Friday, July 29, 2016 | Subscribe

Cruz’s speech contradicted our education

After Sen. Ted Cruz finished his speech at com­mencement this spring, he seemed to have given the wrong address. Cruz made no attempt to tailor his remarks to the new graduates of Hillsdale College.

Few graduates had any question of their political affil­i­ations. Few graduates were con­cerned about the success of free markets. Few graduates were in des­perate need of a con­vincing argument against socialism, Hol­lywood, or mate­rialist com­placency in America. Cer­tainly, few wanted to hear pan­dering quo­tations from our beloved President Ronald Reagan or cal­culated, vapid ref­erences to the “torch of freedom” that the graduates needed to carry into the world.

All, however, needed assurance that their four-year pursuit of an ordered mind was worthwhile.  Unfor­tu­nately for the graduates and their families, Cruz did not give this assurance at any point during his speech.

Cruz’s address would have appealed to many sup­porters at a con­ser­vative rally. The rest would have been non­plussed that Cruz’s only real assertions were sta­tistical analyses of the number of American families without food. Frankly, we’re all familiar with the growing welfare state in our country, but, on the afternoon of our grad­uation, it most cer­tainly wasn’t foremost in our minds.

What we did care about was the feeling in the back of our minds that this intense four-year expe­rience might have been a waste. What we did care about was the fear that our edu­cations are of no value in the real world. Sadly, Cruz did not assuage these concerns.

Yet still, we don’t believe this; we merely fear it. We know pre­cisely the dif­ference between lives lived as whole, thinking indi­viduals versus living as people C.S. Lewis would call “men without chests.” Our pro­fessors spent four years telling us that, and we heard them. We simply needed reas­suring, perhaps a little per­spective on our time spent here from one who has the expe­rience we lack. We didn’t need a dif­ferent message as we were leaving.

Hillsdale grew our minds to question indoc­tri­nation like Cruz’s polit­ically cal­culated speech, graduates and under­graduates of Hillsdale alike.

In the future, grad­uation speakers should regard their audience. Perhaps then, the speech would serve as a challenge and encour­agement to pursue the truth, rather than a rallying address for one politician.