Self-esteem reflects an individual's overall subjective emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself, (for example, "I am competent", "I am worthy"), as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride and shame.
Douglass ... insisted that former slaves learn trades and become self-reliant ... he denounced many proposals for government aid to former slaves because the aid would constitute a badge of inferiority. ... Blacks were 'not only confronted by open foes, but [also] assailed in the guise of sympathy and friendship and presented as objects of pity.' Government paternalism would undermine the self-respect blacks needed to break free of their second-class status. 'No People that has solely depended upon foreign aid, or rather, upon the efforts of those, in any way identified with the oppressor ... ever stood forth in the attitude of freedom.'
Very often the quotations are taken out of context and thus entirely distorted. In the first World War British propagandists used to cite over and over again a few lines from Goethe's Faust. ... These verses do not at all express Goethe's own tenets. Faust concludes with a glorification of productive work; its guiding idea is that only the self-satisfaction received from rendering useful services to his fellow men can make a man happy; it is a panegyric upon peace, freedom, and—as the Nazis scornfully call it, 'bourgeois'—security.
Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 2, by Jacob Hornberger, May 1994
Provides examples from taxes, the "dole", public housing and licensing that show how the welfare state and managed economy undermine human well-being, contrasting life in Russia under socialism vs. the supposed freedom in the United States
The welfare state and the managed economy do more than destroy individual self-esteem. They also destroy hopes of improving one's life ... [T]he welfare state punishes and discourages the idea of financial self-improvement, and even makes people feel guilty for it! ... Why are these ... denials of reality so important? ... Would the truth—that this is not freedom, not the best there could be—result in a drop in the teenage-suicide rate? Maybe and maybe not. But a person who is filled with pain, despair, hopelessness, and loss of self-esteem might see his world a little differently ...
Interview with Nathaniel Branden, by Nathaniel Branden, Karen Reedstrom, Full Context, Sep 1996
In two parts; topics range from David Kelley, objectivisim, Ayn Rand, his memoir Judgment Day, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, homosexuality, self-esteem and more
Ayn had certain insecurities. Fine. Who hasn't? ... The goal is to keep raising our average. But by denying and pretending, we don't make ourselves more rational, we make ourselves less rational. It's not our shortcomings that are our undoing. It's our denial of them. We are defeated by what we refuse to own within ourselves. If we are willing to know and accept the truth about ourselves—our thoughts, feelings, and actions—change and growth become possible. If we refuse to know and accept, we remain stuck. Nothing can be so powerfully self-transformative as self-awareness and self-acceptance.
To be sure, if you were an ambitious and imaginative person, with a good level of self-esteem, if you were more conscious, more self-assertive, and more self-responsible than those around you, you would very likely see possibilities for advancement that others did not. You might become the successful owner of your own business or enter a profession such as law or medicine. In a free or even semi-free society, self-esteem and independence always confer advantages. But you would still be one of the small minority.
Self-esteem is familiar to libertarians through the work of Nathaniel Branden. Closely related to self-respect, it has to be earned. When an individual conducts himself ethically or musters the courage and discipline to accomplish his aims, he feels good about himself. Self-esteem is like a barometer of our conduct: it reflects how we are doing in our own eyes ... Self-esteem is "judgmental," and it should be. Human beings should evaluate themselves and others. But it is dangerous and even disastrous to base one's entire relationship to oneself or to others upon this conditional attitude.
The Wrong Filter, by Thomas Sowell, 26 Feb 1998
Discusses the state of the American public education system, pointing a finger at the National Education Association's political influence and the "incredibly bad courses in education" at the college level
The public schools also have a virtual monopoly on the supply of schoolchildren ... What this all adds up to is that the public schools can do pretty much whatever they want to, including avoiding academic training and indulging themselves in all sorts of fads and psychobabble, including 'self-esteem.' In this latest round of international tests, American students led the world in one department: 'self-esteem.' As in previous international tests, American students had the highest perception of how well they had done. Seventy percent said that they thought they had done well. This would be comic if it were not so tragic.
Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Tranformation
by Nathaniel Branden, 1983
Partial contents: I. The Dynamics of Self-Esteem - The Problem of Guilt - Motivation by Fear - II. The Struggle for Individuation - Evolving Toward Autonomy - The Art of Being - III. Egoism - Rational Selfishness - Individualism and the Free Society
Looking Out for #1
by Robert Ringer, 1977
Contents: Looking Out for Number One - The Reality Hurdle - The Intimidation Hurdle - The Crusade Hurdle - The Financial Hurdle - The People Hurdle - The Friendship Hurdle - The Love Hurdle - The Starting Line
The Psychology of Self-Esteem: A New Concept of Man's Psychological Nature
by Nathaniel Branden, 1969
Partial contents: Foundations - Psychology as a Science - Man: A Living Being - Man: A Rational Being - Emotions - The Nature and Source of Self-Esteem - Pseudo-Self-Esteem - Pathological Anxiety: A Crisis of Self-Esteem - Self-Esteem and Romantic Love
Six Pillars of Self-Esteem
by Nathaniel Branden, 1994
Partial contents: I. Self-Esteem: Basic Principles - Self-Esteem: The Immune System of Consciousness - II. Internal Sources of Self-Esteem - The Practice of Self-Acceptance - The Practice of Self-Responsibility - III. External Influences: Self and Others