A new book, The Narcissism Epidemic, claims this emerging generation of American adults has the most disproportionate sense of self-worth in the history of civilization. Not healthy self-esteem, but the absurd expectations of attention, privilege and amnesty when people star in their own reality shows—or just in their own realities.
Almost 10% of 20-year-olds exhibit "narcissistic personality disorder" compared to 3% of Americans over 65. (OK, some of that is doubtlessly maturation.) One-third of university students believe, "If I show up to every class, I deserve at least a B."
"The flip side of all that confidence isn't prodigious success but antisocial behavior," notes Raina Kelley in a Newsweek review of the book by Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell. "I shudder to think what a monster I would have become in the modern child-rearing era. Gorged on a diet of grade inflation, constant praise and materialistic entitlement, I probably would have succumbed to a life of heedless self-indulgence."