John Roberts’ Commencement Speech

by on July 7, 2017 at 7:29 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts gave the commencement speech at his son’s 9th grade graduation. This section was striking:

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.

Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

1 joe July 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

Empathy. This is why I wish more people road bikes to work from time to time. It would give the rider more perspective next time they’re behind the wheel.

2 Alistair July 7, 2017 at 8:04 am

Mmm. You’re right. Now I realise that cyclists can be easily blindsided and startled into hilarious weaving manoeuvres.

3 William Woody July 7, 2017 at 8:34 am

And I wish more bike riders would walk on joint walk/bike paths from time to time, since in my experience cyclists have little empathy for people who are walking in their way.

It should be empathy all the way down, but sadly I find empathy seems limited to one’s own tribe.

4 Jerry Plumlee July 7, 2017 at 12:46 pm

+1…the hypocrisy of bike riders cannot be understated.

5 Daniel July 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm

I am a pedestrian in a major city.

I observe that many bikers’ behavior puts them in danger and creates conflict on the road.

It’s a problem.

I also observe that many drivers’ behavior puts others in danger and creates conflict on the road.

Both have a legal right to use the road and both regularly violate traffic laws.

(In the same way that bikers cruise through lights and stop signs drivers cruise through densly populated residently areas far above the speed limit.)

We need to utilize both these forms of transportation to keep cities functional.

I hope we can get over the self righteous finger pointing on both sides. It’s certaininly not helping…

6 TMC July 7, 2017 at 9:15 am

I wish traffic engineers were made to drive sometimes ( I see no evidence that they do). They’d learn their trade better, and have to suffer their ignorance like the rest of us.

7 Butler T. Reynolds July 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

I wish people would finally admit that the roads are meant for cars, not bicycles and bus stops.

8 Finn July 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

Excellent point. Bicycle and bus lanes should all be built so that they’re separated from car traffic.

9 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm


10 Thomas July 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm


11 Thor July 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Not true. Only most are car only.

12 Driver8 July 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

Is this a joke? In my city the bicyclists are complete buffoons who ignore all laws and rules of the road. Odds are you’re one of them who then claims to be a victim after breaking said laws continuously.

13 joe July 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm

No. I used to be annoyed by bikes but since I started riding my bike several days a week I see things from both sides now. It’s made me a better biker and more more tolerant and better driver. I think this is basically the theme of the segment of Robert’s speech.

14 Driver8 July 7, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Not sure what the “other side” of people on bikes running stop signs, running stop lights, and weaving between cas and in and out of stopped traffic etc is? Most all bikers do this and they’re breaking the law and in the wrong. I highly doubt your claim that you don’t do this.

15 Thor July 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

I used to race both road and endurance mountain. I am appalled by many urban cyclists who are essentially “Berkeley pedestrians ” (look it up, hilarious Michael Lewis piece on entitlement).

But easily the most psychotic people on the road are (in order): young men in pickups, young men in sports cars, older men in sports cars, moms in a hurry.

16 Zach July 10, 2017 at 6:15 pm

The problem with the Michael Lewis piece is that he never considers the possibility that the “Berkeley resident hit by car” is a homeless person who’s too far out of it to get out of the road or avoid traffic. Which, if you’ve ever lived or driven in Berkeley, seems overwhelmingly likely.

17 GoneWithTheWind July 7, 2017 at 11:04 am

It’s not that simple. Many bike riders intentionally break the law and challenge the driver’s right of way. Why? I don’t know but I suspect it is the same feeling you expressed; kind of a belief that they are right and everyone else is wrong. I have seen bicycles on roads where there is no room for a bicycle or a pedestrian; stupid, stupid, stupid. I have seen bicycles riding 20 mph or so in the right curbside edge of the road in traffic where cars are expected to turn right; almost as though they are daring the driver to turn. You do know the driver cannot see you coming up on the right and traveling fast compounds the problem! I have encountered bicycles riding in the center of the road so they can converse with the rider beside them and seem offended that a car is behind them. I have seen bicycles blow by stop signs and in fact I don’t think I ever saw a bicycle stop at a stop sign. IMHO bicycles don’t belong on the road. You can blame the cars all you want but every ‘contact’ between a car and a bicycle will be a test of the law of greater displacement.

