History Podcasts

Yale I Str - History

Yale I Str - History

Yale I

(Str: dp. 10,669 (gross), 1. 627'6", b. 63'2", dr. 23'
(mean); s. 21.8 k.; cpl. 436; a. 4 6-pdrs., 4 3-pdrs.)

SS Parie—a steamship built in 1888 and 1889 by J. & G. Thompson at Glasgow, Scotland—was acquired by the Navy on 27 April 1898 under charter from the International Navigation Co., renamed Yale, and commissioned on 2 May 1898, Capt. W. C. Wise in command.

That same day, she put to sea from New York bound for Puerto Rico to patrol and help locate Admiral Cervera's Spanish fleet. On 8 May, two days after her arrival off Puerto Rico, Yale encountered and captured the Spanish cargo ship Rita, installed a prize crew in her, and sent her into Charleston, S.C.

The following day, she had another brief encounter with the enemy off San Juan when a Spanish armed transport came out and fired a few shots. Yale, possessing armament greatly inferior to the enemy ship, was forced to retire from the scene. She returned to San Juan the following day, and a shore battery fired two poorly aimed shots at her, both of which fell far short.

Pursuant to her orders, Yale patrolled off Puerto Rico until 13 May at which time #he cleared the area for St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies (Virgin Islands ) to telegraph her report to Washington. She returned briefly to Puerto Rico on 16 and 17 May, then headed for Cape Haitien, Haiti, in company with St. Paul. She remained at Cape Haitien until 21 May, then headed for waters off Santiago de Cuba where the Spanish fleet had been discovered. Yale remained there while the United States fleet assembled off Santiago to blockade Cervera's ships in that port. On the 28th, she quit the area, stopped briefly at Port Antonio, Jamaica; and then set a course for Newport News, VA. The ship spent 20 days at Newport News, heading back to Cuba on 23 June. She arrived off Santiago on 27 June but remained there only two days. On the 29th, she got underway for Key West, Fla., stopping there overnight on 3 and 4 July before continuing on to Charleston. Yale returned to Santiago on 11 July and remained in Cuban waters until the 17th. After a stop at Guanica, Puerto Rico, she set a course for New York on 26 July. She spent most of the first two weeks of August in New York and returned to Cuba on the 15th. Remaining only briefly, she embarked troops for the return voyage to New York.

Yale arrived back in New York on 23 August and remained there until decommissioned on 2 September 1898. Though returned to her owners after decommissioning, Yale was not struck from the Navy list until 3 July 1899. She returned to merchant service—first under the name SS City of Paris and later as SS Philadelphia—and operated out of New York until the mid 1920's, at which time all reference to her in merchant registers ceased.


Euro short-term rate (€STR)

The euro short-term rate (€STR) is published on each TARGET2 business day based on transactions conducted and settled on the previous TARGET2 business day.

The ECB published the €STR for the first time on 2 October 2019, reflecting trading activity on 1 October 2019.

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Dancing, free beer opened Yale Street underpass in 1937

Houston Press coverage of the opening of the Yale Street underpass in August 1937.

It will be a tough 20 months, that's for sure.

That's how long construction is expected to take to build a new Yale Street bridge over White Oak Bayou. Expect heavy traffic on Heights Boulevard for the foreseeable future. But hey, at least it's temporary.

You know that underpass that goes beneath the railroad tracks a little ways south of the bridge? Well, before 1937, that underpass only existed in the minds of civic leaders and area residents. Back then, Yale was a congested stretch of road from the West End (what the Washington Avenue area near Shepherd was called) to the Heights. You can thank the railroad tracks for that.

For years, the tracks prevented a free flow of traffic into the Heights. But on Aug. 2, 1937, that changed when thousands of Houstonians turned out to formally open the underpass.

From the next day's Houston Post:

"The Broadway of Houston Heights became all that the name suggests Monday night as white lights flooded the wide, clean cement of the new Yale street underpass.

"Uncle Sam's $150,000 gift to the people of the Heights was accepted informally by good-natured if perspiring men, women and children of the section."

Perhaps the Heights and West End residents were overjoyed that a free flow of traffic just opened up into their neighborhoods. Then again, maybe not.

The good cheer that night was likely due to "the widely advertised free beer, soda water and fritos." Take all that, add some music, and you've got yourself a street dance.

"(Former City Commissioner) D. Barker, (City Commissioners) Frank Holton and Walter M. Pierson were called to the improvised platform &ndash the huge bed of a truck &ndash to speak. But recognizing that speeches would not be particularly acceptable to the man with a thirst for beer and the girls with dancing in their feet, they stopped with brief greetings."

The event even generated controversy before the underpass could open, the Post reported.

Members of Collins Memorial Methodist Church protested the serving of beer at what they considered a highway function. They felt that since the underpass was for public safety and that drunken driving was a persistent problem, serving beer was a little out of order. Mayor R.H. Fonville brushed aside the concerns, noting that it was too late and that civic clubs in the area had already agreed to the program.

Plus, according to the motorcycle officers on duty there, there didn't seem to be enough beer to go around anyway.


Yale I Str - History

The Yale Film Archive in Sterling Memorial Library has been awarded a $17,000 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve “End of the Art World”, the first film made by an undergraduate woman at Yale.

In spite of ongoing pandemic-related challenges during the last year, the class of 2021 accomplished a wide range of original research projects using Yale University Library’s collections and resources. Six students wrote senior essays that were recognized with one of three annual library prizes. The winning essays have been published on Eli Scholar.

With most parents and friends tuning in remotely due to the pandemic, Yale celebrated its 320th Commencement. As always, many graduates marked the occasion with photos in front of Sterling Memorial Library.


The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000

Chapter 1: Why we read The Confessions[00:00:00]

Professor Paul Freedman: Alright, so you may be asking yourself, “Why are we reading the Confessions?” I think I gave a preliminary answer before, but since it seems to be perhaps more appropriate for religious studies or philosophy, let me remind you why we’re struggling through this.

First, the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire–that is to say, the social and intellectual setting of the rise of Christianity in the late fourth, early fifth centuries.

The second is to understand some of the Christian moral and doctrinal problems and their implications. Once again, we’re not exactly interested in these for reasons of theology or morality, but we need to get into the minds of people at the time in order to understand what bothered them, what controversies they were involved in, and how those controversies indeed divided the Roman Empire and the successors to the Roman Empire.

Some of those problems–well, under that second heading of Christian moral and doctrinal problems, let me just mention three, which by no means exhausts them, but are three that we can sort of, if not identify with, I think see their importance. One, the problem of evil.Second, the relation between body and soul.And three, the Christian understanding of sin and redemption. Now, it turns out these are all aspects of the same problem, and they are dealt with in Augustine’s works most thoroughly, more thoroughly than any other thinker of the ancient world.

The third reason we’re looking at this is the interaction between Christianity and classical culture and religion. Roman life and politics, Augustine’s career and his giving up his career, what that means, other ideas within the Roman Empire, such as Manicheaism, Platonism.

And then finally, this is a document of philosophical and psychological investigation. And while that is not our primary purpose here, you should not get out of a liberal arts college program without reading this and pondering it a little. This can be summarized in terms of the importance of the humanities, even, or of philosophical investigation, as opposed to mere investigation of natural phenomena, in words that Augustine uses in Book X, which we have not read. After Book IX, Book X is a turning. It discusses time and the meaning of time. Books XI, XII, and XIII are a commentary on Genesis. Worth reading, if you like, and interesting to think about how they do or do not mesh with the more confessional parts of the Confession.

But in Book X, he says, “Men go out and gaze in astonishment at high mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad reaches of rivers, the ocean that encircles the world, or the stars in their courses, but they pay no attention to themselves.” They are busy looking at external phenomena and not examining their own heart. And if the Confessionsis anything, it is certainly an examination of the author’s heart.

But it’s not an examination of his heart in a purely emotional sense, in the way we’re familiar with in so-called confessional literature. I had a tough upbringing. This happened to me. That happened to me. I struggled with addiction. I beat my kids. Now I’m a great person. Whatever. This is an intellectual investigation as well as an emotional investigation.

And indeed, Augustine doesn’t see these as separate, or to the degree that he does, it’s in a more complicated way than just saying intellectual versus non-intellectual. He is an intellectual, obviously. And he awakened to being an intellectual, an experience that many of you may have had. Remember, he reads this dialogue by Cicero, now lost, called the Hortensius. And this convinces him that the life of the mind is the most important thing to pursue.

And I wouldn’t say that we all have had this experience, but maybe you–what was the point at which you discovered that you weren’t like other people, that they lived more for immediate sensations, or pleasure, or what Augustine would call debauchery, and you wanted to read or think about stuff or do lab experiments?

