Category Archive 'Yale Class of 1970'
18 Jun 2018

The Arrogance of the Ill-Educated Elite

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Joseph Pearce responds with understandable frustration to the chief problem of our time: the combination of arrogance with lack of real education.

Recently, sitting in traffic, I saw this .. bumper sticker on the car in front of me… which declared the following: “What you call the Liberal Elite, we call being well-educated.” …

Clearly designed to offend other motorists, it is supremely supercilious and extremely arrogant. We, the average Joe, whoever we may be, are not as “well-educated” as the royal “we” driving the car in front of us. This pompous “we,” who is presumably a she, presumes that anyone who disagrees with her is poorly educated, whereas she, of course, is well-educated. If we were as well-educated as she, we would agree with her.

To be fair to her, she is basing her presumption on data that shows that those who are “well-educated” tend to vote for the Democrats whereas those who are less “educated” tend to vote Republican. She votes Democrat because she is well-educated. We, who are presumed to be Republicans (because we are presumed to be stupid), complain that those who are better educated than us (and are therefore better than us) are part of an elite.

The problem is that her education is not as good as she thinks it is. …

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of philosophy, or, if she does, she will believe that there was no philosophy worth taking seriously before René Descartes. She will know nothing of the philosophy of the Greeks, of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and still less of the great Christian philosophers, such as Augustine or Aquinas. Insofar as she’s even heard of these people, she will presume that they did not know what they were talking about: “What the ancient philosophers call error, we call being well-educated.”

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of history, or, if she does, she will know it only from her own twenty-first century perspective, or from the twenty-first century perspective of those who taught it to her. History is not about learning from the people of the past, their triumphs and their mistakes, but is about sitting in judgment on the stupidity of our ancestors, who are presumed to be unenlightened, or at least not as enlightened as she is or her teachers are. “What the people of the past believed to be immoral, we call being well-educated.”

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of great literature, or, if she does, she will have misread it from the perspective of her own twenty-first century pride and prejudice, or from the proud and prejudiced twenty-first century perspective of those who taught her. She would not think of trying to read the great authors of the past through their own eyes because, living in the past, such authors lack the sense and sensibility which she has.


The usual argument over free enterprise versus the regulatory administrative state economy erupted over the weekend on my Yale class list. The usual three classmates who’d operated businesses defended freedom against the larger group of lefties who’d spent careers in academia.

The left-wing arguments were, as usual, actually embarrassing expressions of relativism combined with glib attempts to deflect substantive points by simple word-play. Reading the leftists’ efforts at debate, it is impossible to avoid noticing that what they really believe in is the absolute reliability of the consensus opinion of the community of fashion. The common culture of the establishment elite cannot possibly be wrong.

They fail to recognize at all just how dramatically that consensus has changed, even within their own adult lifetimes, because the accepted narrative is everything, History and Reality are nothing.

Their Cliff-Notes-based education has merely trained these people in the skillful manipulation of numbers, symbols, and ideas. Each of them is, of course, competent, even excellent, in some professional specialty, but if the gods of fashionable opinion decreed that college professors should go around barking like dogs, our universities would sound exactly like hunt kennels. They could be persuaded to accept anything, and they view with bitter hatred and disdainful contempt anyone daring to dissent.

27 Aug 2016

50 Years On

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The Yale Class of 2020 arrived yesterday.

I felt older than dirt yesterday, when I (a member of the Yale Class of 1970, which arrived in New Haven in early September, 1966) got to read, via the Yale News:

(emphasis added)

Members of the Yale College Class of 2020 will arrive on campus today, taking part in one of the university’s most beloved traditions: freshman move-in day. The 1,373 new freshmen traveled from all 50 states and 50 different foreign countries to New Haven, where Yale President Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway, the deans and heads of the 12 residential colleges, and hundreds of student volunteers will officially welcome the newest members of the Yale community. …

More than 12% of the class attended high school abroad, and more than 60% of students from the United States attended a public high school [Up a whopping 2% in 50 years! –JDZ].

Students in the class speak more than 60 different languages, and 36% of freshmen speak a language other than English at home. Their hometowns range in size from fewer than 200 to more than 10 million. More than 200 freshmen are eligible for a federal Pell grant for low-income students, and 52 will receive a new Yale College Start-up Fund as part of the new $2 million undergraduate financial aid initiative announced last December. …

The Class of 2020 will include more U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group (43%), more students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college (15%), more international students (12%), and more students who are planning to major in a science or engineering field (46%) than any previous class in the university’s history. The class was selected from Yale’s largest-ever freshman applicant pool, which saw record numbers of applications in all of the above groups. A detailed profile of the Class of 2020 is available on the undergraduate admissions website, …

[T]he new freshmen all share an impressive record of academic success, extracurricular accomplishment, and community engagement, said Quinlan, noting that admitted students have reached some of the highest possible levels of achievement in the performing arts, scientific research, creative writing, global and community-based service leadership, athletics, entrepreneurship, technology, and political activism.

