The present graduation season has afforded me the opportunity to hear speeches at more than one university. Graduation speeches are a good indicator of the zeitgeist, the reigning mood and assumptions in American society, or at least among the American elite or those who aspire to join it.
Two themes emerge from my recent case studies in the mindset informing higher education. First, there is an eagerness to deplore contention and polarization. This is certainly admirable, although finding a way to deplore contention without contending, and to decry polarization without polarizing is not such an easy trick.