I think the essence of Yale, if I understand it correctly, is I don’t have to choose between fun and the intellectual life. So it’s not actually perhaps relevant to your lives now, but particularly if you went to a public high school, grew up in a non-intellectual environment. Those of you whose parents are professors and went to some school where everybody was reading Latin at the age of six, I’m not talking to you. But I’m talking to the vast majority who woke up one day and realized, either with pride or with dismay, “I’m different from other people.” Ideas have meaning to me. I’m going to suffer in life for that, though there’re going to be some rewards. And I leave you to discern what the rewards are and to mull over what the suffering has been or maybe will continue to be. I hope not, and I suspect you’ll have an easier time of it.

But this book is about a search for truth and a search that takes a number of wrong turns, at least from Augustine’s opinion looking back on the situation when he wrote this in the 390s. It’s a confession of sin. It’s also, as I said before, a confession of praise for the God whose love directed him back to the right path. It is personal, but exemplary. It is about spiritual yearning, but it is also about intellectual yearning for truth. It’s a book about the education of a young man and the adventures of this young man and what he learns from them.

Chapter 2: A Brief Biography of Augustine [00:07:34]

Now, in the first place, he is both an intellectual and a passionate person. He is someone who is unusually frank about his desires. But notice that he’s not just opposed to desire. He is not someone who believes that desire, love are to be simply repressed or ignored. Love is a psychological need. And he has a very discerning and interesting passage in describing his teenage years and his lusts when he frequented the brothels of Carthage. In Book III, at the beginning, he says, “I was in love with the idea of love.” So he was not only in love, but he was in love with the idea of being an emotional being, of love that is both sexual and spiritual, in which these two things are not well marked off from each other.

He is also a believer in friendship. And it’s funny, because in our own culture, I think friendship has changed. When I started teaching, people had trouble dealing with the affection that he has for his friends, like Alypius and Nebridius, or the mysterious unnamed friend who dies after being baptized. Augustine is always surrounded by friends. Even in the most intimate moments, when he’s undergoing this conversion, there’re all sorts of people right around him. And as I said before, this seemed to be–the explanation was, well, he must’ve been homosexual, or he must have these desires, or maybe it’s part of Roman culture of friendship.

But in recent decades or years, where we have a culture of friendship, where your friends are extremely important–admittedly, if you have 900 of them, it’s a little bit, perhaps, weakened–but I think we can understand some of this better than might have been the case a little while ago. This friend who dies after being baptized, here is an example of another form of seriousness. They go out and have fun together. The friend becomes ill. The friend is suddenly very serious. The friend gets baptized, because to be baptized, as with Constantine, means that you are committing yourself to a much more stringent and moral life than before.

And then he dies. And this certainly disturbs Augustine. What is life all about? Any of you who’ve had the experience of contemporaries of yours who have died will understand this, I think.

Augustine’s also ambitious. He is a successful person. Even though he’s from a modest family–his father, a pagan or non-Christian, middle class official of North Africa, his mother, a Christian–He’s clearly marked for success because of his unusual gifts, his unusual gifts being intellectual, ability to write, ability to argue. He’s marked out as extremely smart. And at that time, success for such a person, the course of success was through government service– this is the era post-Diocletian, post-Constantine–and related particularly to a combination of rhetoric and law.

This is not all that different from societies familiar to us. That is to say, the training in law gives one access to a number of different kinds of political offices. But rhetoric is perhaps a little stranger to us. Rhetoric in this context means the art of persuasion. So it’s very closely related to law and legal pleading. It is the art of writing well, of writing elegantly, and it is very, very highly valued in the Roman Empire.

His mother, Monica, is extremely pious. In fact, the first section, class rather that I taught–no, I guess I was a section leader–when I was a graduate student, the first section I had, my students were arguing with me about Augustine’s patronizing attitude towards his mother. And I said, well, no, he’s not patronizing. He’s smarter than his mother. His mother’s just an ordinary person. After all, Augustine becomes a saint, and his mother doesn’t. Some guy from Santa Monica Catholic School said, who do you think Santa Monica is? This is Augustine’s mother.

So anyway, I’ve learned. Augustine’s mother is a saint. She is a more steadfast kind of person than Augustine. She’s not someone who stays up all night wrestling with the problem of evil. Nevertheless, she does not want him to be baptized. She wants him to be successful. Like most mothers, she wants her child to be a good person. But even more than that, she wants her child to be a success. And that means delaying baptism, because if he’s going to be a success, he’s going to have to be involved in the world of high government, and that may mean–well, that definitely means involvement in sinfulness, involvement in the shedding of blood, involvement in legal wrangling and stuff like that.

And so he is encouraged to lead a normal life, “normal” meaning, at least in his own retrospective view, sinful life. This is what Augustine is giving up in his conversion. He is giving up a career. He is giving up a social expectation of success or social definition of success. He is giving up the pleasures attendant on that career, which range from parties to honors to sexual conquests and the whole life of a well-established member of the Roman elite.

Chapter 3: The Problem of Evil [00:14:33]

What is bothering Augustine? What bothers him is, in part, the problem of evil, which we’ve alluded to already. Why does a good and omnipotent god allow evil to flourish? A related problem is that compared to the works of the Greek writers and philosophers, the Bible seems awfully crude to him, rhetorically, in terms of style, and conceptually, in terms of its ideas.

The Old Testament god–and we’re probably at various levels of familiarity with the Old Testament–but the Old Testament god is temperamental, I think it’s fair to say. Here’s a guy who decides to destroy–a guy–a deity who decides to destroy the world by flood, destroys the cities of the plain, kills one of the people bearing the tabernacle back to Jerusalem because he stumbles. What kind of god is this?

This bothers Augustine. And his anthropomorphism bothers Augustine. In the Old Testament, in the Hebrew Bible, a god speaks with people. Adam hears him walking in the garden. How can that be? How can this human-seeming god be the real God? So these two anxieties put Augustine in the camp of the Manicheans.

Remember, the Manicheans believe that the solution to the problem of evil is that God is not omnipotent. God is trying, but there’s another evil god who is opposing Him. And that evil god is the god of the flesh and the god of the Old Testament, Jehovah, the creator god, the god of matter and flesh. We are souls imprisoned in flesh. Our true home is the spiritual, and we have to renounce everything that has to do with the flesh in order to go there.

So Manicheanism would seem to be extremely ascetic. You should have absolutely nothing to do with the world. But as is always the case with the statement, “everything that’s material is evil, but we are material,” Manicheanism also offers or affords you an opportunity to be completely involved in the world, totally involved in the world, because there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is say, the flesh is evil, I’m in the flesh, I’m just going to have to deal with it until I am liberated into the spirit.

So Manicheanism is not necessarily world-renouncing, but they do identify the source of evil with the body. The body is wicked. The immaterial soul is good. This is not Christianity, as Augustine discovers or elaborates. Even though we may think of Christianity as exalting the soul over the body, nevertheless, it also exalts the body. Christian doctrine is that the bodies of human beings will be resurrected, not just the souls. There will be bodies after the Last Judgment in heaven and in hell.

God created the world, and it was good. What then explains the presence of evil? Augustine at this stage turns to Platonism for an understanding of the nature of evil. Evil is not a thing in itself. It is rather the absence of good. Now, if anyone has ever said that to you, you will have found that unconvincing, at least in its first iteration. Because we’re not just talking about the absence of good, as in, this bowl of chili is not very good. It’s not very flavorful. It’s OK, but it’s lacking in something. But that’s not evil. Evil is not like, not particularly good. Evil is much more vivid, gratuitous, cruel, all-encompassing.

The Platonists don’t deny that. What they mean by saying it’s the privation of good is that it is nothingness. Evil is, in fact, the absence of being and meaning. The reason it produces such spectacular effects as war, oppression, crime, is that people turn away from the good, or they turn away from what is truly good to prefer lower goods. They turn away from the things of the spirit to the things of the flesh. They prefer their own lusts and desires, their own ambitions and greed, to the common good or to the immaterial and spiritual good. And it’s this turning away from the Sun, this turning away from good, that seems to be a human problem. Human beings, generally speaking, don’t understand what they’re on Earth for, according to the Platonists.

Many of you are familiar with the metaphor of the cave from The Republic. This is the classic depiction of this wrong preference. The people in the cave are chained facing the back wall of the cave, and they see images of what’s passing in front of the cave reflected on the wall. As time goes on, they come to believe that those images are reality. They forget that they’re chained. They forget that they can’t see the real things. They forget the Sun.

