It’s Graduation Speechifying Time Again
Arnold Kling quotes an example:
The Millennial Generation is correcting for the excesses of Boomers and Gen Xers who today run America. I need not remind you what those excesses are: leadership gridlock, refusal to compromise, rampant individualism, the tearing down of traditions, scorched-earth culture wars, and a pathological distrust of all institutions.
—From a graduation speech by Neil Howe, reprinted by John Mauldin
You can never go wrong in a graduation speech by telling the new graduates that their parents’ generation sucks and all hope for things to get better lies with the new generation. It is the other side of the “kids these days” coin. We Gen-Xers received a dose of the same guff when we graduated, and I expect the Baby Boomers probably did too.
Just once I’d like to see a little honesty in one of these speeches.
Graduates, if you’ve taken a look at the world lately, you have probably noticed that our country is in the crapper. We wound up in this lamentable state because (not to put too fine a point on it) people suck. Your parents’ generation sucks, as does your grandparents’, and all their forebears going back as far as anyone can remember. Tradition holds that I should gravely inform you that yours is the first generation not to suck, and that in your miraculous transcendence lies the hope for civilization’s salvation.
Sadly, the overwhelming likelihood is that most of you do, in fact, suck in pretty much the same ways that your parents, grandparents, etc. have sucked. So instead I lay upon you a challenge: try not to suck for a change. Try to suppress your tribalistic instincts. Try to get along with people you detest. Try not to be too credulous. I don’t imagine that most of you will do any of these things; this is human nature we’re talking about, after all. But now, at least, you know what’s at stake, and you can’t say you weren’t warned.
Now, get off my lawn, you little bastards.
I don’t know if that is any better than the typical graduation speech fare, but it’s time someone gave it a try.