Writing as though he had uncovered a secret so illogical that it would shock Washington Post readers to their core, Carlos Lozada penned an op-ed this week in support of conservative commencement speeches. Against all odds, he said, conservatives were better than liberals when it came to delivering that final address to graduating classes.
Among the strengths of conservative speeches, he wrote, were that they tended to address graduates as individuals, they told better stories, and they gave actionable advice as opposed to broad platitudes. Lozada (begrudgingly?) praised speakers such as Ben Carson, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly for their direct, effective way of speaking to students ready to go off and make their way in the world. He said that liberals tended to speak in terms of generations, groups, and grand ideals, likely losing their audiences with their overlong speeches.
What’s puzzling is that anyone would be surprised by this disparity. Of course conservatives give better commencement speeches, especially if those speeches are judged by the measures set forth by Lozada. But why stop at speeches? The strength of these messages form the backbone of conservatism as a philosophy. The weaknesses inherent in liberal speeches are the same weaknesses present in liberal politicians and policies.
For some reason, Lozada fails to make the connection. It’s probably for the same reason that critics are baffled by the success of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News, and other conservative media giants. They simply can’t understand that people like to feel empowered. They can’t comprehend how a philosophy centered in hard work, family, and a do-it-yourself spirit might be more appealing to Americans than a philosophy that is based on blaming others. They see conservatism as the refuge for the entitled and the privileged, demonstrating how completely backwards they see the world.
Put plainly, conservatism built this country from the ground up. Without men who were willing to risk it all to fight for liberty, independence, and glory, the United States would not exist. We would still be a British colony today, and the world would be a much different place. A better place, if you ask today’s progressives, but there’s not much evidence to support that hypothesis. If liberals had been in charge of this country from the beginning, one wonders if phrases like “the land of opportunity” and “the American dream” would have ever entered the lexicon.
Our First Amendment makes room for liberals to dream of a United States more suited to their preferences. But over the last three or four decades, those preferences have moved so far away from fundamental American values that they have become an active threat to the nation. That’s not to suggest they should be silenced, of course; censorship is a wholly liberal response to disagreeable speech. But we should be wary about giving our country over to academics and wealthy socialists who believe the collective is to be favored over the individual. Their ideas don’t just make for boring commencement speeches.
They make for tyrannical governments.