18 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 11:41 am

Regardless of legitimate safety issues, in most jurisdictions bicycles have just as much of a legal right to be on the road as automobiles do. You also have a right to foster legislation to end this, just as you do to eliminate abortion, dogs riding in the passenger compartment of automobiles and noisy motorcycles. While drivers enthusiastically complain about cyclist behavior, we seldom hear about pedestrian practices that create far more traffic problems than bikes do. Pedestrians crossing intersections against the “do not walk” light prevent legal left turns that tie up traffic. Perhaps it’s legal to jaywalk in spite of traffic lights but cars can’t do it without getting a ticket and eventually the loss of license by the driver. Since pedestrians can’t have their birth certificate revoked maybe law enforcement ignores them.

State of Illinois;

(625 ILCS 5/11‑1001) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1001)
Sec. 11‑1001. Pedestrian obedience to traffic control devices and traffic regulations.
(a) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to him, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic and pedestrian control signals provided in Sections 11‑306 and 11‑307 of this Chapter, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and shall be subject to the restrictions stated in this Article.
(Source: P. A. 76‑1734.)

(625 ILCS 5/11‑1003.1) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1003.1)
Sec. 11‑1003.1. Drivers to exercise due care. Notwithstanding other provisions of this Code or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, or any person operating a bicycle or other device propelled by human power and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.
(Source: P.A. 82‑132.)

19 GoneWithTheWind July 7, 2017 at 6:32 pm

In my state bicyclists have the the same right as cars plus some. IMHO that is a mistake that continues to cost lives. IF that is the goal (equality of rights) then cyclists should pay road taxes, register and insure their vehicles and have a valid license, AND they should obey the same laws; no riding anywhere else but the travel lane (i.e. no bike lane) no passing on the right. no passing at all except in legal passing zones. working brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, etc.

20 Pensans July 8, 2017 at 6:21 am

Don’t know what country your from, but thanks to black robes tyrants like Roberts we can’t work to eliminate unborn baby murder in the US. 0th amendment to the screw democracy for feminism and homosexuality constitution says so… just like Roberts betrayed us in Pavan by voting that the constitution prevents biological based birth certificate systems.

21 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Your local law enforcers need to be issuing more tickets to bicyclists! Bikes have every right to use most roads. Stupid scoff law bicyclists and motorists should be ticketed.

22 Not Fat July 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm

The reflexive hatred that fat rednecks who never leave their metal-cage death-and-pollution machines have for cyclists is just so baffling. Yes, cyclists tend to bend the rules of the road. Big f***ing deal. We have incredible visibility, we pose minimal harm to others when we make mistakes, and, most importantly, if we get hit by cars we die. The stakes are 1 million times as great for us. This means that it actually makes *perfect fucking sense* for it to be socially tolerated for cyclists to roll through red lights/stop signs when it’s safe and no traffic is coming. It is the most sensible thing in the world, which is why this behavior has emerged organically, and why the vast majority of people who don’t have mood disorders (and brood with resentments for non-fat people all day) don’t mind it at all.

In fact, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the equilibrium behavior of cyclists and roadies that has emerged is really quite rational and optimal. Cyclists tend not to have “take the road” even when they have the right to do so, and to let cars by, because doing so imposes time costs on drivers. And they tend to get early starts on green lights, etc., so that they are out of the way of cars by the time they get going.

The idea that cyclist “blow through” red lights and stop signs “without looking,” is obviously, transparently, false for the simple reason that if it were true, such a person would by the end of the day no longer be a cyclist and would instead be a corpse. Shouldn’t people on this site be able to do that basic equilibrium reasoning?

Try moving on your own power for once, and see what the world looks like outside of your temperature-controlled metal cages, for once, all ye fat illiterates.

23 Thomas July 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

“I take a risk that I refuse to take responsibility for, and anyone that doesn’t go out of their way to accomodate my irresponsibility is fat, uneducated, and illiterate.”

Wow, are you a Democrat by chance?

24 Thor July 7, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Hey you can be right of centre and value bike riding too. Many cyclists are d*cks, especially couriers; but the psychos who in my experience are the most angry and aggressive are drivers of pickups.

25 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm

Black crew cab diesel 4 x 4s with tinted windows.

