I watched it. Implicit in the Justice's address is the idea that America today is not as good as America of another generation. Interestingly, unlike most, he does not look wistfully back to what his generation accomplished. In fact, he barely mentions his cohort. Rather, he looks back to a generation or two before his. His idealized version of America is the America of the deep rural South of the 1950's and 1960's. He marvels at the willingness of the black Americans to go to war for a country that discriminated against them and who believed that they would get freedom and liberty by simply hanging in there. He is willing to tolerate slow change and that is certainly consistent with his judicial philosophy. In his closing remarks, he talks mostly about being a good citizen at the local and even neighborhood level. I am with him completely which is why I have coached 50 teams over the years and serve on a couple of boards in my town (and why I marvel at my wife who has done so much more.) I would only suggest that simply believing that hard work and discipline makes one a good citizen is short sighted. Sometimes, those who would complain more loudly, march more aggressively, sue more litigiouslly, and demand more vehemently can love America and its freedoms, too. The justice is among those who believe that when Congress or the executive branch acts, a little bit of freedom is always lost. He is entitled to that opinion but I would only say that it has been government and only government that has ever promoted the rights of groups denied the full measure of the American dream on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, and odd ideas. Whether the Justice likes it or not, a little revolution is OK once in a while.
Oh, and before this thread runs off on the issue of "safe spaces" etc., let me state my position: I believe that the antidote to offensive speech is more speech not less. I believe that invited speakers should get to deliver a speech without interruption although I would encourage protests outside the room and before and after inside the room. I believe that students have the right to say just about anything they want in class so long as it is germane to the discussion. I believe that college campuses are supposed to be places of free debate twenty four hours per day and that anyone who engages in debate has no right to demand that another limit his or her positions. I believe that students have a right to be left alone and that if, outside of class, they do not want to be involved in a discussion, they ought to be left alone.
Oh, and I believe that good manners matter and only jerks try to offend others for laughs.
His idealized version of America is the America of the deep rural South of the 1950's and 1960's.
I missed where he said this.
He described his childhood in near idyllic terms. Near the end he talked about the people at church who helped him and strangers who stopped to help them get the crop in when bad weather was approaching. He did not acknowledge that there are good people helping others in the shadow of the Supreme Court where he goes to work each day.
He seems to argue that being a good neighbor is enough---that organized programs to help others are somehow unimportant. I think that being a good neighbor is extremely important but I think non profits and the government can raise people up, too.
alum- Thank you for elucidation of your view of Government. I see your many other posts as founded on that view. The only issue I have with your view is that while Government can and has accomplished good for the People, it has also done great wrong. What conservatives like me believe is that the greater danger comes not from abuses by the People but abuses by the Government. If you believe that the more centralized Government is the more power is concentrated and concentration of power leads--inevitably--to the abuse of power, then you will be vigilant against the concentration of Government power. Perhaps in some distant future when Mankind is more perfected, power will be less likely to be abused. But that is a long way off. Human nature evolves extremely slowly.