Salvo 06.04.2024 8 minutes

My College Commencement Address (If I Gave One)

College Graduates Throwing Caps

The future of the free world is in your hands—no pressure!

To the Graduating Class of 2024:

My darlings, congratulations. You somehow made it. The last four years have been, well, you know. The French have a word for what we’ve been through: “le shitshow.”

I’m still recovering from all of it. And I didn’t have to spend it on a college campus locked down in my dorm room with a six-foot-three female roommate with waggling male appendages and chest hair.

You spent your entire college career in the long shadow of the pandemic, George Floyd, Bidenomics, accelerating crime, an unprecedented immigration wave, and the explosion of DEI rules, which put high paying jobs and graduate school admissions almost out of reach for many of you. 

In 2020, your government wouldn’t let you celebrate your high school graduation. Your college required you to get multiple vaccinations for your “safety,” but then looked the other way as violent protestors took over your campuses. Maybe you were forced to share a dorm with someone of the opposite biological gender, and if you complained, you were accused of bigotry. In class, your professors lectured at you that white people were irredeemably evil, and brown people were irredeemably victims. You went into debt to get through school, and your parents struggled under the crushing weight of inflation that has shriveled American incomes by at least 30 percent. 

Jobs? Well, that depends—do you fit the DEI checklist? If you don’t, learn to code. Oh wait, we have AI for that now. McDonald’s pays $20 an hour—maybe you can be the assistant to the manager one day. 

It’s a crazy time to be starting out in life. I’ll be honest—this is not the future we were promised. This is not what I thought the future would be like when I graduated from college. 

But here we are. Despite the unbelievable obstacles in your way, you made it to today. You did it. I don’t know if I would have made it if I had to do it under these conditions. 

And now, to your future. What other fun things await you—and all of us—in the next years and decades? Will we be living on the Moon or eating bugs in your pods? Will free speech be a thing of the past, with ever more draconian wrong think laws—or will we see a return to the core values that made us great? Will wokeness be dead, or will we all become woke? Which way, future Americans? 

Well, the answer kind of depends on what you guys do. Literally, our fate is in your hands!

To help you carry this burden, here is the part of my address where I impart a few nuggets of wisdom unto your young unblemished ears. 

Rule 1: If I had to boil down the one secret to a happy life, it’s this: find people you really like, and spend as much time with them as you can, and the least amount of time with people you don’t like, or who don’t like you. That’s one of the nice perks of parenthood—you’re creating a little clique of people you are guaranteed to like, and who arrive pre-programmed to like you. So don’t screw that one up. 

Rule 2, slightly related to Rule 1: Find your people fast, and hang on to them. Marry someone who makes you happy. Try your best to make them happy. Spend time with people who know the real you—not the one you pretend to be so your woke boss doesn’t have you fired.

Rule 3: Staying positive is easy when things are going well. But staying positive when you’re dealing with personal hardship, or a country in chaos, is hard. Very hard. Allow yourself to pop the occasional blackpill as a treat, but try to spend most of your time on the sunny side of the street. Relentless optimism is a truly rare gift, but the people who can harness it have a measurably higher quality of life. You guys already have a tremendous bounty of privileges and riches to be thankful for. First, you’re alive! That alone is a victory. You beat enormous odds simply existing. If you’re also relatively healthy and intelligent, you’ve got it made. And never forget that you are immensely, absurdly rich in one thing that you will never have again: youth. It is as succulent and sweet as a ripe peach, and you need to cherish it while you can. Try not to take it for granted. Use it well! 

Rule 4: Never go swimming in a pool or a lake, or even shower, with contact lenses in your eyes. You risk infecting yourself with a highly dangerous organism called acanthamoeba, which will eat right through your eyeballs and cause permanent blindness and agonizing pain. It’s rare but it happens, and it’s completely avoidable. Tell your contact-wearing friends. Save them!

Rule 5: When in doubt, paint the walls Benjamin Moore White Dove. It’s a lovely soft white that also looks great as trim. 

Rule 6: The Honda Odyssey is the finest family car on the market. And yes, it can fit three car seats in one row.

Rule 7: Teach your children from an early age the simple truths that people are rapidly being forced to forget: there are just two genders, and God assigns yours at conception. A trip to the zoo will quickly dispel any lingering doubts on the number of genders in the animal kingdom.

Rule 8: Don’t cheat. And I don’t just mean don’t be unfaithful to spouses or significant others. I mean don’t take shortcuts that you know are damaging. Don’t take what’s not yours. Don’t screw people over. Do the right thing whenever you can and you’ll almost always be better off. And of course, don’t cheat on someone you love. It’s cruel and shortsighted, and will cause enormous pain and suffering, and not just to the person you wrong. This is karma you don’t want to reap.

Rule 9: Stay away from motorcycles, parachutes, small planes, and helicopters, even if you are an adrenaline junkie. This is my most longhoused opinion, sorry.

Rule 10: In the eighties and nineties, you could “experiment” with drugs. A lot of people did, and I don’t recommend it, but they mostly turned out okay. Today, you can’t. Cannabis is like 100 times more powerful than the weed the hippies smoked. It causes schizophrenia. And all the “powder” based drugs, the pills, cocaine, etc. are tainted with fentanyl, which will kill you stone dead. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but just say no. 

Rule 11: Work on raising your tolerance for offensiveness. I don’t mean you have to tolerate offensive things in your own life, but stop looking for things to be offended by. Sometimes things are just funny jokes, and being offended by it makes you a sourpuss. Raise your tolerance for getting “offended” by everything and suddenly the world is a much jollier place. I am virtually unoffendable, and I consider it a great superpower since it allows me to encounter people and ideas and things that others are afraid of.

And finally, Rule 12: If you find a nice spouse, and you guys turn out to be fertile, don’t stop at two kids. People need to be familymaxxing. You need to be babymaxxing. You need at least three heirs. Of course, you don’t have to stop there. Feel free to keep going as long as you like, while you still can. I suspect that the powers that be may start policing family sizes in the future, but right now having a baby is something you don’t need government permission for. So go for it, please. We are in a population bottleneck, and we need all the devoted, normal breeding pairs we can find to get to work. As Patton said to the Third Army in his famous pep talk, “​The brave men will breed more brave men.” 

We’re counting on you to save the world. You don’t need to start a company, or become president, or get rich to do it, either. Literally all you have to do is be normal. That’s literally it. By normal I don’t mean boring or basic or conformist. Being normal in 2024 is the least conformist thing you can possibly do—an act of defiance so profound that it’s become a radical political act. Revolutionary, in fact. 

By normal, I mean that a lot of the things your mother (or grandmother) taught you when you were little will still apply. Be kind to old people, do your best, work hard, and remember that it will all be over much sooner than you would like it to. 

And you won’t be alone. A legion of other people your age are ready to join your ranks and reject the hideous, deformed ideologies that strips young women of their beauty and their body parts and young men of their healthy masculinity. Together you and your friends and your families can help us right the ship. 

But if it sinks before you can save it, please try to row the lifeboats to a lovely tropical island where they serve piña coladas with the little umbrellas. I could use a vacation and a tan.

So go forth—and be fruitful, and multiply!

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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