26 Not Fat July 10, 2017 at 1:45 am

What? Where did you get the “I take a risk that I refuse to take responsibility for, , and anyone that doesn’t go out of their way to accomodate my irresponsibility…” from? That has absolutely nothing to do with my post.

But yeah, I am making the assumption that you are probably fat and uneducated. Show me a picture of you to prove otherwise?

27 Not Fat July 10, 2017 at 2:23 am

Seriously, Thomas, you are just so repulsive and dumb. I have said the exact opposite of the “I refuse to take responsibility for x.” When I roll through red lights/stop signs, very carefully, after looking both ways I absolutely take responsibility for my actions, and am held legally liable because the car obviously has right of way, and I am technically breaking the law. This means that if I were to get hit in this case, not only would I die, but I would be absolutely unquestionably established to be at fault, and the most the driver would suffer would be some blood stains on the exterior of the car.

But you know what else? This would never, ever happen, because on my bike I have insanely good visibility compared to cars, and I only roll through stop signs/red lights if there’s no chance of a car coming for another thirty seconds. In my city, thousands of cyclists roll through tens of thousands of red lights and stop signs every single day. Do you know how many of our cycling fatalities have been caused by such behavior? Zero.

28 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

A commencement ceremony for 9th graders? Did they wear caps and gowns? They probably did get achievement certificates that they can pin to the wall of their cubicle ten years from now.

29 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 7:52 am

In this day and age they all would get “I’m in 10th grade” T-shirts.

30 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 8:28 am

It’s a boys boarding school with four grades, with the 9th grade being the senior.

31 Tom T. July 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I just had to go to my son’s graduation ceremony from preschool. Thankfully there was no valedictorian speech.

32 Dick the Butcher July 7, 2017 at 8:00 am

See Kipling’s poem, “If.”

33 leppa July 7, 2017 at 8:42 am


34 Bill July 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

I don’t think so, but it merits an investigation by the Commission on Judicial ethics let by Judge Judy.

Here is the link to the poem for all those English and history majors:

I think Robert’s paragraph merits thought, deserves praise rather than ridicule, and hopefully reflects the true person.

35 KM July 7, 2017 at 8:04 am

That Robert’s section was indeed “striking” and disturbing.

An eccentric person like Roberts should be nowhere near the levers of government power, especially the extremely powerful position of Chief Justice. (his imposition of ObamaCare on America is an abomination, both Constitutionally and ethically).

That he so stresses “the importance of loyalty” is particularly disturbing for a high government official– that “loyalty” emphasis is very often a sign of authoritarian personalities.

His comments were quite inappropriate for 9th-graders… indicating some disconnect with reality.

36 Alistair July 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

Loyalty is the ability to bear costs for an ally if the face of short-term incentives to defect.

It is a vital part of forming effective social coalitions. It evolved for a reason. Dismiss it at your peril.

37 KM July 7, 2017 at 8:38 am

“It is a vital part of forming effective social coalitions.”

… odd then that the loyalty term is absent from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence

wonder what Robert’s honest view is of his solemn oath of office to his current SCOTUS gig?

38 Alistair July 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

An interesting and provocative speech, and you’re just going to find shadowy faults in character, aren’t you? “Loyalty” is obviously a dogwhistle for “secret fascist”. As if your own tribe doesn’t talk about, and require, loyalty too. Sad.

39 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 9:46 am

He’s not really talking about flag worship loyalty, he’s talking about supporting and helping one’s friends loyalty.

40 notshirley July 7, 2017 at 5:25 pm

well, Roberts seems to be addressing the larger societal issues of justice & fair treatment — and directly contrasting loyalty with betrayals. injustice & betrayal are more likely from strangers & institutions than close personal friends

he’s pretty vague — even we adults are having some problem discerning his meaning, so 9th graders were likely a bit confused

All sounds kinda like mushy platitudes & GoldenRule variations, with some stoicism sprinkles

Graduation speeches are always a waste of time, just ritual

(as John Wayne advised: “Life is Tough, Tougher if You’re Stupid”)

41 bellisaurius July 7, 2017 at 8:23 am

They were hard words certainly, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid them. Plus, what he’s giving them is what 9th graders need: The ability to benefit from learning moments. Next time someone does something that hurts them -and someone eventually will- they have a little toolbox to go “I need to watch out who I tell things to”, Or “y’know, as boring as john’s stories are, he’s around to keep me company and listen to my stories too”, or even “That homeless guy on the street seemed like a good person. Something bad happened for him to end up here. Maybe I should cut him a break”

42 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 8:24 am

An eccentric person like Roberts

Catholic with adopted children. Can’t have that.