If you were to liberate them and turn them around and show them the light, first of all, they couldn’t bear it, because they’re used to the world of shadow. Secondly, they’d kill you, because you are destroying their assumptions and their world. They would at least persecute you. They’re not interested in the truth. They’re interested in getting by.

So for the Platonists, evil is the result of this error in perception, assuming that it’s a great thing to get rich. Or assuming that it’s a great thing to beat people up because you’re stronger than they are. Or it’s a great thing to conquer and subjugate. Or all of these things, some of which are evil but are really the preference of things that you should not be pursuing or that you should be pursuing for reasons inspired by spiritual truth.

How do you get rid of this? In the Platonists’ imagination, by education. That’s the whole point of Plato’s dialogues. That’s why they are dialogues, many of them, with a question and answer. They’re very didactic. They’re like being in a class. Socrates quizzes people, and then he shows the solution. And they say, “Oh, wow, Socrates, now I understand. Now I’m going to be a Platonist, and I’m going to build a perfect society.” End of story.

The important thing to understand about Platonism is that it is not dualist in the way that Manicheanism is or the way that we instinctively think about evil. Evil is not opposed to good. It’s hierarchically inferior to good. The Platonists’ universe is like a ladder with many rungs going up from mud, bugs, rocks to the immaterial One, and with many, many steps, as I said, many rungs or steps or levels in between.

Human beings are in the middle. And also, human beings–unlike animals, mud, slugs, but also unlike angels and demiurges and deities–human beings can move up and down the ladder. That’s what free will is. That’s what being human is. You can read Hortensius, read the Confessions, fall in love with the liberal arts, and ascend to some very high realm of the spirit. Or you can choose the downward path to debauchery and mere pleasure. It’s a question of how free you are, but we do have the opportunity to move up and down this ladder, unlike the animals and all other created forces that are fixed.

Now, the question is what makes us move up and down this? Or what’ll motivate us to move up? And here we come to some key differences between Platonism and Christianity with regard to evil. Platonism tends to ascribe evil to ignorance. Christianity tends to ascribe evil to sin. The difference between sin and ignorance is that sin is deliberate. You know you shouldn’t do this, and you do it anyway. You’re not overcome by desire.

Chapter 4: Pears and Augustine’s Conception of Sin [00:25:00]

So to anticipate one of the paper topics–but I don’t think I’m going to be giving away the answer–what is it about the pear-stealing incident that makes it so important? Anybody want to venture a preliminary response to this?

Student: Well, it’s the fact that he doesn’t need the pears. He just does it because he feels like sinning.

Professor Paul Freedman: So the pears–he doesn’t need the pears. It is just a desire. I mean, he doesn’t say to himself, I want to sin. I haven’t sinned in two days. He doesn’t need the pears. What do they do with the pears when they get them?

Student: They chuck them.

Professor Paul Freedman: Yeah, they throw them out. They throw them to the pigs. So they’re not hungry. It’s not like, I was overcome by desire, and that led me into some sinful behavior. They weren’t overcome by desire at all. How would you describe their pre-pear-stealing state? At least, what would you guess was their pre-pear-stealing frame of mind? There’s one word that’ll describe it, but if you want to, use a few more. Some guys go and they steal some pears from an orchard. They fool around with them. They throw them to the pigs.

Student: Bored?

Professor Paul Freedman: Bored. Bored. Now, here’s something we can identify with. They’re bored. They need to amuse themselves. They cannot amuse themselves by saying, “I’m a good person,” or, “I’m going to contemplate the One,” or, “I’m going to do some homework.” It doesn’t end. Young people are thought to be easily bored, but the boredom of old people, it’s a different kind of bored. But there it is. It’s persistent. That’s not the only reason people sin, but it is a gratuitous reason. And that’s what’s interesting about the pears. It’s gratuitous. It’s not from need. The Platonists don’t have a good response to why this happens, because it’s not a question of education.

Now, Augustine does not invent Christian ideas of sin. If you said to Augustine, “Come on, why are you so worried about the pears?” He’s not worried about the pears as such. It’s just a little emblem or a little example of a different kind of problem–that is to say, knowing how to behave doesn’t change us. Feeling how to behave–to put it in Freudian terms, it’s not the ego that decides. It’s the id. It’s the instinct, not the intellect.

And that’s what his conversion means. His conversion is not: “Suddenly, I was convinced that Christianity was true.” He already knows that Christianity is true, but he knows it intellectually. The conversion is a conversion to an emotional apprehension of it. So however intellectual he may seem to you, however formed in the tradition of Greco-Roman classicism he was, however much the Hortensius awakened him to the life of the mind, he is ultimately a theologian and philosopher of the irrational, of the supra-rational.

And indeed, Christianity in its history has an oscillation between intellectualization and the rediscovery of sin and God’s grace. If you think of movements like the Reformation of Martin Luther, John Calvin, et cetera, in the sixteenth century, it takes issue with the notion that we can do works that give us merit in the sight of God, and that the Church tells us we have accumulated merits, and therefore we’ll go to heaven.

The Reformation teaches that we are face to face with God and that our so-called good deeds don’t amount to anything. We are all sinful. If God operated according to justice, we would all go to hell. It’s faith and grace that save people, hence the Reformation. But it’s also the Great Awakening of Britain and America in the eighteenth century, the development of Methodism, the Fundamentalist movement, all of these tend to reject attempts to approach God contractually, attempts to approach God in terms of a deal.

So if human beings are sinful and if education is not going to get them out of sin, what will? Now, the Augustine of the Confessions is different than the Augustine of 20 years later when he wrote The City of God. And we’re not studying The City of God, but this book, written in response to the sack of Rome in 410, develops some ideas that are found in the Confessions about the nature of sin and how we get out of it. The nature of sin is the pears. How we get out of it is at least in part the conversion. We got the pears sufficiently for the time being?

The conversion is started–well, it started long before the event. But what precipitates it as a drama is this conversation with Ponticianus in Book VIII, Part VIII, who has traveled and describes the monks of Egypt. Now, we’ll be talking lots and lots about monks, but the monks of Egypt are the first example of Christian monks, men who flee the world into the desert and there live on weeds, saline water, locusts, other insects, basically nothing. And they have visions, and they are sought out by ordinary people.

It’s key to understand that to be a hermit in this society does not necessarily mean that you have nothing to do with people. People start to want to find you, because you must have special power. Back in Alexandria, their baby is sick. “Maybe you, oh hermit, living on locusts and out in the desert, have some spiritual power to help my baby.”

This is shamanism. It happens in all sorts of religions. You can’t just be a shaman, a medicine man, a wise man, and hold down a regular old job. Or you can, but it helps. And that’s the conceit of a lot of TV ideas, secret heroes. They’re the real estate agents, but they’re battling the forces of darkness. But generally, most of the time, you’ve got to be special, and you’ve got to look special. And you’ve got to be a reject. You can’t have a spouse, kids, a mortgage, a garden, a swing set. You’ve got to be a seer. You’ve got to have your vision focused on the other world.

Ponticianus tells Augustine about these men, and his response is not only to be impressed by them, but to be humiliated by them. First of all, here are these guys who are intoxicated with God, while I’m still thinking about my career. But–and this is the ancient world speaking–they are uneducated, these monks of Egypt. They didn’t study The Republic, the Hortensius, the Timaeus, the rhetoric of Quintilian, the Satires of Juvenal.

They don’t know anything about this. They’re uneducated people. Many of them are illiterate. And yet they are closer to God. They have an apprehension of the divine that causes them to renounce the world, whereas we–Augustine says of him and his circle–we “lie here groveling in this world of flesh and blood, while they storm the gates of heaven.” And this is the moment of his conversion.

Now, after his conversion, Augustine’s plan was to lead a life of contemplation with his friends. They would retreat from the world, meaning they would give up their careers, but it would be a little bit like one of your friend’s parents have a lot of money and have this wonderful cabin somewhere in the Rockies or the Sawtooth Mountains. And you’re going to figure out some kind of way of–you’ll be on the Internet and everything, but you’re going to have this kind of beautiful, contemplative life.

But the beautiful part is that it’s not going to be uncomfortable. It’s not the desert of Egypt. It’s remote–you’re not going to be bothered–but there are beautiful mountains, trouts in the stream. It’s idyllic. And you and your friends are going to talk about reality and the spirit and philosophy and–I don’t know how idyllic this sounds to you, but it’s certainly an understandable idea of a way of life.