Members of the freshman class hold patents and run their own businesses. Their scientific pursuits have earned recognition from Intel, FIRST Robotics, the Siemens Foundation, Google, and Apple. They have performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. They have designed software that thousands of people use around the world. Their activism has spurred the creation of new academic courses, new laws, and new international organizations. Their writing has reached thousands of people through international publications and prestigious award programs. They have won state, regional, and national athletic competitions. Many have balanced their academic and extracurricular pursuits with extensive paid work experiences and caregiving responsibilities to support their families.

Yale 1970 differed from Yale 2020 in being about a third smaller. Our class was made up of 1025 “male leaders.” No coeducation yet back then.

But Yale was no less boastful back then about Yale’s commitment to meritocracy:

[T]he Class of 1970, arrived on campus in the fall of 1966. It was composed of 58 percent public school students, the highest percentage of high school students of any class in Yale history, and a jump from 52 percent the previous year. The class drew on more public schools than any other class (478), but also more private schools (196).

For the first time, the rate of matriculation of financial aid applicants was higher than for non-financial aid applicants. Financial aid jumped to nearly $1 million, 30 percent above what it had been the year before; gift aid from the University increased by almost 50 percent. The class included more minorities of every kind. …

The Class of 1970 entered with the highest SAT scores in Yale’s history; a student who scored its mean SAT verbal mark of 697 would have been in the 90th percentile of the Class of 1961, and the 75th percentile of the Class of 1966. Put in a national context, half of the incoming freshmen scored in the top 1 percent nationally on the verbal SAT. These SAT marks were higher than those scored by the incoming class at Harvard, also a first for Yale. By year’s end, the Class of 1970 would score an average mark of 81, another school record. [Grades were numerical and very stingy back then. -JDZ]

How else were things different?

I expect you would have seen a lot fewer freshman moving in dressed in short pants.

There were a lot fewer African Americans, and those who were admitted got in much more on the up-and-up. Totally blatant Affirmative Action had yet to arrive. There were basically no Asians or Hispanics or Amerindians at all. A 43% class composition today of self-identified whiny minorities vulnerable to trigger warnings and looking for safe spaces, lest somebody fail to protect them from uncomplimentary Halloween costumes, strikes me as very possibly excessively large.

We certainly had nothing like a third of the class coming from non-English-speaking homes.

We had, we thought, pretty good geographical distribution from all over the United States, but nothing like 12% of foreigners. When, one wonders, did Yale acquire such a major and distinct responsibility for supplying international leadership?

Looking at the detailed 2020 Class profile, I see that 13% are legacies. I am smiling reading that, because the 1999 “Birth of a New Institution” article was bragging that Inky Clark reduced legacy admissions (for my own era) to between “14.5 percent and 12 percent.”

1970 vs. 2020:

58% public school vs. 60% public school

“between 12 and 14.5% legacies” vs. 13% legacies

La plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

05 Oct 2014

So Do People Who Were Brainwashed at Ivy League Schools

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This liberal douchebag is my Yale classmate David Quammen. Quammen can write very well. Quammen can do a terrific job of research. He just can’t think straight. He can’t make sensible judgements because his head is stuffed full of stupidity.

Quammen is currently poised to make a potfull of money. He is a long-time Nature writer, and has recently made a personal specialty of publishing books on zoonotic diseases, diseases like rabies, Ebola, influenza, West Nile, which originate in wild animals and then are transmitted to humans. He’s got a new book, Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus, coming out on October 20th, which could hardly be better timed to sell like hotcakes.

But, when you are deciding whether or not to buy David Quammen’s latest screed, first note the perspective that the author recently shared with NPR:

Human behavior is causing this problem. More and more, we’re going into wild, diverse ecosystems around the world, especially tropical forests.

Some scientists believe that each individual species of animal, plant, bacterium and fungus in these places carries at least one unique virus, maybe even 10 of them.

We, humans, go into those wild ecosystems. We cut down trees. We build mines, roads and villages. We kill the animals and eat them. Or we capture them and transport them around the world.

In doing that, we expose ourselves to all these viruses living around the world. That gives the viruses the opportunity to spill over into humans. Then in some cases, once the virus makes that first spillover, it discovers that it might be highly transmissible in humans. Then you might have an epidemic or a pandemic.

