In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 14, 2007 / 28 Sivan, 5767

Graduation day vacuity

By Bob Tyrrell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I think we can all agree that the most inane speeches delivered nowadays in America are delivered at college commencement ceremonies. Oh, to be sure, speeches intoned at high-level meetings of the Loyal Order of Moose, the Rotarians and the National Organization for Women, are also vacant, pompous, and often delusory.

Yet all such orations come off as Lincoln's Second Inaugural when compared to the bloviations exhaled on almost any American campus when it comes time for the students to don their mortarboards and parade past their adoring parents and snooty profs. Often the students wear funny shoes or carry things subversive and possibly risque beneath their graduation gowns.

Helium balloons are attached to their caps, and occasionally noisemakers — borne surreptitiously on their persons — make rude sounds of bodily functions. Such are the antics of graduating seniors at our great institutions of higher learning this season, and frankly I support them in their obstreperousness.

The speechifying that they have to endure is usually excruciating. A few weeks back I was forced to sit through graduation ceremonies by a member of my family who insists on the solemnity of tradition, and in his eyes graduation ceremonies are a tradition. I wish I had brought an air horn. On the first day of the ceremonies I was forced to listen to a supremely self-satisfied "electric violinist" from some rock band exhort all within earshot "to dream" and to make way for "change."

Starting with President Ronald Reagan my fellow libertarian conservatives have made enormous "change," change unforeseen by two prior generations of progressives. Apparently this is not the change that the oaf at the podium was prescribing. Precisely what he did mean by change remained vague but sounded frankly old-fashioned.

The following day I endured a popular novelist, employing the same thoughtless platitudes. In addition, he condemned war conducted by politicians. Possibly he favored military dictatorship. His was not a very precise mind. From his remarks on the Vietnam War one might conclude that it was raging in 1977, the year of his own graduation. He insisted the war's casualties were all around him.

My low opinion of commencement speeches was confirmed recently when I read a summary of them in the New York Times. Yes, of course, most of the speakers' truths were hackneyed and dubious. America was widely compared to Imperial Rome in its last days. It is a tired thought that has been reverberating through the Republic for decades. Exhortations to do good were monotonous. Gandhi, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa are frequently held up to the graduates as role models, albeit without menacing the division between church and state. Yet what struck me was how passe and anti-intellectual the speakers were.

There was the aforementioned electric violinist and the popular novelist. Both were sufficiently trite to make it into the Times's summary. Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem also made the cut. Davis, renowned for being the third women ever to appear on the FBI's Most Wanted List, was once a communist and perhaps still is. Could the faculty at Grinnell College where she spoke not also find a flat-earther to complement her antique views?

She droned on with the utmost smugness, saying things that were at once incomprehensible and clearly stupid. Quoth Comrade Davis, "For you will never discover a scarcity of facts, and these facts will be presented in such a way as to veil the ways of thinking embedded in them." It got worse, but my space is limited. Steinem complained about typing requirements imposed on her when she was a student at Smith College back in the 1400s or whenever she matriculated there.

Such requirements were not imposed on her contemporaries at all-male Harvard. Steinem is the same feminist famed such lines as "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle," and "In my own mind, I am still a fat brunette from Toledo, and I always will be."

Over the past three decades the politics of our democratic republic have changed. So far have the values of libertarian conservatives permeated the land and replaced the ideas of the welfare state and of the social engineers that we can say America's right has won the political battle.

But the old liberal left won the battle for the culture. The social and intellectual culture of the country is polluted by ideas that are antagonistic to market economics, deferred gratification, and civic responsibility — all being the values necessary for a prospering middle class.

This Kultursmog broods over commencement speeches as it broods over the campus itself. It is very old-fashioned, but I think we can all agree it is enormously amusing. An "electric violinist" sending graduates off to the adult world of a global economy — ha ha ha.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, Creators Syndicate