It is the ancient idea of what’s called “leisure with dignity”. And indeed, that’s what being a professor was supposed to be when I signed up for it. Otium cum dignitate, leisure with dignity. “Leisure” meaning not wasting time leisure, but not responding to clients, or not responding to urgent scheduling phone calls, deals. You’ve got to show up to your classes, but that’s not really onerous. At least, that was the idea.

And I won’t go into the frustrations of being a professor or the dissatisfactions. But the classical idea is otium cum dignitate, “dignity” meaning not being naked in the desert, not having to eat locusts and figure out how to– “OK, I had curried locusts last night. Tonight, I think I’ll have locust casserole.” No, no, no. Something nicer than that.

But in fact, he did not follow through on this. He did not lead a life of cultivated classical dignity with his friends. He went back to North Africa. He became a bishop. His years were consumed by disputes over doctrine or with heretical–as he deemed them–tendencies, like Donatism, most notably. And he died defending his city of Hippo, Hippo Regius, in modern Tunisia, from the Vandals, one of those barbarian invaders who will occupy us next week.

He then was very much involved in the world. To be a bishop in the Roman Empire was by no means an office of dignified leisure. It was right in there in the political trenches. It’s a position of honor, to be sure, but his understanding of the Christian’s duty in the world was that you cannot lead a life of perfection. You cannot lead a life of sin-free contemplation. We all are sinners. He becomes more and more the theologian, philosopher who combats perfectionism.

Chapter 5: Perfectability, Sin, and Grace [00:38:23]

Perfectionism is a doctrine that human beings can be made radically better–perfect, even. There are debates throughout societies about the degree of human perfectibility. This is indeed supposedly and to some extent I think really at the heart of debates between what is called liberalism in the United States and conservatism. Liberals believe in human perfectibility. If you educate people, if you help them, if you encourage them, if you provide government subsidies, you will build a better society. The response upon the part of conservatives to that is, people are the way they are because that’s the way they want to be, or they made wrong choices. But all the help from some public authority isn’t going to help, isn’t going to really make a difference.

Are people perfectible? People who believe in education tend to believe that they are. On the other hand, very well-educated people have been bad. Hitler loved classical music. So did Stalin. Just because you are a connoisseur of art doesn’t make you a good person.

Augustine is a radical imperfectionist, more so in The City of God than in the Confessions, which is teetering on the brink. The pears is a kind of imperfectionist moment. He glimpses the power of sin. By the time of The City of God, by the time that the end of the Roman Empire is at least glimpsed as a possibility and the rise of the barbarians, Augustine has become someone who does not believe that human beings can, in any way, earn salvation. Human beings are irrevocably sinful.

Once again, if God judged people according to their merits, they would all be damned. Since the Christian belief is that some people are saved, they are saved by a mysterious process called “grace.” Grace, by its very meaning, is undeserved. You don’t show up at the door of Heaven with a ticket of admission earned by your deeds on Earth. What opens the doors to you is a generous, arbitrary decision. Well, “generous” may mean, I had good intentions. I didn’t kill anybody. But “arbitrary” may mean that we can’t figure out who’s going to Heaven and who’s going to Hell. It may even mean that since God knew before we were born, God predestined us for Heaven or Hell.

This is a harsh doctrine. It gets periodically rediscovered and then dropped. It’s at the heart of the belief of the people who settled Massachusetts and Connecticut. It is the heart of Calvinism and of Puritanism, the belief in the elect. The question is, are these elect visible or invisible? The elect are people who are going to go to heaven. Are they visible? Can we say, this guy is so good, he’s going to heaven? This woman is so loving, nurturing, self-effacing, whatever, she’s going to go to heaven? That’s the notion of a visible elect. An invisible elect is, “We don’t know, we have no idea.”

And this is a crucial difference. Because if you believe in the visible elect, even if you say they’re not guaranteed, but anybody outside of this circle is for sure going to hell, then you have Puritan New England. You have a small community of people pursuing perfection. Or you have the Amish. Or you have any small pious community that believes that outside of it is more or less given over to sin and more or less doomed. Inside of it, maybe it’s not guaranteed, but your chances are much, much better.

But if you believe that we don’t have a visible elect, that we have no idea, then everybody ought to be in the Church. Everybody ought to have access to the sacraments that provide initiation into the Church. You ought to start converting pagans, even savage pagans. You ought to be out there roping in as many people into the church, including people who don’t want to be. Because you just never know. Maybe their kids will be.

Augustine is behind ideas of things like forced conversion. As long as they’re baptized, there’s a chance of them being saved. And baptized as infants, preferably, because baptism does not any longer mean, in Augustine’s world, perfection. It means the beginning. It means entering the process.

So the three things that he is teaching that are implicit in the Confessions and that he is important for in terms of his intellectual impact are his opposition to perfectionism, his exaltation of grace, and the notion of sin as indelible, not solvable.

Where this becomes of key historical importance is in the Church. The Church is a body that can either be sectarian and small, as with the Amish or Puritan New England, or it can be huge and universal, as with the medieval Catholic Church. Augustine stands behind the medieval Catholic Church, which is a political body, a body of doctrine, a structure ruled by princes, and a structure that has a missionary impact on the rest of the world.

Now, the papers. You have the paper topics. If you didn’t get them, come up and see me after. You can choose any one of them, or you can choose something else. But if you choose something else, please talk to your teaching fellow or to me. And talk to us anyway about these papers. We’ll give you plenty of opportunity to bounce ideas off us.

Now, next week, we talk about the fall of the Roman Empire. But this is implicit in what we’ve talked about today, because the bottom line is the Roman Empire is going to fall in the West, and the Church is not going to. And so we’ll look at how that works next week. Thanks.


That time Frank Viola and Ron Darling pitched the greatest college baseball game ever played

May 21, 1981. The NCAA college baseball tournament was underway and a Major League Baseball strike was looming. Baseball fans of every level were starving for excitement.

Thirty-eight years ago on May 21, Yale’s Ron Darling and St. John’s Frank Viola delivered in a pitcher’s duel widely considered the greatest college baseball game ever played. It was a game that a mere 2,500 people were in attendance for, but a now-famous The New Yorker article "The Web of the Game" by Roger Angell would help the game leap to epic proportions and become widely known in baseball lore.

So, why this game? Why was a game between two programs that have still never won a College World Series considered so iconic?

How about 22 combined innings of shutout baseball pitched by both starting pitchers?

The game was at Yale Field, where the wooden bleachers held a modest crowd and there were no locker rooms for the players to get ready. On the bump, two All-Americans were set to duel.

Darling was a gifted athlete, one who could do it at the plate (he hit .386 with 66 total bases the season prior) and on the mound with one of the sharpest fastballs and nastiest sliders in college baseball. Viola was equally frightening to opposing hitters — his go-to pitch a devastating curveball — amassing a 26-2 career record behind a 1.67 ERA. Essentially, both pitchers, on their best days, we untouchable. Luckily for that small crowd in attendance, this was one of their best days.

St. John’s was 31-2 and powered by one of the most potent offenses in the land. Darling made the lineup look like they were 2-31, striking out 16 batters on the day behind 11 innings of no-hit baseball. Viola was able to match him in zeroes in the run column, though Yale was able to get some Elis on the basepaths with seven hits and four walks on the day. Both pitchers were so dominant that nary a base runner reached third base before the ninth inning. Which was why the contest heading into extra innings.

Viola was stellar in getting the victory. He hurled 11 strong innings, allowing seven hits, while walking four and striking out eight. Darling was on another level. He went all 12 innings with a friendly reminder that through the first 11 he did not allow a single hit. A 12th-inning bloop single was his demise. The lone St. John’s hit of the day became an unearned run after a double steal and botched rundown a few plays later and the only run to cross the plate in 12 innings of baseball. St. John’s won the day.

Both have remained close to the game of baseball in different capacities, whether it be in the broadcast booth or the dugout as a coach. The story goes that Viola was so enamored by Darling's performance that he immediately befriended the Yale superstar. "To this day, all the baseball I've seen in my lifetime, that was the single most dominating game I have ever seen in person," Viola said 30 years after the game.

For Ron Darling, it was the first of many big games the star right-hander would throw in his collegiate and professional career. With his 1981 NCAA Regional performance, Darling was selected ninth overall in the ensuing MLB draft and would reach fame as a member of the 1986 New York Mets coveted rotation, starting Game 7 of one of the most memorable World Series in recent history. By 1989, the New York native Frank Viola would join him in the Mets rotation after a World Series MVP performance of his own two seasons prior.

But it all started on May 21, 1981, from Yale Field. Home of the greatest game of college baseball ever played.

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Wayne Cavadi has covered all things Division II sports for NCAA.com since 2016. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, MLB.com, AJC.com, SB Nation and FoxSports.com and in publications like The Advocate and Lindy's Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @UofDWayne.