43 Alistair July 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

Indeed. “eccentric” = “not sharing my political beliefs”.

Have you noticed that the most outspoken advocates of diversity are the ones insisting on maximum ideological, political, and moral conformity ?

44 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

that “loyalty” emphasis is very often a sign of authoritarian personalities.

I see you take Robert Altemeyer seriously. Keep away from normies, please.

45 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

I think loyalty is actually a pretty good one for 9th graders, since they’re at that age when kids get really cliquish. Be nice to your friends and don’t dump them just so the popular kids will like you more is a decent enough lesson for a 9th grader.

46 Driver8 July 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

Roberts is clearly an off the charts brilliant jurist who goes out of his way to rule based on law and facts without regard to whether his decision fits a political ideology. The fact you cite the ethics of his imposition is truly bizarre and probably the sign of an extreme IYI. You bring up authoritarianism when he so clearly does the opposite of legislating from the bench at every turn unlike his liberal colleagues, this is just such terrible reasoning. Perhaps Taleb can study your thinking for his next book on IYI’s, we really need to learn more about people who can function with this extreme level of cognitive dissonance.

47 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 8:22 am

Not a bad advisory.

We had an acquaintance who sent his daughter to a boarding school. The comment of one of the women in their social circle was “He either has a lotta money or he has NO money”. Either seems odd for a federal employee. I think he was a BigLaw lawyer at one time. Perhaps he made quite a killing at it.

The other oddity is that Mr. Justice Roberts and his wife live in a handsome suburban tract with more than adequate schools, and it’s not as if private secondary schools are thin on the ground in metropolitan Washington. And, yet, at some point between the ages of 11 and 14 his father thought it apposite to send him to a boarding school and his mother acceded to that. I’ve seen that once in the last 30 years; the youth in question the scion of a congenial and very well-to-do family who had been ostracized by his peers for whatever reason peers do that. Either that or some family psychodrama is at work.

If you’re given to puerile curiosity, you have to wonder if Roberts, Jr. has already seen in his 15 years more than his share of what his father’s describing.

48 bellisaurius July 7, 2017 at 8:29 am

The justice went to a boarding school. He must have considered the experience to be a good one.

49 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 9:56 am

Agree. There are all sorts of reasons why someone might think the boarding school experience is a positive one. In feudal societies it was common for nobles to send their children to be fostered in other people’s households, perhaps so they would not grow up in an atmosphere of privilege, or so they would interact with people not in their families immediate social circle.
It’s also possible that he thinks a boarding school is a more immersive learning environment with professionals around to organize activities on evenings and weekends that he doesn’t have the time or expertise for.

50 bellisaurius July 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Sounds about right, also, similar to why mine go to a catholic school even though the nearby public school has better grades/test etc: I want them to have a sense of duty and at least be able to pay lip service to virtue. I think it’s a better environment for that sort of thinking (having been to both myself)

51 Mr. Econotarian July 7, 2017 at 10:57 am

Justin Roberts is too “complacent” about the educational arms race, apparently!

52 Matt July 7, 2017 at 8:30 am

I guess this isn’t bad, as far as it goes, but thankfully it’s possible for most people to learn empathy without having actually, their very own selves, on the receiving end of bad treatment. For most people, even kids, reading books, watching good movies, or just thinking is enough, and thank goodness.

What I really want to know, though, is when did “graduations” from all different levels of school (sometimes even each grade) become common? It certainly didn’t happen when I was a kid, but is very common now. I’d be curious to know when it became the new normal. I don’t myself like it, but don’t want to assume that this means, on its own, that its bad. I’m not yet sure I see the good, though.

53 libert July 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

This particular school ends at grade 9. Read the article.

54 Matt July 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

My Jr. High ended at 9th grade, too, and so do many others. They didn’t have “graduations” then, but do now. Lots of Grade schools that end at 5th or 6th grade now have graduations, too. They didn’t in the past, the fairly recent past. I’m interested in when and why this changed. Did this particular school have “graduations” 10 or 15 years ago? I’d be surprised if it did, but can’t tell here.

