In this lecture Dr. Locke identifies the objective basis and critical psychological need of self-esteem, and examines four contemporary intellectual movements that - while sometimes claiming to build self-esteem - are working to destroy it. First among these are psychologists who claim that self-esteem is based on social approval, thereby encouraging people to become second-handers. In education the trend is to make students "feel good" by sacrificing academic standards, which makes students less competent to deal with reality. Dr. Locke also looks at the assault on self-esteem mounted by religionists, who advocate humility and faith, and by philosophers, whose persistent attacks on reason have resulted in widespread skepticism and moral self-doubt. The result of these influences has been the gradual destruction of the true source of self-esteem - man's confidence in his own mind. Dr. Locke argues that the antidote to these influences is the philosophy of Objectivism.
This lecture was recorded at the 2003 Objectivist Summer Conference in Industry Hills, CA.