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History of the Cemetery

The Grove Street Cemetery, the first chartered burial ground in the United States, succeeded the previous common burial site, the New Haven Green. After severe yellow fever epidemics in 1794 and 1795, the Green was simply too crowded to continue as the city’s chief burial ground. In 1796 a group of New Haven citizens led by U.S. Senator James Hillhouse planned a new cemetery on a location at the edge of town. Their efforts were officially recognized in October 1797 when the State of Connecticut incorporated the cemetery as The New Burying Ground in New Haven. The first burial took place on November 9, 1797.

The layout of the cemetery appears to have been unique for its time. It was arranged in lots for families contemporaneous cemeteries were more commonly laid out for random burials. The grounds were also divided to give space to parishioners of the three churches on the Green. strangers who might die in New Haven, the indigent, persons of color, and members of Yale College.

The Green continued to be used interments, but to a lesser extent. The last burial there occurred in 1812. The stone grave markers on the Green were eventually moved to Grove Street. Some were used to mark out the boundaries of burial sites in this cemetery a great many line the Cemetery’s rear walls in alphabetical order.

The Grove Street Cemetery antedates the expansive and distinguished cemeteries of Pere-Lachaise in Paris and Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Not long after its opening it was already shown with pride to foreign visitors. Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, commented in 1811:

“I have accompanied to it many foreigners and many Americans who have traveled extensively on the Eastern Continent, none of whom had ever seen or heard of anything of a similar nature. An exquisite taste for propriety is discovered in everything belonging to it… No plot of ground within my knowledge is equally solemn and impressive.”

Even this solemn location, though, has had difficult times. By 1830 the wooden fences had failed to prevent the cemetery grounds from becoming a thoroughfare subject to vandalism. Those who valued the cemetery wanted a place for quiet reflection and a dignified environment for the repose of their families. Under the leadership of Professor Denison Olmsted, Yale’s famed astronomer, the city, the public, and the proprietors eventually raised $25,000 to establish the protection the grounds deserved. In 1845 the present wall with its imposing entrance was completed. Architect Henry Austin designed it in the Egyptian style favored at that time.

After organization of Evergreen Cemetery in 1849, the title “New Burying Ground in New Haven” was modified to “New Haven City Burial Ground.” By the 1870s, however, the site was familiarly called “The Grove Street Cemetery,” and that name has since become commonplace.

The building immediately inside the gate was built in 1872 as a chapel so that services could be held in inclement weather. Its only decoration, just under the eave, is a gilded bee symbolic of the soul’s release from the body. This Victorian structure now serves as the office of the cemetery’s superintendent and assistant superintendent.

Foliage in the cemetery has undergone an extensive evolution from the days of James Hillhouse. Hillhouse prized trees he conceived the extensive plantings that gave New Haven its title, the Elm City. For the cemetery he choose Lombardy poplars along the main streets, but these were dying by the 1830s. Therefore, when the new walls were built, new shrubs and trees, chiefly evergreens, were planted. Photographs from the 1890s show tall evergreens within the walls, but today the trees and shrubs are more varied. Ice, snow, and high winds have damaged and destroyed trees, especially old elms and oaks. Tree replacement is ongoing.

Grove Street is an urban cemetery. Its geometrical pattern echoes the City of New Haven’s nine-square layout. The cemetery’s paths give easy access to horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles. It allows no room for a grove of trees: space for burial sites is maximized. Extraordinarily varied markers from obelisks to sarcophagi to the simplest gravestone decorate the cemetery. The history of New Haven with its many themes, crises, and accomplishments can be traced in Grove Street Cemetery.


Yale Changes Its Introduction to Art History

Regarding Roger Kimball’s “Civilization Is History at Yale” (op-ed, Jan. 30): The art history survey course which is the latest casualty of Yale’s PC revolution was an undergraduate favorite of mine—and not just mine, as the packed lecture hall and frequent standing ovations made clear, year after year. Art history is the quintessence of the liberal arts, encompassing aesthetics, philosophy, political history, geography, even chemistry that introductory class gave such a sweeping, engaging, diversely relevant view of Western culture that it was frequented by budding physicists, engineers and actors as much as by future art historians. Given its profound impact on generations of Yalies, it makes perfect sense that Yale President Peter Salovey would approve eliminating the class.

Mr. Salovey presides over the dismemberment of Yale’s intellectual heritage with all the bravura of a sidekick to Robespierre. He caves to whomever shrieks the loudest, claims the moral high ground to conceal his own lack of coherence and offers up the heads of faculty on silver platters so routinely that the standard of teaching for which Yale has long been noted cannot endure. Poor students of today—and tomorrow—adrift among all these lovely (renamed) buildings without anything substantive to learn.

Shannon Vowell

Mr. Kimball’s umbrage is unwarranted. Remember, this is a proposed change to the introductory course, not a wholesale jettisoning of the study of Anglo-European art since the Renaissance. A Eurocentric introductory art history course that focuses only on art produced in the last seven centuries in a very small part of the world fails to accurately represent what art historians today actually study. The Yale faculty alone includes scholars of the arts of Africa, Asia, the Islamic World, India, South Asia, Ancient Greece and Rome as well as pre-Renaissance Europe. Whether an introductory course serves as the only course a student will take in a particular field or is the first of many in which they will enroll, it should expose students to the range of topics and issues studied by the practitioners in the field.

By using this course as the example par excellence of what art historians study and how they study it, it implicitly suggests that the “greatest” art was produced in a particular place, at a particular time. Indeed, the headline “Civilization Is History . . .” diminishes the value of the art of peoples other than relatively recent Western Europeans by implying, somehow, that the Maya, the Benin, the Moche, to name a few, are somehow less “civilized” than the people of, say, Renaissance Europe or recent Anglo-Americans.

Students will have ample opportunity to study the art of the Renaissance and beyond. But the creative geniuses of times and places as disparate as Teotihuacán, Xi’an, and Chan Chan deserve a place on the syllabus of an introduction to art history just as do Michelangelo and Raphael.

Prof. Cathy L. Costin

California State University, Northridge

The value of my Yale education has plunged, and my friends are making bad jokes about it. I trust that Yale has begun to amass a restitution fund to compensate victims who are suffering as I am. At the very least, Yale must refund the tuition it collected from me while forcing me to take courses considered problematic today.

Keith C. Moore Jr. ’59

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The Tragedy of the Yale Commons

When 18-year-old Stephen A. Schwarzman, the son of a Philadelphia dry-goods store owner, entered Yale in 1965, he took his meals, like all freshmen, in the Commons, a vast, baronial dining hall in a cluster of beaux-arts colossi that the university had constructed for its bicentennial in 1901. The Commons seemed to him like “a train station full of hundreds of people eating,” he recalls in his recently published business memoir, What It Takes. “The loneliness was crushing. Everything and everyone intimidated me.”

Now Schwarzman, the multibillionaire CEO of the Blackstone private equity group and Donald Trump confidant whose personal net worth is approximately $19 billion, is turning the tables on the Commons. In 2015, he donated $150 million to his alma mater to repurpose and rename that part of its semi-sacred civic center for himself. Since then, he’s engaged directly in the renovation of the Commons into the Stephen A. Schwarzman Center, another of the lavish bells-and-whistles amenities—a hive of junior-business start-up platforms, performance spaces, and more—that upscale American universities and private schools are scrambling to erect to lure student customers. (In 2009, the Yale Daily News uncovered Yale administration memos calling students “customers,” inspired perhaps by vice presidents of the university who’d come over from PepsiCo and General Mills.) The center is due to open next fall, and growing discontent with Schwarzman’s “philanthropy” may presage a broader reckoning with how finance capital is deranging American higher education and civil society.

Universities increasingly do understand themselves as corporations in an education industry that incentivizes students to envision themselves not as citizens of a republic but as self-marketing, indebted buyers and sellers. That sea change, symbolized by this transformation of the Commons, submerges a lot of instructive history. When Yale celebrated its bicentennial in 1901 with “a great torchlight parade of five thousand graduates and students in costumes illustrating [its] history” and opened the new cluster of buildings that includes the Commons, the school presented an honorary doctorate of laws to Theodore Roosevelt—a graduate of Harvard and champion of its football rivalry with Yale—soon after he succeeded the assassinated President William McKinley. “I have never yet worked at a task worth doing that I did not find myself working shoulder to shoulder with some son of Yale,” he told his New Haven audience. “I have never yet been in any struggle for righteousness or decency, that there were not men of Yale to aid me and give me strength and courage.”

