While doing a little research for one of last week's !Klat articles, I came across yet another example of this subject. A college student, whose parent is a well-known, well-respected person in this area, had held an under-aged drinking party on the family's property. It was splattered all over the news, and resulted in some legal charges. The student, in apologizing for the situation, said: "I made a poor decision." Further back, a middle-school student had swiped some of her mother's prescription medication, taken it to school, and distributed it to some other kids. Some of the kids became seriously ill because of it. That evening, a parent was on the local news, saying the girl "made a bad decision."
These, and similar occurrences, put me in mind of something I read in a Dr. Laura book: people are becoming less and less able, less and less willing, to say they "did wrong." Instead, even the most major screw-ups are dismissed as "decisions" and "choices."
After I first encountered this, I brought it up to a knowledgeable friend. The person said this relatively-new emphasis on "self-esteem" puts many in the position of abdicating personal responsibility. From what I read in some so-called "pop-psych" books, my friend's viewpoint was accurate. These books tell people they are not supposed to feel regret, or guilt, or anything else negative, that everything is about "choices."
However, there are additional factors: when everything is presented as "choices" and "decisions," it is essentially saying all alternatives are valid. It can go as far as all alternatives being seen as equally valid-- that whatever the 'choice' or 'decision' may be, it is entirely up to the individual. Second, a decision is generally taken to mean a person has put careful thought into something-- weighed the pros and cons, and chosen one particular course of action. In many instances-- especially when referring to illegal acts-- it is very unlikely that either of these factors apply. Third, it removes the personal responsibility for one's actions. One does not break the law by one's 'choice' or 'decision'-- it is the actions following it that matter.