55 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

They’re leaving the campus. They’re going somewhere else at some distance, not transferring from the middle school at point A to the high school 3 blocks around the corner. It’s not surprising there is some sort of ceremonial punctuation mark, and I’ll wager there always has been.

When I was that age, the high schools in town were mostly junior-senior, so there was no such transition. However, there were a selection which were senior high schools which had a feeder junior high school. I know of one (not one I attended) that did have such ceremonies. That was 40 years ago.

56 y81 July 7, 2017 at 9:31 pm

It varies. I attended the oldest private secondary school in America (Collegiate, in NYC), and we had a commencement ceremony when I finished lower school (fourth grade) fifty years ago. Not saying the lower school commencement is quite as old as the school.

57 Driver8 July 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

Except it absolutely is not possible for most people, not by a long shot. The level of narcissism in our society is only increasing with an extreme acceleration. Look at the level of self involvement on social media and the feedback loop it creates for its avg user.

58 Tanturn July 7, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Those administrative employees, th main reason education costs so much more now, occasionally get bored doing nothing.

59 rayward July 7, 2017 at 8:53 am

I interpret Justice Roberts’ comments as encouraging self-reliance, that having experienced the difficulties he describes, the students will be better able to deal with them on their own. Too often today helicopter parents never allow their children to face difficulties, much less learn to deal with them on their own. And the flip side of having faced difficulties is empathy for others who face those same difficulties. Again, too often today helicopter parents, by protecting their children from difficulties, are developing adults with little or no empathy for others. As for the age, ninth graders are old enough and mature enough to understand and appreciate the lesson Justice Roberts is teaching them.

60 Brickbats and Adiabats July 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

Very much agree. It’s as much a message to the parents as it is to the kids. And frankly, I wish my own parents had heeded it.

61 Gavin July 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm

“Ordinary Misery” is a good thing for life.. I’m kind of shocked that people are shocked at this.

He’s not saying deliberately traumatize — that’s a different order of magnitude. Simply put: Life is hard. Parents cannot remove the fact that life is hard by shielding their kid from it.

His tone was measured and appropriate.

62 Pensans July 7, 2017 at 9:01 am

I hope he is betrayed as he has betrayed his conservative supporters. I hope someone represents themselves as willing to support a fundamental agreement like our constitution and them betrays him for social approval as he did in Pavan. Then maybe he would understand what he is doing,

63 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

He is loyal to 325 million Americans and their constitutional rights. Lifetime terms are to free one from the tyranny of one’s “supporters.”

64 Thomas July 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm

“ACA penalty is a tax” is an individual constitutional right if you are a partisan leftist who just wants to express tribalism.

65 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 6:41 pm

The constitution does indeed allow the government to levy taxes. Calling Justice Roberts “a partisan leftist who just wants to express tribalism” is a stretch.

66 Jer July 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

Don’t believe this at all. Macho nonsense.
This is similar to the risk aversion test of tossing your child off a dock to teach them to swim.
Out of 10 times:
2 kids will achieve unexpected success and have their esteem raised and go on to do great things.
3 kids will sink and be somewhat scarred and develop a mild aversion and mistrust.
5 kids will have varying degrees of flopping around and will end up just recounting this as ‘just one of those crazy things my parent did’ to the amusement of others.
End result: society is worse off for its creation of the additional ‘weakened’ individuals – though the additional productivity of the 2 winners may outweigh the 3 losers.

The smart and sophisticated response is to simply be in tune with your child’s/ mate’s aspirations, goals, and efforts and provide ‘investment’ when there is great potential/return and provide thoughtful consolation when there is failure. Otherwise you create a jungle-survivor mentality that is more likely going to manifest itself as passive-aggressive under-achiever rather than strong-willed leader. The bottom line is that the child-tosser is the cheap, unimaginative, lazy, and high-risk approach and the child-invester is the high-effort, but stronger foundation that spreads beyond the success of a single individual.

67 Andrew Flicker July 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

Nice statistics you plucked from thin air there, Jer. As my own (at least honest) anecodotal counterpoint, my dad tossed me in, I failed to swim, he plucked me out with chagrin and said “Damn, that worked when my dad did it to me”- and I still have great self-esteem (and eventually learned to swim quite well).

68 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 10:29 am

Most peope don’t like sinking. I almost drowned once. My father actually pulled before I died, he saved my life.