Roosevelt’s “sons of Yale” included John Campbell Greenway, one of his fellow Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, and would soon include Roosevelt’s friend Gifford Pinchot, a pioneer in wilderness conservation whom he named as the first chief of the United States Forest Service in 1905. Another of Roosevelt’s Yale sons was William Howard Taft, his secretary of war and successor in the White House (who would later go on to serve as the chief justice of the Supreme Court). That day in New Haven, Roosevelt and the 200-year-old college were riding a high tide of American nationalism, congratulating one another for conquering the western frontier in 1890 and the Spanish empire in 1898. Yale graduates had founded and led scores of American colleges in that century. Muscular Christian Yale football heroes, real and fictional (Dink Stover and Frank Merriwell among the latter), were winning young Americans’ hearts. Other undergraduates were powering a national crusade for “the evangelization of the world in this generation” (a slogan of the American Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, whose archives rest, fittingly, at the Yale Divinity School). The movement’s missionaries in China also raised future sons of Yale such as Henry R. Luce, co-founder of Time magazine and herald of the “American Century,” and the writer John Hersey.*

A lot has changed, much of it for the better, since Roosevelt ended his New Haven visit with a reception in the just-opened Commons. But nothing symbolizes more clearly what’s changed for the worse than rechristening the structure for a wayward son of Yale who’s working shoulder to shoulder with Trump on tasks Roosevelt would have denounced as unworthy, unrighteous, and indecent—not to mention destructive. You needn’t endorse everything Roosevelt championed—he was often a blowhard, with a bullying streak—to see that Schwarzman and others of today’s sons of Yale, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (and, until recently, former national security adviser John Bolton) have joined forces with Trump to enrich and defend “malefactors of great wealth,” as Roosevelt called their predecessors in 1907. Roosevelt’s broadsides against the Stephen Schwarzmans of his day came at a charged historical moment, as the American republic was lurching from Gilded Age plutocracy to Progressive administration, with nods to populism along the way.

These days, Yale is far from alone among universities in honoring drivers of economic inequality and civic decay, disdaining thousands of their past graduates’ intense and self-sacrificing (if also inevitably flawed) efforts to strengthen civil society and defend the republic. Adjacent to the Schwarzman Center is Memorial Hall, a rotunda where the names of alumni and faculty who died at war stand engraved in icy marble under apothegms such as “Courage Disdains Fame and Wins It.” No kindred spirit of self-sacrifice has been mobilized to gratify Schwarzman’s infamous edifice-complex, as insatiable as that of the founder of Trump University and Trump towers and casinos. (Schwarzman’s financial empire dwarfs Trump’s his Blackstone employs more than 360,000 people in the firms it owns.)* He’s emblazoned his name on centers, colleges, and programs at MIT, Oxford, China’s Tsinghua University, and the New York Public Library’s flagship beaux-arts building in Manhattan. He’s made himself the Cecil Rhodes of China with the Schwarzman Scholars Program, based in Beijing.

Along the way, of course, he’s drawn some unwelcome attention. An open letter protesting the new Schwarzman Humanities Centre at Oxford University charges that its name whitewashes Blackstone’s “exploitation and disenfranchisement of vulnerable people across the world.” The consequences for America’s civic-republican colleges deserve protest, too, not least because journalists and public intellectuals have descended upon them to shift blame for our civic and political crises onto presumptively coddled students and “social justice warriors.” Most of those young campus protesters are hypersensitive barometers or canaries in the coal mine, registering tremors of our civic and political implosion that they can’t help but carry but certainly haven’t caused.

What they’re trying to send us—and what their detractors are trying to deflect—is the message that a liberal republic depends on a critical mass of its citizens to uphold certain public virtues and beliefs that sometimes put public interest ahead of their immediate self-interest. Neither the liberal state nor markets do enough to nourish or defend such virtues—the liberal state because it’s not supposed to select one version of the good life over another, and markets because they “work” by treating investors and consumers as self-interested individuals, not as citizens who can restrain self-interest enough to sustain what used to be called a commonwealth.

Yale’s Commons picked up such resonances in the century after Roosevelt’s visit. What Schwarzman recalls as “a train station” was more than an intersection it was an institution of civil society, where civic associations, church groups, immigrant settlement houses, YMCAs, sporting leagues, and colleges stand somewhat apart from markets and states. Young Americans learn there “to convene, to set a direction at the level of broad principle, to negotiate, and ultimately to come to a result that moves everyone—imperfectly and with some noses out of joint—toward an incrementally more desirable outcome,” as the political theorist and classicist Danielle Allen puts it in “The Road From Serfdom,” in the special December edition of The Atlantic on “How to Stop a Civil War.” She laments that this “democratic work of organizing is something that many Americans are no longer capable of doing.”

Why aren’t they? In the same issue of The Atlantic, ideas editor Yoni Appelbaum fingers a host of strains on our sense of civic well-being: “The stresses of a globalizing, postindustrial economy. Growing economic inequality. The hyperbolizing force of social media. Geographic sorting. The demagogic provocations of the president himself…. [T]he biggest driver might be demographic change.” But the most likely driver of the upheavals he mentions, including the demographic, is the “globalizing, postindustrial” investment strategy whose malefactors are reducing every social, cultural endeavor to its market value. Its all-enveloping power is contorting culture-making—the slow, intergenerational nurturing of consensual understandings within which many matters can be vigorously but constructively contested—into instant “culture” marketing. The latter’s relentless attention-seeking is gutting redoubts of culture-making such as book publishing, filmmaking, news reporting, even university teaching—and it’s draining wellsprings of democratic energy and morale.

The financialization of everything by Schwarzman and other private-equity masters banks and channels what should be democratic energies to serve engines that titillate, intimidate, monitor, indebt, and dispossess Americans of their dignity and equity, private and “common.” Universities, struggling to survive with fewer civic-minded donors, are being forced to honor donors who are hollowing out the commonwealth and, with it, liberal education’s mission to induct students into its conversation across the ages about lasting challenges to politics and the human spirit.

It ought to matter to Yale that the man for whom it’s renaming the Commons invests heavily in schemes that have hoodwinked millions of hard-pressed homeowners into becoming temporary tenants in homes they once thought they owned. Schwarzman’s Blackstone and its subsidiaries swept up legions of such properties at foreclosure, thereby transferring billions of dollars of residents’ equity to Blackstone, as the journalist Aaron Glantz demonstrates with macroeconomic rigor and novelistic intimacy in Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream.

It ought to matter to Harvard, MIT, and other institutions of higher learning that they have accepted millions of dollars from the late Jeffrey Epstein, even as he systematically raped young women, with the active connivance (and at times the outright collaboration) of other powerful men. It ought to matter that Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, Brown University, and the University of Michigan accepted millions of dollars from the late A. Alfred Taubman, a prominent New York shopping-mall developer and former principal owner of the elite Sotheby’s Auction House. Taubman was imprisoned in 2002 for running a price-fixing scheme with Sotheby’s competitor, Christie’s, that cheated buyers and sellers out of some $100 million. At least Taubman cheated people who could afford it Schwarzman, by contrast, has profited from the dispossession of thousands of people who can’t afford to be cheated. (The same is true, it bears reminding, of Mnuchin, who also made millions as a foreclosure vulture in the wake of the 2008 mortgage meltdown.)

Schwarzman’s investments seed the social inequality, atomization, and rancor that have produced President Trump and the cohort of authoritarian demagogues who are shredding the liberal civic order across the globe. Their practice, as Theodore Roosevelt memorably characterized it, has been to “bring about as much financial stress as possible, in order to discredit the policy of the Government … so that they may enjoy unmolested the fruits of their own evil-doing. [T]hey have misled many good people into believing that there should be such reversal of policy.…”

So what, you might ask, if self-aggrandizing, self-exculpating donors get their names on university buildings but don’t meddle directly in what’s taught inside them? So what if, for example, a center for journalism at Harvard is housed in A. Alfred Taubman Hall, where I and many other journalists on fellowships have produced noble assessments of our craft, some of us even challenging premises and practices not unlike those that made Taubman rich?

Again, it ought to matter at Yale, where students and faculty argued furiously in the 2015–2016 academic year about whether to rename the university’s John C. Calhoun College in order to cease honoring that defender of slavery and white supremacy, even as they celebrated or accepted silently the renaming of the Commons for Schwarzman.

For Schwarzman, politics is just another market investment. Assessing his preferences through that prism, he hedged his bets at first in 2016 by donating to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. But after the primaries, as The Washington Post reported, he met with Trump, whom he’d known for years. During that period, Schwarzman’s Blackstone real estate division lent $312 million to Kushner Cos., a company owned by the family of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and its Brooklyn partner. And immediately after Trump’s victory in the general election, Schwarzman donated $250,000 to his inaugural committee—the first of “a surge in donations that has made him one of the biggest financial supporters of the president and the Republican National Committee,” the Post noted.

