April 21, 2005

Feel Good....Please

George Will has a terrific piece in yesterday's WaPo on "therapism", the cultural trend that emphasizes the "values" of self-esteem, minimizing stress and the identification and venting of one's "feelings". In "Have A Nice Day, Or Else" , Will cites an example that blew my mind from a new book by Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel:

In 2001 the Girl Scouts, illustrating what Sommers and Satel say is the assumption that children are "combustible bundles of frayed nerves," introduced, for girls 8 to 11, a "Stress Less Badge" adorned with an embroidered hammock. It can be earned by practicing "focused breathing," keeping a "feelings diary," burning scented candles and exchanging foot massages.

Am I correct in assuming that the Scouts are no longer referring to these things as "merit" badges? Think of the potential for damaged self-esteem if one Scout had more of them than another.

UPDATE 4/26: Sommers and Satel are interviewed by Pia Catton for AEI about therapism and their new book. (via RCP)

Posted by dan at April 21, 2005 5:28 PM