69 a counterclockwise witness July 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Was this is mareseais?

70 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

No, Vitória, the Pearl of the Atlantic.

71 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

Don’t believe this at all. Macho nonsense.

The term ‘macho’ does not mean what you think it means.

72 TMC July 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Nor ‘smart and sophisticated’

73 Tanturn July 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm

If the kid got traumatized by it, he’s probrably an inherent snowflake who’d have been traumatized by something else. I’m glad my father had a “macho” parenting style, must be part of that 2 in 10.

74 Brian Donohue July 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

Good stuff.

75 Earnest Hemingway July 7, 2017 at 9:46 am

conservatism is cruelty

76 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Roberts said: People are often cruel, I hope you learn to not be so cruel.

77 Rich Berger July 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

I was going to anticipate the wails and moans on the Time site, but little did I realize that they would be right here at good ol MR!

78 Fine James July 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

White priviledge

79 TMC July 7, 2017 at 3:23 pm

That is a problem with the US today. Learning from hardship or your own mistakes is considered white privilege.

80 Tyler Fan July 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

I don’t get the notion of sending a sixth grader to a boarding school in this day and age, or I should say a boarding school that I’ve never heard of. Roberts speaks as if sending your sixth grader to boarding school is a sacrifice these parents made to insure their kids get an unparalleled education. To me, sending your kid to this so-called Cardigan Mountain School makes sense only if you’re too busy judging to parent.

81 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 11:10 am

To me, sending your kid to this so-called Cardigan Mountain School makes sense only if you’re too busy judging to parent.

Of the two cases I’ve seen up close in recent years, one was a puzzle, but the reason wasn’t that. By all accounts, the man doted on his daughter and he did not have a terribly time-consuming job. In the other case, the mother tells me the local school would be fine for her son “if he had friends. He doesn’t…” and mentioned some curios in the school’s curriculum which also interested her son.

82 Bob from Ohio July 7, 2017 at 11:13 am

“I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.”

Roberts is an expert on betrayal. Not so much on loyalty.

83 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

Who has he betrayed? You worked for his law firm? You know his mistress? You know a clerk he booted for some ignoble reason?

84 Pensans July 7, 2017 at 12:54 pm

He just voted to grant summary reversal to an Arkansas Supreme Court decision limiting Obergefell tyrannical imposition of same-sex marriage on the U.S.

He betrayed everyone who voted Republican so that we wouldn’t have leftist social activism read into the Constitution. He knows it and we all knows it. He’s a traitor.

85 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Exactly. We all have to get same-sex married now. People should be allowed to choose which sex they want to marry.

86 Pensans July 7, 2017 at 11:27 pm

That’s a great left wing perspective, marriage is about individual choice. But Roberts was not appointed to impose your leftism on America. He presented himself as a conservative; he lied and betrayed.

87 msgkings July 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Marriage isn’t about individual choice?

88 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 3:02 pm

He dissented in the Obergefell decision.

89 Pensans July 7, 2017 at 11:24 pm

He didn’t in Pavan extending Obergefell.

90 Pshrnk July 7, 2017 at 2:27 pm

He is loyal to 325 million Americans and their constitutional rights. Lifetime terms are to free one from the tyranny of one’s “supporters.”

91 Pensans July 7, 2017 at 11:25 pm

I didn’t say he acted illegally. I said he was a traitor to those who gave him power.

92 Yancey Ward July 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

Hopefully they read some of the ridiculous comments above and learn from them. Or not.

93 Ben July 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

Straight Nietzsche.

Millenials secretly burst into tears and respond by angrily downvoting his stuff on Reddit, and CNN starts running character assassination while claiming it has legit integrity as a news source.

94 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Roberts is a redittor?! Didn’t William Douglas have problems for writing for Evergreen magazine?

95 Frederic Bush July 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

You can tell he is religious. This is “problem of evil” 101 — it is good to have bad things happen to you!

96 Brian Donohue July 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Not how I read it. More like “Bad things WILL happen to you. How you respond is crucial, and may even lead to personal growth.”

97 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 4:20 pm


98 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 4:34 pm

I am pretty sure he said he hopes bad things happen.