Dave Quammen is a typical 1960s Yale genius. You can’t isolate or quarantine Liberia during an epidemic of an extraordinarily dangerous, usually lethal, disease, no, no, no! It would never work and besides, it would be WRONG. But you can, tra-la! isolate the natural world generally, and especially all tropical wildernesses, from all human economic activity, residence, or new colonization. The latter is perfectly feasible. Right, Dave!

09 Aug 2011

The Democrat Party Left Looks Exactly Like a Coyote Just Now

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One of my left-wing classmates this morning was blaming the federal credit downgrade on the Tea Party, describing Tea Party-ers as worse than 19th century Know Nothings and referring to them as “Talibanic zealots.” He attacked the patriotism of the Tea Party movement, and predicted that the American masses would wake up when the New Deal safety net began to unravel. All this, he said, made his stomach churn.

I replied:

It is grotesque in the extreme to find political Philistines, oblivious to the philosophic foundations and the Constitutional intent of the founders of their own country, a group of reactionary ideologues clinging to outdated, historically-refuted late-19th-century Utopian visions of heaven on earth and equality of economic results between the provident and the reckless, the educated and the uneducable, the law-abiding and the criminal, the industrious and the idle achieved by the rule of scientism through the medium of socialism and collectivist statism, referring to people with a far more sophisticated and accurate understanding of economics, political philosophy, and America history as primitive zealots.

With a very special kind of irony, we find today all the patriots who stabbed their own contemporaries fighting for freedom overseas in the back, the same people who waved North Vietnamese flags and chanted “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh…,” the patriots who are always telling us how disgraceful American history was until they came along, now waving the flag and demanding that we support their fiscal excesses out of patriotism.

The safety net constructed since collectivism’s heyday in America is already unraveling. It was always a Ponzi scheme and it has arrived at the inevitable endpoint of all such schemes. Demographics is no longer working on its side. It was only in the imaginations of ideologues that all this was ever permanently sustainable. Reality has refuted the left’s theories again.

You can pray aloud and whistle in the dark and spout this kind of nonsense about the masses “awakening” to agree with your own insanity, but the reality is that the apolitical, pragmatic mass portion of the country has already had its rude awakening. They elected the second leftist president in our adult lifetimes, and his regime has succeeded in surpassing the debacle of his predecessor. What you are going to get is a landslide election that will consign Obama, the democrat party, and the welfare entitlement state to the rubbish-heap of history to repose discarded beside the rest of the entire collection of intellectual dead ends and political mistakes. Well might your stomach churn.

Cartoon via Theo.

28 Jan 2010

Scott Drum on the Liberal Approach to Economics and Obama’s Spending Freeze

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Classmate Scott Drum (a businessman) tries to explain reality to the liberals on our class email list:

Democrats have always had teenager’s approach to household economics. Someone else provides all of the money, and while they may have a vague understanding of how that happens, their primary focus is sparring over how it gets distributed and spent. These issues should be decided by who has the best ideas and who can build the most compelling and emotional stories — but Dad, EVERYONE has a car. It’s not FAIR! Think of all the good things I could do with it! Little thought is given to how it affects Dad’s ability or willingness to bring in more money or what might happen if he were to get sick or lose his job. Because, well, that’s HIS responsibility to us, isn’t it? And if he doesn’t come through, we’ll just scream “I hate you” and tell everyone how mean he is.

Except that in the real world Dad’s interest and ability to keep funding the family is affected by how he’s treated and how the kids spend his money. You simply can’t go on spending sprees, pile up debt, waste money on unproductive pork projects, vilify and punish the very people you’re depending on to produce the money you’re itching to spend. Economic growth and government growth are simply inversely correlated. I know that’s inconvenient, but it’s reality, and eventually people aren’t going to keep lending you more money when you ignore that. The other economic reality is that increasing taxation inhibits growth as well, so the circle of spending and taxing is counterproductive as well. The only way you succeed is with high levels of growth – which requires making it attractive to earn and invest and not spending money on satisfying, but unproductive things. Screaming at Dad, telling him he’s not being fair, and making life difficult for him might make you feel better, but it’s not going to get you where you need to go.

and, mocking the Obama federal spending freeze:

When I opened up my Visa statement, I discovered that my wife had charged a record amount on it last month. “Not to worry,” she told me. “I promise not to spend any more than I did last month – except of course what I have to spend on clothing, restaurants, groceries, home improvements, shoes, things for the kids and travel. My spending on cosmetics and aspirin will be absolutely frozen. Starting a year from now.”

10 Sep 2008

Explaining to Democrats Why They’re Doomed

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(This, of course, is really a recycled missive to the liberals of my college class list, in case anyone can’t tell.)

Don’t you liberals recognize that you’re wasting your time? Barring some remarkable unexpected development, we’re headed for another democrat debacle.

