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‘Experts’ are creating a country of wimps

January 9, 2014
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

This nation was founded by men and women with the rock-solid characteristics of courage and self-reliance.

But today, an army of therapists, counselors, sensitivity "police" and other self-proclaimed gurus are trying to remove so-called "stress" from our environment. In doing so, they are compromising our ability to face the problems of everyday life.

I recently came across a book, "One Nation, Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance." The work is written by Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, M.D., scholars at the American Enterprise Institute. The book points out the damage being done to the American mindset by "experts."

For instance, a group of educators has decided the use of "red markings" in the grading of papers could be too stressful for children. To correct the problem, an Alaskan educator is substituting purple pencil for red. A Pittsburgh principal agreed, saying purple is more "pleasant-feeling" for the sensitive students.

And, because children are considered terribly vulnerable and fragile, playground games like dodge-ball are being replaced by anxiety-reducing and self-esteem-enhancing games of tag where nobody is ever "out."

The authors of the book on the subject also point out that experts warn about what children are allowed to juggle. Tennis balls cause frustrations, whereas "scarves are soft and non-threatening and float down slowly." Therefore, "juggling" scarves is much more rewarding for the youngsters.

Even the Girl Scouts of America have fallen victim to this no-stress foolishness. In years past, girls were challenged to perform tasks at various levels of difficulty in order to qualify for the long-honored Scouting badges. Now, however, a new badge has been developed for girls 8 to 11. It's 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.

To make books and tests less stressful, "sensitivity screeners" have gotten into the act. It's their goal to remove from texts and tests distressing references to things like rats, snakes, typhoons, blizzards and, believe it or not, birthday parties. The mention of the parties might sadden children who do not have them.

The authors of the book report that the sensitivity police also favor teaching "no fault history," where "ethnic or cultural groups are portrayed without depicting differences in customs or lifestyles as undesirable." Apparently, it's best if such negatives as slavery, segregation and anti-Semitism are not mentioned.

The book also stresses that "vast numbers of credentialed (not to say competent) members of the "caring professions" have a financial stake in the myth that most people are too fragile to cope with life's vicissitudes and traumas without professional help.

The book singles out the "grief industry" for the commercialization that has developed professional grief counselors, specializing in de-grieving techniques. The authors report many such "grief gurus" have prepared for their work by paying $1,795 for a five-day course in grief counseling.

It was reported these "trained" grief counselors had the opportunity to step in after the Boston Public Library was flooded, damaging many books. Fortunately, the counselors arrived to help the library staff members "cope with their grief."

The book by Sommers and Satel gives fair warning of what can happen when we Americans ignore common sense in the name of political correctness and false sensitivity.

If we allow the so-called experts to erode away the characteristics of our forefathers ... courage and self-reliance ... our country is destined to become a feeble nation of wimps.



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