Situated as I am on the European side of the Pond, my information concerning the goings-on in the USA is rather hit-and-miss. I have long since ceased to trust anything at all about anywhere in the world that appears in the mainstream media, so I have sought out my own trusted sources which tend to focus on their own speciality subjects. Anything outside those subjects is therefore rather hazy. I had been only faintly aware of the existence of Clarence Thomas till one particular story brought him sharply into my focus.
I think it was in early 2015 when I saw a story about the building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (it opened in September 2016). What caught my eye was – at that time at least, I don’t know about now – in the long list of great African Americans who would be celebrated therein was no mention of Clarence Thomas. This astonishing omission of a hugely distinguished black Supreme Court Justice made no sense till you reflected further.
He is a conservative, and extreme leftism is the Sola Fide of this time.
Now that I had him in focus I watched aghast as Created Equal, a biographical documentary about him in his own words was ‘cancelled’ by Amazon earlier this year. [Amazon does not yet have a monopoly on the internet.] Amazon continues to stock his book My Grandfather’s Son.
It is high time I explored one of his speeches, and of course I find it at Hillsdale College where he addressed a Commencement ceremony in May 2016.
Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, introduces him. We have very recently seen him introducing others and, as before, I commend every word of the introduction wholeheartedly. You may rest assured that I plan to have a whole speech by him very soon. Justice Thomas begins speaking at 6:20.
I approached this speech, acutely aware of a danger. It is the same danger I faced in my years on the radio when interviewing people I admired. Fawning idolatry is tedious to the reader or listener. I was determined to try to avoid it. I should like to register my thanks to Thomas for providing something for me to criticise. He reads his speech.
You may think that an impudent or impertinent observation. Impudent I may allow, but impertinent it is not. It is a wonderful speech, as I expected, but would have been even better had he shot it from the hip.
It is very easy to understand why he wrote and then read it. In his line of business he has regularly to deliver considered judgements whose every syllable will be pored over by scholars through indefinite posterity. Obviously they have to be written and read. That has to be his modus operandi.
My modus operandi (spot the anadiplosis) on this blog is not so much to pick over each interesting detail as was my won’t in the early days, but to let the readers spot them for themselves. I deal in broader brushstrokes, sometimes highlighting a golden moment. Here is a platinum moment. It comes at 29:36.
Liberty is an antecedent of government, not a benefit from government
It’s a wonderful speech, and I actually do not for once care that he reads it. I’m fawning: I’ll stop.
P.S. (Added a few hours later) Lest it not be clear what I meant when I stated that Amazon has yet no monopoly on the internet, the hyperlink attached to that statement will take you to that documentary elsewhere. And I suggest that if you do so you will not regret it.