Self-esteem is the opiate of the masses

Seriously. American kids are being encouraged to 'feel good' about themselves--well, while you're doing all this feeling, the rest of the world is actually doing. High self-esteem actually has a negative correlation with performance on tests among high schoolers. And I'm sure we're still the greatest country (definitely the most militarily dominant) or whatever, but maybe more people should read Herodotus.

The narrative in Herodotus follows this theme of depicting a rise to power followed by a swift fall caused by pride--!!spoiler alert!! the last two lines of Herodotus (in the Rawlinson translation, available online) read
"Then Cyrus, who did not greatly esteem the counsel, told them,—“' might do so, if they liked—but he warned them not to expect in that case to continue rulers, but to prepare for being ruled by others—soft countries gave birth to soft men—there was no region which produced very delightful fruits, and at the same time men of a warlike spirit.”' So the Persians departed with altered minds, confessing that Cyrus was wiser than they; and chose rather to dwell in a churlish land, and exercise lordship, than to cultivate plains, and be the slaves of others."

Herodotus associated comfort with decadence quite directly--I see it becoming more and more true here. Even in the Olympic games, people just went on and on about our swimming and beach volleyball victories and the unfairness of gymnastics--what happened to all the other fields? I remember the Olympics being a little more comprehensive than that.

Anyway, Americans need to stop assuming that living in a great country (albeit seemingly in a phase of decline--or is that a side effect from the current misbalance of power?) automatically makes them great. People, you need to work towards it.

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