99 Brian Donohue July 7, 2017 at 5:07 pm

Fair point. I think he’s saying that it is hard to impossible for a silver-spooned trust fund kid who goes through life facing no adversity to develop a worthy character. Sounds right to me. A dollop of adversity for all!

100 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm

I am not sure hoping someone will be betrayed (to learn loyalty, you know) has much to do with being a silver-spooned trust fund kid. Seriously, he could just have gone with the “it is impossible to avoid those things anyway and I hope you learn from them” (you know, the whole “you were strangers in Egypt, so don’t opress the foreigner” Old Testament thinking) part, but then he would not sound so counterintuitive and wise for knowing exactly what to wish the kids (as opposed to us softies, who wish them good luck and tell them to dress a coat outside).

101 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 6:44 pm

He probably means a small betrayal, like your friend dates your ex-girlfriend without telling you. Not your best friend starts sleeping with your mom, or something.

102 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Maybe, he did not clarify what he had in mind. I feel unconfortable with someone jinxing openly someone else’s life. In Brazil, it is serious business.

103 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I don’t think he even means REALLY bad things. Being treated unfairly probably means your mom punishes the wrong kid for a fight, not you don’t get admitted to college because someone decided that they didn’t like your last name.

104 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

“Being treated unfairly probably means your mom punishes the wrong kid for a fight, not you don’t get admitted to college because someone decided that they didn’t like your last name.”
Are you sure? It is probably even better for buiding character.

105 ttt July 7, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Oh the places you’ll go

106 nigel July 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Big ups to the Chief for quoting Forever Young in its entirety at the end of the speech. I’ll have to check his opinions for Dylan quotes now.

107 Andao July 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Most of his speech is excellent, the bit about loyalty is very weird though. I don’t want a Supreme Court Justice loyal to any one politician or party.

108 sanjiv July 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Surely no commencement address can beat this. Okay, this was not for 9th graders, but had to link to this:

109 b9n10nt July 7, 2017 at 7:44 pm

“I hope you are treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice”

I think the reverse is more likely true: “I hope you are treated fairly, so that you value justice”. Life events that are stressers do indeed test our character, but they are not likely to form our character, except in a malign way. Events that lower our social status and/or make goods relatively harder to obtain are linked with higher stress, greater impulsivity, less behavior that is tied to reflection and contemplation. It is easier to be good when we are well.

I also think this (Nietzchean) “trial” vs. “nurture” debate over moral education is a pretty good proxy for liberal vs. conservative, and that the “trial”/conservative view confuses descriptive and prescriptive teaching: When you have mastered your own demons, you will see betrayal as an opportunity to contemplate and understand the value of loyalty. That is a description of self-realization. The prescription for self-mastery, however, is NOT to go out and be gullible and heedless of disloyalty. In order to master your own demons, you need support and guidance in an environment that is as free of trauma and stressors as possible. Parents and educators have generally understood this tacitly. Today this knowledge is explicit and formalized in the psychological theory of ego-depletion. We do good when we are well.

The implications are, again, clear in the realm of political rhetoric. A key factor in promoting low-status citizens to become “self-reliant” and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, for instance, is for others to ameliorate the stressors prevalent in low-status communities. That is: “middle class/ family” values are best socially, impersonally promoted by social policies that target absolute poverty and inequality. (These values are best promoted interpersonally by guidance, support, and discipline from an emotionally-bonded adult and peers).

110 Thanatos Savehn July 7, 2017 at 11:06 pm

No wonder he weenie-ed out. One need not be a victim of injustice to perceive it; yet so he thinks. You cannot see blue unless you are blue … etc., or so he says. And thus are the “victims” affirmed. I wish law schools still taught ethos and logos along with pathos, but I guess (in this age of the world) that it’s too late for character and critical thinking to have their say. Yet the promise of mankind springs eternal – however absurd the visage with which Roberts bedecks himself.

111 li/arlington July 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Roberts is, simply put, not very bright. Props to him for trying, though. The gall of the rich little man who believes he has the key to wisdom and knows who has suffered injustice and who has not! Remember, doing well in law school has nothing to do with having a mind or a heart aligned to the truth, it has to do with salesmanship – what do people want to hear when they might plausibly be in the mood to change their mind? Lawyers can be good thinkers, despite their second-rate intellectual culture, but their reward system is closer to Las Vegas at its worst than Athens at its best.

112 Shaun Marsh July 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

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