Posted tagged ‘Commencement Speeches’

Thomas Sowell: Commencement Season

May 25, 2016

As only he can do, Thomas Sowell breaks down the purposes of most commencement speeches in this article titled, Commencement Season (click here). Here are some excerpts from the article.

“Two themes seem to dominate Commencement speeches. One is shameless self-advertising by people in government, or in related organizations supported by the taxpayers of donors, saying how nobler it is to be in “public service” than working in business or other “selfish activities”. In other words, the message is that it is morally superior to be in organizations consuming output produced by others than to be in organizations which produce the output. Moreover, being morally one-up is where it’s at.”

“The second theme of many Commencement speakers, besides flattering themselves that they are in morally superior careers, is to flatter the graduates that they are now equipped to go out into the world as “leaders” who can prescribe how other people should live. In other words, young people, who in most cases have never had either the sobering responsibility and experience of being self-supporting adults, are to tell other people – who have had that responsibility and that experience for years – how they should live their lives.”

In so far as the graduates go into “public service” in government…..They are to help order other people around.”

“….what commencement speakers are suggesting is that inexperienced young graduates are to prescribe, or help dictate, to vast numbers of other people who have the real world experience that the graduates themselves lack.”

“To the extent that such graduates remain in government – “public service” – they can progress….. never acquiring the experience of being on the receiving end of their prescriptions or dictates. That can mean a lifetime of people with ignorance presuming to prescribe to people with personal knowledge.”

Does this sound like President Obama! (my comment)

“However well-educated the students might be in particular narrow fields – and, in too many cases, they have not gotten even that – what the graduates might have, at best, is a foundation for acquiring the real world experience necessary to complete their education and fulfill the ancient admonition, “With all you getting, get understanding.”

“Presumption is not understanding. It is the antithesis of understanding.”

“It was my good fortune not to have gone to college until I was several years older than most people. At an age when too many young people have been told too often how brilliant and exceptional they are – presumably to promote “self-esteem” – I was working at unskilled labor jobs and struggling to buy food and pay my room rent.”

“I learned the hard way that the good grades I had earned before dropping out of school were of no use to me in my low-level jobs. No one told me how brilliant I was. They were too busy correcting my mistakes.”

“It was painfully obvious that adults around me understood much more about their work – and about life. This taught me inescapable lessons and respect for people who had no academic pretensions but a lot of common sense.”

“It would take a lot more than lofty Commencement speeches to undo those lessons. We all have windfall gains and windfall losses. But, all in all, I feel lucky compared to those graduates who are so vulnerable to slick Commencement speakers.”


Dr. Sowell has written many books (to see list click here) about the “towering presumptions” of the anointed in government. Here is a quote by Dr. Sowell that sums up what he thinks about the anointed:

“People who are very aware that they have more knowledge then the average person are often very unaware that they do not have one tenth of the knowledge of all of the average persons put together. In this situation, for the intelligentsia to impose their notions on ordinary people, is essentially to impose ignorance on knowledge.

Here is a shorter summation by Dr. Sowell:

“Credentialed ignorance is still ignorance”


Related ArticleGeorge Will Outlines What Should Be In Every Commencement Speech, at

Related ArticleMichelle Obama vs. Thomas Sowell On The Politics Of Race, at

Related ArticleBest Commencement Speech Ever, Adm. McCraven Gets My Vote, at





Education System Is A Monopoly Of The Political Left

May 18, 2016

Thomas Sowell

In this recent article by Thomas Sowell titled, Dry Rot In Academia (click here), he makes this statement: “Today one can literally go from kindergarten to becoming a graduate student seeking a PH.D., without ever hearing a vision of the world that conflicts with the vision of the left.”

I’ve coached in high school for decades. My players, most of whom end up just being students in college, tell me about the professors they have. The conversation usually starts something like this, “coach you won’t believe the professor I have for ……” The evidence is overwhelming that academia is biased toward big government central planning. These elites either don’t understand how free markets work, or don’t trust individuals to make their own decisions in a free market.

Here are some excerpts from the article.

“Conservative critics who object on grounds that the views of the left are wrong miss the point. Regardless of whose views become a monopoly, education suffers…. As a young Marxists in college during the 1950’s heyday of the anti-Communist crusade led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, I had more freedom to express my views in class, without fear of retaliation, than conservative students have on many campuses today.”

“Even liberal professors can be adversely affected by the narrow groupthink that prevails. Without an opposition to keep them on their toes, they can develop sloppy habits to dismissing or even demonizing differing viewpoints, instead of practicing and teaching their students how to come to grips with opposing beliefs.”

“There are many examples of the intellectual and moral dry rot on the many campuses across the country where groupthink of the left substitutes for education.”


George Will

In this article by George Will titled, Due Process Is Still Being Kicked Off Campus (click here), he states this: “Academia’s descent into perpetual hysteria and incipient tyranny is partly fueled by the fiction that 1 in 5 college students is sexually assaulted and that campuses require minute federal supervision to cure this. Encouraged by the government’s misuse of discredited social science…colleges and universities are implementing unconstitutional procedures mandated by the government.”

These colleges are violating the fourth and fifth amendment rights of students who have had accusations made against them. First of all administrators don’t have enough knowledge to do the job that the legal system is supposed to do. Colleges are going to get their pants sued off for these violations. But it won’t make the people whole whose lives have been ruined.

The 2006 Duke lacrosse rape case fit the narrative about campuses permeated by a “rape culture.” Except there was no rape. In 2014, the University of Virginia was convulsed by a magazine’s lurid report of a rape that buttressed the narrative that fraternities foment the sexual predation supposedly pandemic in “male supremacist” America. Except there was no rape. Now, Colorado State University at Pueblo has punished the supposed rapist of a woman who says she was not raped.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments enacted in 1972 merely says no person at an institution receiving federal funds shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex. From this the government has concocted a right to micromanage schools’ disciplinary procedures, mandating obvious violations of due process.”

“In 2011, the Education Department’s civil rights office sent “dear colleague” letters to schools directing them to convict accused persons on a mere “preponderance” of evidence rather than “clear and convincing” evidence. Schools were instructed to not allow accused students to cross-examine their accusers, but to allow accusers to appeal not-guilty verdicts, a form of double jeopardy.”

Although a “dear colleague” letter is supposedly a mere “guidance document,” it employs the word “must” in effectively mandating policies…..these letters shred constitutional guarantees…..academic administrators nowadays are frequently supine when challenged – it would risk a costly investigation and the potential loss of the 11 percent of their budget that comes from Washington.”


My friend, who had two kids graduate from college tells everyone; “College is the most dangerous place you can send your kids. Not because of any risk of violence. The risk is when they come back, you will not know who they are, unless you’ve constantly communicated with them.

Related ArticleGeorg Will Outlines What Should Be In Every Commencement Speech, at

Related ArticleBest Commencement Speech Ever? Adm.McCraven Gets My Vote, at

Related ArticleMichelle Obama vs. Thomas Sowell On The Politics Of Race, at