Monday, June 21, 2010

Nerd News: Get Schooled By Justice Scalia's Commencement Address

This is pretty much made out of pure awesomeness. Here's a taste of it:
"My problem with platitudes (at graduation)," Scalia said, "is not that they are old and hackneyed, but that they are wrong."

Oh, I can't help myself. Here is a gorgeous piece of Scalia's speech:
"It's a belief that seems particularly to beset modern society, that believing deeply in something, and following that belief, is the most important thing a person could do. Get out there and picket, or boycott, or electioneer, or whatever. Show yourself to be a committed person, that's the fashionable phrase. I am here to tell you that it is much less important how committed you are, than what you are committed to. If I had to choose, I would always take the less dynamic, indeed even the lazy person who knows what's right, than the zealot in the cause of error. He may move slower, but he's headed in the right direction.

"Movement is not necessarily progress. More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly. Nobody -- remember this -- neither Hitler, nor Lenin, nor any despot you could name, ever came forward with a proposal that read, "Now, let's create a really oppressive and evil society." Hitler said, let's take the means necessary to restore our national pride and civic order. And Lenin said, let's take the means necessary to assure a fair distribution of the goods of the world. In short, it is your responsibility, men and women of the class of 2010, not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. Not merely in their ends, but in their means. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person, then when you follow your conscience, will you be headed in the right direction."
Yes, yes!

I've posted often on various commencement speeches, but I'll just give you an example of the hilariously good and the laughably bad.

By the way, through the nerd grapevine, I just heard of an awesome commencement speaker who said these gloriously astute words at a recent graduation:

"The commencement speaker at a graduation is like the corpse at an Irish wake. They need you for the party afterward, but nobody expects you to say very much."
(*MM applauds*)

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