Thomas Sowell

Over the years, football players began carrying on with elaborate celebrations after every touchdown. Baseball teams developed pre-game rituals and post-game celebrations.

While this trend of self-dramatization is most visible in sports, it extends well beyond athletes.

Parents give their children off-the-wall names. "Mary" has long since lost its place as the perennially most popular name for girls.

There is a high turnover in what names are hot and which ones are not. Apparently everybody has to try to outdo everybody else, even when it comes to naming children.

Here, as in sports, superficial attention-getters have replaced achievements that speak for themselves. Indeed, the whole notion of achievement is downplayed, if not swept under the rug.

People who have achieved success are often referred to as "privileged," especially by the intelligentsia. Achievements used to be a source of inspiration for others but have been turned into a source of grievance for those without comparable achievements.

There have always been superficial dandies but they have not always been admired or regarded as models. Our society is worse off because they are.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate