Quote of the Day:

When you — or more likely, your parents — have just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for that B.A. in  anthropology or political science, who needs Ayaan Hirsi Ali telling you that universities have become temples of dogmatic orthodoxy or P.J. O’Rourke killing the moment with a speech about how ideals are pointless?

Actually, you do.

–Carlos Lozada in “Why Conservatives Give Better Commencement Speeches” in the Washington Post

Students are likely to protest conservative commencement speakers (such as Hirsi Ali, who was famously invited and then uninvited to speak at Brandeis), but Lozada lets us in on a secret: their addresses are generally better than those given by their more welcome liberal counterparts.

If conservative speakers are better, then graduating classes across the land are cheating themselves. The Washington Examiner reports:

Liberal speakers continue to dominate the college commencement scene, with those linked to President Obama especially in demand, according to a survey of the top 100 colleges and universities.

In its annual report, the Young America's Foundation revealed that in the top 50 schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, liberal speakers outnumbered conservatives nine to one.

Among the top 10: All speakers were liberal. In the top 100 it was six to one.

A book critic at the Washington Post, Lozada arrived at his opinion that conservatives make better commencement speakers based on two recent anthologies of commencement speeches: “The World is Waiting For You,” edited by Tara  Grove and Isabel Ostrer, and “Remembering Who We Are,” edited by Zev Chafets.  Lozada opines that right-leaning speakers are better for five reasons, including that they are shorter. That in my book is the very best recommendation of any speech.

The four other pluses cited by Lozada are that conservative speakers are more likely to address the grads as individuals rather than a group, give more “actionable” advice, tell better stories, and are “less likely to suck up to you.” On this last:

“Your generation should be the model for my generation because you totally rock,” Anna Quindlen gushed to Grinnell College graduates in 2011. And Wynton Marsalis looked at the 2001 Connecticut College graduating class and said, “Check yourselves out, because it’s a beautiful thing.” There are some conservative suck-ups, too, but Antonin Scalia captured the room-for-improvement strain running through lots of right-leaning speeches: “To thine own self be true,” he told graduates in 2010, “depending upon who you think you are.”

And Rush Limbaugh, when asked on his radio show in May 2008 what he would say to a graduating class, was even tougher: “The first thing that I would say is the world does not revolve around you, yet, and you are not the future leaders of the country, yet, just because you’ve graduated.”

While most of the speakers quoted engaged in generational flattery disguised as high-flown sentiments, Fox’s Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly dared to talk about finding fulfilling work and—gasp!—income. The other speakers were more likely to say things like this:

“The ridiculously earnest are known to travel in groups,” Barbara Kingsolver declared to Duke University’s 2008 graduates. “And they are known to change the world.”

The really ridiculous are known to address our nation’s college graduates.