This was the sentiment spoken by Naomi Wolf to the Scripps College graduating class of 2000.

But wait, you say. Isn't this completely backwards? Aren't colleges filled with liberal students who are going to go out into the real world and get slapped in the face with jobs and responsibilities and finally realize how foolish they have been?

That is not the way it works. See, when you graduate, she told them, you are going to go out in to the real world, and then you are going to see all the injustice that exists in the world. You are going to feel the glass ceiling for yourself. You won't be isolated from people with no food to eat or house to sleep in. And any racial injustice which you thought you felt at college will seem ridiculously minor compared to what you will see in the rest of the world.

You are going to leave college, and then your eyes will really be opened to the shocking injustices of the world. And you will unable to be indifferent to them, and you will come to understand why we all need to struggle and make sacrifices to improve the world we live in.

And that is why you are never as conservative as when you graduate from college.

Postscript: I was recently talking to the good friend of mine who graduated at the ceremony and she was telling me how true she had found this prophecy to be. She took a job as an investment banker in San Francisco, and she told me that despite the place she worked, the simple act of walking to work and meeting the homeless was already making her feel more liberal.

Note: I unfortunately, was not able to hear this speech. You see, all of the Claremont Colleges graduate on the same day, and I was too busy graduating from Pomona College to attend. If you were there and want to correct me, please send a /msg. I just wanted to pass it along, because it gives me hope.

Respectfully to Whipster, I think the argument you make is not converse to Dan's point. While we in American often equate liberal/conservative with political affiliation, this need not be the case. Taking Webster's definition of conservative as "One who desires to maintain existing institutions and customs," take a look at what we call college: a liberal education, meaning, "education that enlarges and disciplines the mind and makes it master of its own powers."

I think the difference is this: in college people read about all the injustices in the world and have a passive interest in curing them all. Keyword passive. In college you learn about the past customs and behaviors. You pine for long-lost golden eras. You dream of new utopias. But you are doing it from within a traditional institution disconnected from real life. Once students reach the real world, they find out what really affects them and actively work to change (or at least complain about) those specific things. Change is what liberal be liberal is simply to want change. To really, truly, want it and work for it. Maybe that is what the speaker meant. I wasn't there, but I prefer to think of it that way.

When Ted Kopell come to speak at my school, he talked about students going out and taking on the problems of the world. I hope he wasn't being "political" or anything. *ducks*

Or not. The converse case is just as valid... Perhaps, upon graduation, the student who pursued liberal ideals in college may enter the real world to be shocked and outraged by exhorbitant taxation, rampant crime, and the injustice of so-called "equal opportunity".

I've personally seen many a rabid liberal friend undergo a rapid metamorphosis upon starting a family of their own. Suddenly, the loose morality of their liberal youth becomes an anathema to the manner in which they wish to raise their children.

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