As I watched the national news (NBC) yesterday (January 7, 2012) there was a story about a study of college students. Apparently it's an annual study of college freshmen. The conclusion was that 25% of this year's college freshmen are "Narcissists". My dictionary defines a narcissist as "someone with excessive self-admiration and self-centeredness". It can also be classified as a personality disorder if extreme.
It means they think they are the center of the universe. It's not really surprising. We've raised more than a generation on the principle that self-esteem is a valued personality trait (if you feel good about yourself, you must be "doing it right") and equal, if not greater, priority to actual education. We try to limit and eliminate competition, failure (which generally diminishes success, like giving a trophy to all participants), and give partial credit to anyone who "tries" to do well (like answering math problems incorrectly). The assumption is, if everyone is happy, they will have happy, productive lives.
In summary, to attempt equality, we've driven the idea that being the same is equal to success. Our children have set their standards low enough that more and more of them assume they have actually accomplished something noteworthy. Instead of working hard to truly achieve spectacular results and ideas, they have been told all results are acceptable and admirable. Instead of admiring the abilities of those with talent, or skills, or perseverance, we're creating the "Good Enough Society". They are pleased with themselves and their prospects. They have experience, skills, and knowledge that has prepared them to do nothing, but feel good.
It is also this generation who voted, overwhelming, to return the President to the White House, on the promise that he'd take care of all of them. He's got control of student loans and given them health care. What, us worry? "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." And we have Stuart Smalley in the Senate...