me of Bob Dylan's song It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Today it is the colleges that are the master con artists, luring each new crop of marks with the promise of unattainable goals.
Smaller families have ensured that parents treat each one of its little members as precious snowflakes; liberal parenting styles make parents believe that enforcing discipline and responsibility is an infringement on the precious ones' "rights"; schools are unable to enforce discipline for fear of lawsuits and, lately, disparate impact.
I worry that disparate impact doctrine will substantially grow as a source of drag on the efficiency of schools, workplaces, and law enforcement. We'll get lower productivity in schools and in workplaces. This will lower living standards. We'll get more crime as laws can't be enforced in proportion to who commits the crimes. What I wonder: Can clever elites work around disparate impact enforcement as they do in very liberal and very upper class Manhattan?
I expect much more disparate impact enforcement in the future. Since our liberals aren't on the verge of becoming honest about human differences a lot hinges on their ability to avoid damage to major institutions due to disparate impact. My guess is that they'll fail. Their local successes (e.g. Manhattan) will be outweighed by many losses elsewhere. Governments will surely become less competent.
Mangan thinks the narcissism is supported by high living standards. Median US household income peaked in 1999 and we are all the way back to 1995 for living standards, albeit with broadband access, cool smartphones and tablets. I expect further declines in US living standards due to immigration, natural resource limitations, and the budget and trade deficits. A lot of income from government comes from borrowed money. We can't sustain our current living standards.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2013 January 19 04:50 PM|