Apple CEO Tim Cook used his commencement address at Duke University Sunday to grandstand for an array of liberal causes, including climate change, gun control, immigration, and the #MeToo movement.
Immediately after discussing the challenges of being in a “deeply divided” world, one with “too many Americans [who] refuse to hear any opinion that differs from their own,” Cook said that the Earth is “warming with devastating consequences, and there are some that even deny it’s even happening.”
While discussing the history of Apple, Cook repeated his belief in global warming. Cook said he and those at Apple “reject the notion that global warming is inevitable,” which is why the company runs entirely on renewable energy.
Cook told the graduates to challenge the status quo and to be “fearless.” His examples of fearlessness meant acting like the students after the Parkland, Fla. shooting and the women who have accused men of sexual harassment in the wake of “#MeToo”:
Fearlessness means taking the first step, even if you don’t know where it will take you. It means being driven by a higher purpose, rather than by applause. It means knowing that you reveal your character when you stand apart more than when you stand with the crowd. If you step up, without fear of failure, if you talk and listen to each other without fear of rejection, if you act with decency and kindness — even when no one is looking, even if it seems small of inconsequential — trust me, the rest will fall into place.
More importantly, you’ll be able to tackle the big things when they come your way. It’s in those truly trying moments that the fearless inspire us.
Fearless, like the students of Parkland, Florida, who refuse to be silent about the epidemic of gun violence and have rallied millions to their cause. Fearless, like the women who say ‘me too’ and ‘time’s up,’ women who cast light into dark places and move us toward a more just and equal future. Fearless, like those who fight for the rights of immigrants, who understand that our only hopeful future is one that embraces all who want to contribute.
Although the theme of Cook’s speech was to convince students to challenge the conventional wisdom around them, his choice of venue to talk about his liberal ideas — a college campus — was ironic given how most colleges are filled with liberal professors.