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Did you ever wonder why we say congratulations to everyone who graduates. That’s a bit odd. In any event, a hearty congratulations to the students who took themselves and their education seriously for four years, and who used this time to think hard, to make great friends, to begin a lifelong journey of learning, and who do have a higher purpose in their lives than pleasing themselves. You know who you are, or at least you folks are too humble to admit it. I would like to leave my students with the following thought upon graduation. I hope they don’t come away from learning with me thinking that I know much of anything, or have answers to many things, or even that the world I would prefer to live in would in any way resemble some kind of utopia.

No. 

My hope is to have (help? develop?) students who don’t take words at face value; who are not ruled solely by emotion; who understand how to make an argument (or at least know that they should try to); who think hard about why they believe what they believe and do not believe; who are good to others; and so much more. I leave you with one of my thoughts from Hayek that have impacted me in my journey through life. And please don’t mistake this for an idolizing of Hayek. I certainly admire and respect him, but that’s where it has to end.

Godpseed to you.

Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom. 

One Response to “Congratulations to (Some of) the Class of 2013”

  1. Harry says:

    You go, WC!

    That thing about spending four years really seriously may be a bit Platonic, and has to conjure up guilt among we who may have wasted our parents’ money.

    I can remember a spring evening walking with a girl (I do remember her name) by the Mount Holyoke chem lab on a Saturday night and seeing another girl in the lab next to her test tubes and sink, working on an experiment. I was clearly impressed with that order of dedication to one’s education, as we hastened to find a spot to, er, make out. Maybe the girl in the chem lab was instrumental in developing my high blood pressure pills. By the way, it was not Kathleen Sibelius in there, of that I am sure.

    I look forward to another pic of WC in his Cornell Spanish Inquisition attire.

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