Soon he was chairing the new president’s Strategic and Policy Forum of corporate CEOs. Schwarzman notoriously stuck with Trump even after most of the forum’s members departed in recoil at the president’s racially divisive remarks about the white supremacist torchlight parade and riot in Charlottesville. On election night 2018, Schwarzman sat alongside Trump in the White House, watching returns from races in which he’d donated $7.25 million through super PACs in a failed effort to keep the Republican grip on Congress.

Schwarzman is also Trump’s most important business emissary to China, where Blackstone has done billions of dollars in business. And in October 2019, he went to Riyadh for a Saudi-sponsored “Future Investment Initiative Forum”—an event that business and political leaders had boycotted in 2018 to protest the Saudis’ murder of dissident writer and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In 2019, though, Schwarzman, Mnuchin, and hundreds of others attended, oblivious of objections such as former World Bank senior manager Paul Cadario’s comment to The New York Times, “I’m not sure what has changed since last year when the World Bank and the world community said we are not going to be a party to corruption, harassment of dissidents and to extrajudicial killings.” Schwarzman moderated a conversation in Riyadh with Jared Kushner, who announced that “enthusiasm for [President Trump] right now at home is stronger than it’s ever been.” They might as well have been dancing on Khashoggi’s grave, not least because Trump considers the Times and the Post “enemies of the people.”

In 2017, undergraduate Yale Daily News reporters had published a series of damning exposés on Schwarzman’s portfolio and ethical profile. As I noted in Dissent, Yale administrators tried to make them apologize to Schwarzman. (They refused, and one of them is now working for The New York Times.) But there were not widespread protests against the proposed center, and one student, a fellow of the conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. Program, published a column in the Yale Daily News titled “In Defense of Schwarzman.”

Controversies about racism and sexism on campus and in high-profile national incidents understandably preoccupy college students more than do the inner workings of global financialization. But the intense moralism in those controversies, and their reverent invocations of “diversity” and “identity,” suggest a desperation to excuse or cover the soulless Mammonism that grips students seeking to carve out competitive edges in the world that Stephen Schwarzman has made. They find themselves scrambling toward a protected prosperity whose injustices and inequalities inevitably deepen sexism and racism among those who lose out. The true and urgent claims of #MeToo or Black Lives Matter can be compromised by the implausible presumption that breaking a structure’s glass ceilings necessarily reconfigures its walls and foundations. Absent that, we too often see glass-ceiling breakers such as Trump Cabinet secretaries Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Elaine Chao heedlessly defile our civic birthright—alongside similar ceiling-smashing Silicon Valley malefactors such as Peter Thiel and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Liberal-arts colleges and their graduates might better draw inspiration from Schwarzman’s own high school in Abington, Pennsylvania. In 2018 he offered its school board $25 million to rename his old school the Abington Schwarzman High School. But so many of the school’s students and parents, together with other community members, rose to protest their institution’s renaming to honor, in perpetuity, one of Trump’s collaborators that Schwarzman had to settle for his name on a new science and technology center.

Even that compromise is a civil war’s distance from what Yale should accept, much less honor. When the university announced Schwarzman’s donation in 2015, no one foresaw Trump’s presidential candidacy, let alone his victory. And now that the reconstruction of the Commons is well underway, opponents of honoring one of Trump’s favorite sons of Yale may feel just as lonely as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison, or John Brown felt while challenging slavery in the 1840s and 1850s, when it was still securely legal—indeed, constitutional—and, in many Americans’ eyes, morally acceptable.

Ultimately, abolition of the monstrosity of abducting and enslaving millions of Africans required something beyond moderation and compromise among slavery’s opponents and “statesmanlike” defenders, such as Calhoun, and ambivalent apologists (including even Abraham Lincoln, who long prioritized saving the Union above emancipating the slaves). The only thing that may now forestall the threat of violence among the opponents and defenders of what the rampant financialization of honor, faith, and everything else is doing to America would be a similar mass awakening. We need to acknowledge that even as unmoored financing brings new brick and mortar and the apparent bloom of fresh health to some institutions, it’s robbing its putative beneficiaries of the opportunity to exercise and cultivate the dignity and freedom of full citizens.

Derivative-driven, supposedly seamless finance capital has become so destructive and immoral as to bear comparison to—though not be equated with—the vast gulag of slavery that Calhoun defended and that Lincoln temporized about until well into the Civil War. “There’s a word we can use,” Danielle Allen writes,

to describe a condition when people feel helpless, whipsawed, and disconnected from the levers of personal and economic autonomy when people feel trapped in a particular place and circumstance when decisions about one’s life and work and mode of cultural existence seem to rest in the hands of others when even personal property seems to be evanescent, or nonexistent, or on loan. It’s an extreme word, but let’s put it on the table. The word is serfdom.

Curiously, Allen’s Atlantic colleague Appelbaum parses the polarization over slavery in the 1850s to contend that now, as then, the United States needs a moderate, center-right party and presidency—he may have Michael Bloomberg in mind—to fend off alt-right extremists and leftists who provoke them. But has Appelbaum considered that if slavery’s defenders had reacted more moderately to abolitionist attacks, such as John Brown’s at Harper’s Ferry, not only might the Civil War have been averted, but slavery would have been continued? Does he think that Americans should have settled for that?

David W. Blight, a professor of African American Studies at Yale and the biographer of Frederick Douglass, reminds us in that same issue of The Atlantic that in 1847 Frederick Douglass announced, “I have no love for America, as such,” because “The institutions of this country do not know me, do not recognize me as a man…. I desire to see its overthrow as speedily as possible, and its Constitution shivered in a thousand fragments.” Although Douglass became hopeful after the Civil War and Emancipation that a cosmopolitan republic would absorb and uplift all of its citizens and newcomers, Blight makes clear that Douglass never believed that moderation and compromise in the 1850s could have opened that bright prospect.

Nor, I fear, can we expect now, as confidently as some of us once did not so long ago, a continued advance of the opportunities and moral equity limned in Emma Lazarus’s famous poem “The New Colossus,” which was inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty when the frontier and demand for labor were still huge. We can’t blame the country’s increasingly unnerving defaults of opportunity and common purpose on only alt-right white supremacists and Trump and his other acolytes, hoping that they and extremists on the other side will be sidelined by center-right moderates. Such reveries underestimate the growing power of crony and finance capital—a social formation that’s no longer just a bugaboo of dogmatic Marxists. We need to think inductively, not ideologically, about the horrors unfolding before us and within us.

Admittedly, this warning is as old as the American republic: “Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, / Where wealth accumulates, and men decay,” Oliver Goldsmith wrote in 1770. Greed antedated capitalism by millennia, and its condemnation by Old Testament prophets likewise well antedated its condemnation by Teddy Roosevelt. Whether Americans can reorganize an increasingly uncivil society now to meet the challenge of that warning is a question that not even our universities, try though they may to stand somewhat apart from markets and politics, can keep on finessing without losing their mission and their souls.

* The article has been updated to remove references to South Asian “sweatshops.” Blackstone formerly controlled Jack Wolfskin, a German outdoor brand that bought clothes at Indonesian factories. The article also misstated the co-founder of Time magazine.


Yale Vs Michigan?

I was admitted into Ross BBA and am planning on pursuing a dual-degree in CS . I was also admitted to Yale Econ and will also pursue a dual-degree in CS .

Ross #2 for Business (3-way tie)
Yale #1 Econ
Michigan #6/7 CS /CE
Yale is much lower for CS

I want to work in Wallstreet out of undergrad and am mainly focused on either investment banking ( GS , JP , MS hopefully) or private equity (idk but I heard Blackstone was amazing). I know that in a recent Wallstreet report, Michigan Ross was ranked #3 after Stern and Wharton for interviews secured. Yale was ranked in the 30s.

Finances are thankfully not an issue for me and I am an international student so both schools would cost the same basically.

Which school should I choose?

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Pick which school you like better, because they are going to be drastically different social and educational experiences.

This. You got into two good schools. Pick the one that will give you the better experience and that you feel more comfortable at. Personally, I'd opt for TSUN, but I'm also into College Football, College Basketball, and College Hockey.

Evidently some people really don't like our advice on this lol I'd probably go that route as well given that I would enjoy the big school atmosphere and love college football. At the end of the day, it's a personal choice based on what someone is looking for in college. Not every feels the need to have ivy league prestige.

