I’ve never been invited to deliver a commencement address. And I probably should never be so invited, for I already know the title I would choose: "Don’t Change the World." I would explain that it’s okay — indeed, admirable — to change the world marginally, incrementally, by engaging in voluntary actions. But all the "change the world" talk that high-school and college graduates get presumes that change, any change, is desirable — as if the world is such a decrepit place that nothing about is worth preserving (except, of course, "the environment"). And all this "change the world" talk also tends to presume that doing things politically is the best way to effect worthwhile change. (Update: Reader Bob Ewing kindly suggests that I add a link to this article of mine  that develops this point further.)
Anyway, I digress….. for the reason I post today is to recommend that you read P.J. O’Rourke’s commencement-address-like ruminations . (HT to Tom Hazlett) Here’s one of my favorite passages:
Life sends the message, "I’d better not be poor. I’d better get rich.
I’d better make more money than other people." Meanwhile, politics
sends us the message, "Some people make more money than others. Some
are rich while others are poor. We’d better close that ‘income
disparity gap.’ It’s not fair!"
Well, I am here to advocate for
unfairness. I’ve got a 10-year-old at home. She’s always saying,
"That’s not fair." When she says this, I say, "Honey, you’re cute.
That’s not fair. Your family is pretty well off. That’s not fair. You
were born in America. That’s not fair. Darling, you had better pray to
God that things don’t start getting fair for you." What we need is more
income, even if it means a bigger income disparity gap.