The gist of his column was that helping children develop self esteem is doing them a serious disservice. To prove it he cites unnamed evidence that people with high self-regard tend to anti-social behavior. In fact, our maximum security prisons are filled with people with very high self-regard. Well that may be true, but self-esteem and self-regard do not mean the same thing. Here's what Webster's has to say:
Self-esteem: a confidence and satisfaction in oneself; self-respect
Self-regard: regard for or consideration of oneself or one's own interests
Hardly the same. What Mr. Rosemond did was...well here's a quote from Mr. Rosemond's column:
The supposed merits of high self-esteem were sold on the basis of rhetoric.
Well if that's true (?) then I guess it's fair for Mr. Rosmond to discredit self-esteem with rhetoric. What Mr. Rosemond did was employ a rhetorical trope known as dysphemism. A dysphemism is the substitution of one term with a harsher, more offensive, or more disagreeable meaning for another term. Self-esteem and self-regard are not synonyms. And erroneously equating them does not prove Mr. Rosemond's argument that people with self esteem can't be humble or caring toward others.
But the question arises, who exactly put the focus on self-esteem in the first place? Well Mr. Rosemond does provide an answer to that one:
In the 1960s, American parents stopped going to their elders for advice and began going instead to mental health professionals--people like me. To create a devoted client base, we had to come up with something new. So we cut from whole cloth a nouveau philosophy...
In the next paragraph he says, "Mind you, we made this up."
People like me (?)...we had to come up with something new(?)...so we cut from whole cloth(?)...we made this up.
Okay. This is the man who wants us to believe what he's telling us now? I'm just saying....