How to Have an Idiot-free Future

photo of diploma on top of speech desk

Happy Belated Canada Day and Fourth of July! Despite all of the grumblings and mumblings, we North Americans are indeed fortunate to live where we do. I like to say we won the geographical lottery. (If you don’t count winter!)

Plenty of incredibly accomplished and talented people have given commencement addresses at some of the continent’s most prestigious centers of learning. So, you wouldn’t think a Governor would be all that exciting. In fact, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker opened his address at Northwestern University by saying that even HE would have preferred to see Beyoncé make the speech.

But then he went on to give one of the most wonderful commencement addresses I’ve ever seen. He quoted The Office and talked about how to develop an “idiot detection system”. It wasn’t about politics and it wasn’t partisan. It was about life. Making choices. Deciding who you want to be.

One part of the speech was so moving, I transcribed it and turned it into a meme for social media. I’ve embedded part of the speech on video below, too. This guy gets it. I hope the students got it, too.

8 thoughts on “How to Have an Idiot-free Future”

  1. Wow, Pritzker laid down some powerful words. I

    I would add: Idiots also have a lack of imagination, which stems from a dearth of empathy — the ability to put yourself in another person’s place in your mind.

    I believe developing empathy is the key to our society progressing.

  2. Claire Cascone

    Now THAT’S a commencement speech. I had goosebumps while listening to him.  He certainly gave the kids something to think about, and I hope they were just as moved by his words which could very well make the entire difference for them in their future. 

  3. My daughter and I have often discussed a similar concept to an idiot detection system. Kindness is a great one. The ones we came up with:

    1. People that believe the universe actually cares about what happens to them personally. This narcissistic point of view is useful in filtering out a lot of people who scam others via astrology, religion, cults, etc.

    2. People that tell other people how to eat and behave, while making huge profits. Examples include Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop, and most social media infuencers.

    3. People that promote products and behaviors that harm other people while promoting their own freedom or liberty. Examples include promoters of tobacco, vaping, drug use, guns, etc.

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