Jesse's Crossroads Cafe offered a commentary on Generation Me:
The lack of empathy amongst America's privileged, and thereby largely the leadership, class makes for a disturbing tolerance for pain and misery and injustice in others.
It's easy to lie, cheat and steal when the world is beneath oneself, i.e. worthy of disgust. Science Daily reported:
"When people feel disgusted, they tend to remove themselves from a situation. The instinct is to protect oneself. People become focused on 'self' and they're less likely to think about other people. Small cheating starts to occur: If I'm disgusted and more focused on myself and I need to lie a little bit to gain a small advantage, I'll do that. That's the underlying mechanism."Enter Governor Bob McDonnell, who saw plenty of politicians from both parties feeding at the influence trough. The Virginia Governor did not execute as well as the Clintons, who use their foundation to pay friends huge amounts, then claim accounting errors when funds are not properly spent or tracked. McDonnell did not have someone watching his back like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was gifted a Cowboy playoff weekend, private jet ride, seats in owner Jerry Jones luxury box and hugs from Jones' himself.
The AP reported sixty four of America's Ivy League youth have the "me focus":
Dartmouth College has charged 64 students accused of cheating in a sports ethics class with violating the Ivy League school's honor code.These sixty four have a future in American sports, politics or Wall Street where garnering the prize is all that matters. Alfie Kohn wrote:
Setting kids against one another in contests leads to less trust, less accurate communication, less sensitivity, less likelihood of helping people in need, and less capacity to imagine how things look from someone else’s point of view.
These kids grow into adults, where corporate and social structures rely on competition to "motivate and reward" people.
The central message taught by all forms of competition can be summarized in a sentence: “Other people are potential obstacles to my success.”
I.e., other people disgust me and must be put down by any means possible. Consider the words of the Dartmouth professor who discovered the cheating:
"I think honor no longer is something that has a lot of resonance in society, and I suppose in some ways it’s not surprising that students would want to trade the nebulous notion of honor with what they perceive as some sort of advantage in professional advancement."
The children have learned from their adult role models. Ethics be damned. Winning is all that matters. If we have too many Generation Me's there may be no Generation Us.
Update 5-30-15: Someone else noticed the distorting nature of competition and rewards. .