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Yale by a million. Michigan places well because it has 30,000 students so obviously there's going to be some that land interviews and jobs. Yale is a ton smaller and has way less kids interested in finance, so they might not be at the top of lists of schools with the most alumni on Wall Street, but it is one of the most respected schools in the country and no one can claim that they are equally prestigious.

Understood, but Ross only has 400-500 graduates so I don't think it'd be 30,000 vs. Yale's capacity.

Does the Ivy/Yale brand matter that much? Rankings-wise, I've noticed that Michigan outplaces Yale in these disciplines, so does Yale's prestige elevate it above Michigan?

Yes. I go to an ivy that is worse than Yale and it was immensely helpful during recruiting.

Also, my other feedback is that Yale will open any door you want it to. Ross might open a lot of the same doors to finance, but if you decide halfway through college that you want to go into consulting, law, medicine, or literally anything, you can do that from Yale because the school is so respected. Michigan is a good school, but it is just not on the same tier as Yale.

Rankings by subject are only really relevant for graduate programs -- typically people discredit the importance of '[X field] rankings]' for undergrads as the overall reputation of the institution tends to be wayy more important.

Yale, unless there is a huge difference in costs and you are financially strained. Blackstone will be tough though, asides from Wharton and Harvard- hiring from other ivies and all T20 schools tend to be on a 1 or 2 off scenario.

So costs thankfully aren't an issue. Could you just enlighten me on this because I've seen that Michigan outranks Yale for CS by a lot and has the #2 business school after Wharton, so does Yale's prestige matter that much?

I read that Blackstone would be difficult but how much for both Yale and Michigan if you know?

Why do you keep mentioning CS? No interviewer will care about that. If you want to pursue CS , go for it, but don't delude yourself into thinking it'll help for IB .

Yale, and thats coming from someone at Ross

Yale will open up way more doors in terms of Wall Street recruiting, too. There are plenty of places that recruit there that won't recruit at Michigan (e.g. Crestview).

With all that said, I think you're missing the biggest point here. Yale's prestige is not for no reason. You will be constantly surrounded by some of the smartest 18-22 years olds on earth and get broad exposure to the liberal arts. College is about way more than just getting a job.

Go to Yale and don't look back.

To your point about college being more than just about getting a job, that seems like it lends itself towards Michigan. Big 10, State School, College Football, huge undergrad and greek life.

Depends on what you prefer for social life. Dominance of greek life, size of the student body, type of people who go there - obviously they're very different vibes so if OP has a strong preference they could choose to have a great 4-year experience over the more prestigious school, knowing they'll have to work hard to make up for it later.

Alright, I understand your point about Yale. I was wondering how far off would Ross be from Yale in terms of Wallstreet brand and recruitment?

I get the prosperity of Yale's liberal arts education but won't I still be taking good classes in Liberal Arts at Michigan? Surely, the top 10-20 schools in these categories are not vastly different from each other.

Also, while I haven't attended both universities, from reading many forums, I've heard that the average Michigan student will be let's say less capable/less interested in studies, but the top 30-40%, which I think I'll be interacting within Ross and CS , will be comparable to the Yale student body. Again, I'm not experienced in both schools but that seems reasonable.

You hit the nail on the head. Your experience is going to be DRASTICALLY different at these schools. Yes, the Yale name is better on a global scale. But if you want a great name (Ross) AND the quintessential "Big Ten/Sports/Parties experience, it is hard to beat Michigan. It just is. Michigan is the number 1 or 2 public university in the country, and unless you're the intellectual type who doesn't care really about sports, Michigan is most likely going to be a ton more fun than Yale. Plus, it's arguable that you have a better shot at getting into a top BB or EB from Ross because there's going to be more alums at those places who can potentially help you out. As someone said, there's not a great deal of Yale grads in finance, and that's not a good thing the more alumni there are at a bank for you, the better.

End of the day, go with your gut. If you're not successful in life, it's not gonna be because you shunned Yale and, instead, "made the mistake" of going to the number 2 undergrad business school in the country.

I would personally assume anyone who chose Ross over Yale did it for the money (or is lying about getting into Yale for clout), as there isn't really another good reason in my mind.

Michigan has Yale beat ranking and overall experience wise, but people in finance are still obsessed with the Ivy League moniker. Strange in my opinion, but Yale.

In what universe does Michigan have Yale beat rankings wise?

of course Yale! it's Ivy League. That will always hold value.

Nobody looks at rankings once they're in the industry. Yale has a much better brand and reputation, and it's not even close for getting into IB . Top ivies just have a different "wow" factor

How about Cornell Johnson for your MBA?

I don't think Cornell Johnson is considered a "top Ivy."

Bro how are you still deciding, this was supposed to be decided on may lmao

Hahahaha I got off the Yale waitlist recently.

Oh god. Don't be stupid and make your life harder. You'll be one in a million interested in finance at Ross. Take Yale 10/10 times.

I'm trying to make the most well-informed decision here. This will stick with me for the rest of my life. I'm willing to make my life slightly harder now to make the best decision overall.

Also, Ross isn't as finance-centric as you describe it to be (relative to Wharton and Stern at least). It's definitely diverse when it comes to business fields.

You will not regret choosing an ivy, especially Yale

I'm a Wharton grad. Your undergrad will stick with you for the rest of your life. You might not be in finance for the rest of your life, but I'd rather have Yale's network of politicians, consultants, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc than nearly any other school, including mine.

Do you care at all about having fun in undergrad? Genuine questions.

Obviously, I'd like to have fun but my career placement matters drastically more. I'm willing to suffer a bit if it means I'll be at a better place out of undergrad. With that being said, I do think I'll have reasonable amounts of fun at both places (Michigan probably a lot more).

Coming from a Michigan guy, landing interviews is far easier with a top Ivy attached to your name. Takes a lot more scrapping to land top interviews from Michigan as compared to H/Y/P/S/Wharton, even if it is an incredibly fun institution with a large alumni base.

Yale is fun asf and has a great party culture from visiting friends there -- tho I'm not personally super duper into frat life and sports

This answer is obvious - Yale.

HAIL TO THE VICTORS. Tbh you'll probably have an easier time recruiting at Yale but your experience will be much more enjoyable at Michigan. GO BLUE.

Yale student recruiting for SA2021

1) You aren't "admitted" into a major at Yale, you can change literally whenever to just about anything (besides the few majors that require a specific application. Based on how much of a hardo you already are, you're probably gonna try and double major in Econ+CS and Global Affairs or EP&E, I can already tell)

10% actually taking it seriously and doing prep, whereas the other 10% throw in an application and say fuck it (some still get jobs this way, too). That just doesn't happen at places besides HYPSMW

4) Yale has a much better international student scene. Shit's lit out here, so many internationals - 11% of campus is "international" but in reality it's more like 20% because of the way international students are counted (citizenship, where they have homes, etc.)

6) There are opportunities you will only get from going to one of HYPSMW. Certain niche boutiques only recruit at these.

7) If you ever at any point decide to do something besides banking, Yale is the more valuable degree

8) (underrated) if you go to Ross, you will have to be near perfect on your technicals/pure finance knowledge. From an LA background like Yale, we get leniency during interviews.

10) You're drastically overvaluing the importance of "department" ranking. Nobody gives a damn that Stern or whatever is the #2 business program when you compare it to Harvard, for example. CS . Yale is making massive investments & hiring hella new profs, not my field but I know the head of the department pretty well and they're very serious about it. I have friends at Google, FB, Snap, Amazon , Apple, Microsoft, etc all ranging from SWE to Product Management to strategy and so on. Also, department rankings are heavily skewed towards graduate research output. why would you care about what some PhD CS candidate was doing?

11) do you really think the top 30-40% of Ross is comparable to Yale? This isn't me trying to be elitist but. for 99% of Americans who haven't bled big blue since birth, they'd go to Yale. I know countless kids from Michigan/who got into UMich here. Yes there are definitely plenty of non-Ivy kids that are just as smart/talented as those at Ivies, but the ones at Ivies usually got in for a reason -- they're as smart/talented and generally have a few other qualities about them that make them stand out. They're rich as balls (billions), world champions at something obscure like bridge or polo, world class musicians, elite athletes (Ivies actually win a lot of national championships at the highest college level in the USA. Yale's lacrosse, crew, sailing teams are as good if not better than any other in the country, for example), SOMETHING that differentiates them

12) Michigan will obviously provide a more "fun" experience, but Yale honestly is a good and fun time (in non-Corona circumstances), as long as you're not some weird finance hardo like most of the people on this website are


Watch the video: 2. The Dark Ages (January 2022).