Of Empire, Personal and Otherwise

I happened to be pointed recently to the speech that the filmmaker Ken Burns gave last May to the graduating class at Yale. I don’t remember whether it got much attention at the time. It’s worth reading now, with roughly 60 days to go before the presidential election, if for no other reason that he reminds us that history, in the person of Learned Hand, gives us an all-too-important lesson: “Liberty is never being too sure you’re right.”

That’s not the only reason to read the speech. Ken Burns’s daughter, Sarah, graduated with that class, and he was speaking directly to her as well as to all of us. One of Sarah’s classmates is the daughter of the President. Would that all of our daughters had fathers so wise.