As Kevin Symcox’s comrade in Directed Studies, the History Department and, soon, the infamous lower Manhattan, I can relate to the sentiments he expressed in his column (“The View from the 40th Floor,” Feb. 3).However, I find his argument unconvincing.

Our failure to be wild should not be attributed to a lack of inherited wealth as Symcox says, but instead seems to stem from a lack of imagination or courage to pursue the things we think up. Most of us seem to have lost the gut to pursue other paths except the one of “world leader.” Most of us simply cannot imagine being a taxi driver or a flower lady — Yale never taught us that, and we’ve become used to viewing the world by reading The New York Times (or not).

We just want to play it safe.

But allow me to defend the “cowards” that will be walking out of Phelps Gate on their way to the corporate world because, really, there’s nothing terribly shameful about playing it safe. Not every Yale student can, or has to, colonize Mars or save humanity. Most of us are no heroes. And many of us will join corporate America.

And make no mistake: Behind the inspiring slogans of liberty and opportunities, corporate America, with the economic power it creates, is what makes America’s promises credible. While Obama offered hope for all in 2008, the country still needed the professionals to get us out of the recession; while members of the Peace Corps go out to Uganda, we, the ordinary workers of capital markets, grease the cogs of capitalism that help fund them.

After four years, I have come to understand that someone has to be Jack Bauer and do the dirty work to protect innocent people. Someone has to be the Dark Knight, hunted and condemned, for the good of Gotham. Someone has to live humbly, rather than to die nobly, for the cause of America.

And the ability to take that burden without spitting a word of regret, I am convinced, is the true mark of maturity.

Robert Li

Feb. 4

The writer is a senior in Ezra Stiles College and a former staff columnist for the News.