Are America's "narcissistic" youth a by-product of the counterculture revolution and the New Left movement?
Social scientists describe our younger generations as narcissistic. Infused with self-esteem since birth and awarded with participation trophies for failing, they are self-centered, self-immersed, and focused on self-improvement. They score significantly higher on narcissistic traits than do older generations on psychological testing. They are the "Me" generations.
But is their overt behavior really an expression of narcissism, or are other dynamics at play? Following World War II, Americans of all ages identified with nation and with the civil institutions of family, community, and church. The American Dream was a reality as the nation experienced unprecedented economic growth. The Cold War solidified patriotism. In the wake of the 60s, though, the landscape began to change with the rise of the New Left movement. Traditional attitudes and institutions came under attack. Authority at all levels was questioned and rejected.
Left-wing activists seeking to change the world populated and gained control of the education system and the media. Anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism crept into the school curriculum. Students became indoctrinated on the evils of America, not its greatness. America was cast as an imperialistic global predator, not as a world leader. America was built on slavery. The Founding Fathers are to be admonished as slave owners, not honored as founders of a uniquely conceived nation having the capacity to condemn slavery and combat segregation. Many students believe America is the only nation to have practiced slavery. The capitalistic "system" traps the common man in subservience. Capitalistic greed has caused global warming which will soon destroy the planet. Many millennials espouse socialism, although they cannot define it. They view businessmen and bankers as evil forces.
The traditional family structure has felt the assault of the feminist movement which, facilitated by household technical advances, lured women out of the home into the marketplace. The "pill" broke the marriage, sex, childbearing cycle. Out-of-wedlock births and single moms are commonplace. Left-wing secular/atheism has launched an attack on Christianity and the authority of the church, which the left holds to be oppressively dogmatic and "unscientific," having no place in an enlightened society.