Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Commencement Speech Mark Steyn never gave

But he'd sure like to, if given the chance. (I just don't think he'd come to our homeschool grad to do it, and if he would, I couldn't afford his speaking fee.)

From After America:

You can't always be anything you want to be. I wanted to be a great tap-dancer. Instead I’m a mediocre tap-dancer. But that’s my problem. Your problem is that my generation and your teachers’ generation have put a huge obstacle in the way of your being anything you want to be: We’ve spent your future. Generationally speaking, yours truly, the principal, the guidance counsellor, the school board, the old, the late middle-aged and the early middle-aged have cleaned you out before you got going.
 “It’s about the future of all our children.” And the future of all our children is that you’ll be paying off the past of all your grandparents. In the assisted-suicide phase of western democracy, voters are seduced by politicians who bribe them with government lollipops, but they’re not willing to pay the cost of those lollipops. Solution: Kick it down the road, and stick it to the next generation. That’s you. 
 So government has spent your future. This is the biggest generational transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Look at the way your parents and grandparents live: it’s not going to be like that for you. You’re going to have a smaller house, and a smaller car—if not a basement apartment and a bus ticket. But thanks a bundle, it worked out great for us. We of the Greatest Generation, the Boomers and Generation X salute you, the plucky members of the Brokest Generation, the Gloomers, and Generation Y, as in “Why the hell did you old coots do this to us?”, which is what you’re going to be asking in a few years’ time. You’re being lined up for a twenty-first century America of more government, more regulation, less opportunity, and less prosperity—and you should be mad about it: when you come to take your seat at the American table (to use another phrase the politicians are fond of), you’ll find the geezers, the boomers, and the Gen X-ers have all gone to the bathroom, and you’re the only one sitting there when the waiter presents the check. That’s you: Generation Checks. 
 “You can be anything you want to be!” “Dream your dreams!” You won’t be able to dream your dreams, because you’ll be the gray morning after of us oldtimers’ almighty bender. The American Dream will be as elusive and mythical as the Greek Dream. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculated that if the federal government were to increase every single tax by 30 percent it would be enough to balance the books—in 25 years. Except that it wouldn’t. Because if you raised taxes by 30 percent, government would spend even more than it already does, on the grounds that the citizenry needed more social programs and entitlements to compensate for their sudden reduction in disposable income. 
In the Sixties, the hippies used to say, “Never trust anyone over 30.” Now all the Sixties hippies are in their sixties, and they’ve gone quiet about that, but it’s good advice for you: never trust anyone over 30 with the societal checkbook. You thought you were the idealistic youth of the Obama era, but in fact you’re the designated fall-guys. You weren’t voting for “the future,” but to deny yourself the very possibility of one—like turkeys volunteering to waddle around with an Audacity of Thanksgiving bumper sticker on your tush. Instead of swaying glassy-eyed behind President Obama at his campaign rallies singing, “We are the hopeychange,” you should be demanding that the government spend less money on smaller agencies with fewer employees on lower salaries. Because if you don’t, there won’t be a future. “You can be anything you want to be”—but only if you first tell today’s big spenders that, whatever they want to be, they should try doing it on their own dime.

That speech is so true and so inspiring, I think I'm going to have it tattooed on my forearm.

No comments:

Post a Comment