Face it. People who think like you have wildly different opinions, perspectives, life-styles, and values from the great majority of ordinary Americans, whom you don’t like very much anyway. The democrat party identifies with all sorts of craziness, so it shouldn’t really be surprising, I suppose, that it has internalized some of that craziness. Your party’s primary system is fatally flawed. The democrat party’s method of picking candidates is not democratic. (Obama won, though Hillary had a larger total of popular votes.) And it’s strongly biased to favor selection by your nutroots base of birdwatchers, tree huggers, malcontent pseudo-intellectual slackers, trustafarian bolsheviks, granola-crunching enviro whackjobs, and communists. The people who pick your presidential candidates don’t look like America. They look like the crowd at a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Show. Is it any wonder that you keep getting hosed?

Last time, you nominated an extremely liberal Eastern senator, who was a St. Paul’s nose-in-the-air snob, and a traitor, who proceeded to try running as a war hero. He managed to provoke every single officer he ever served under to come out publicly to denounce him, and an overwhelming majority of the men from his former naval unit collaborated on producing a book and a series of television commercials opposing his candidacy. He’s so lovable that, if John Kerry’s mother had still been alive, she’d might have been making Bush commercials, too. Frankly, I’m not sure my cat couldn’t have beaten John Kerry.

So, it’s back to the old drawing board. And, with a bit of aid from Hurricane Katrina, GOP Congressional scandals, and the MSM, you’re sitting pretty. It’s your year. And what do you do? You run out and nominate an exotic ultra-left Senator, the single most leftwing member of the Senate, who has not even served a single full term, because he’s pretty and gave one good speech. How could someone like that possibly lose?

Hillary tried nationalizing the health care system back in the 1990s, and the result was the first Republican Congressional Majority since the Korean War. You people are convinced Americans want another New Deal. It keeps coming as a shock every time we vote you down. You think Americans want their guns confiscated, and their kids taught political correctness and instructed on how to put condoms on cucumbers. You think America should lose in Iraq, and that our government should apologize and suck up to foreign countries. The vast majority of Americans want none of the above. The democrat minority thinks that people like themselves are wiser and better than everybody else, when the truth is they are still the weirdos, a minority of obnoxious egotistical misfits that nobody liked during high school, and nobody likes now.

01 Jul 2008

People Used to Eat Loons

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Loon Decoy, Nova Scotia

One of my liberal college classmates was recently ranting about the terrible growth of Inequality over the whole post-Reagan period of the ascendancy of Conservatism in American politics, which roughly coincided, interestingly enough, with most of our own real, post-age-30, adulthoods.

Another classmate effectively rebutted those assertions of declining middle-class economic well-being by pointing out how much had changed with respect to lifestyle and expectations in America during that time, as well as over our own lifetimes. We approaching-age-60 adults can remember not only a world with no personal computers, no cell phones, and no multiple family automobiles. We can remember the time of no televisions, no air conditioners, party-line telephones, and a lot of people owning no automobile at all.

One can see the dramatic impact on human life of the economic growth produced by the free economy just by looking at antique artifacts of everyday life. Those charming collectible pieces of folk art being sold at auction for high prices to serve in future as decorative art not so terribly long ago were practical tools.

Take the charming, somewhat primitive, stark and streamlined decoy above, found in Nova Scotia, going on the block at a Guyette & Schmidt Auction later this month. Someone will be proudly displaying it soon in his living room or den but, less than a century ago, it was bobbing in some cove or inlet along the shore as a hunter was trying to shoot… a loon.

The common loon, Gavia immer, is protected today, and most people would find the idea of shooting one of these iconic symbols of the Northern wilderness sacrilegious and the idea of cooking and eating one even less appealing.

Loons are pretty much the lowest evolutionary form of waterfowl, the most primitive and the boniest, featuring the toughest flesh and the fishiest taste. No one would eat loon if he could get coot or even merganser.

Loons were so renowned for their lack of gustatory appeal that a whole genre of loon recipes taking roughly the following form are traditional jokes.

Catch a Loon Duck. (Black Lake Loon’s are best). Pluck and clean. Boil well. With sharp knife, split duck down the belly. Splay it on a well soaked hardwood plank. Nail it good and wire it securely. Place upright on plank in front of hot coals on outdoor fireplace. Cook well for about two hours. When done, throw that fishy duck away, and eat the plank!

But, in the old days, people really did hunt loons in order to eat them. There would be periods of the year when the more migratory waterfowl were not present and available in the North Country. Ducks and geese would have flown South, but you could still find loons.

Even in Nova Scotia, I expect it’s been a long, long time since anybody was reduced to dining on loon.

07 Feb 2008

Election Year Thoughts From Classmate Poet

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Rodger Kamenetz (a liberal resident of New Orleans) writes on our class list:

Since I’m in sabbatical, I may — may– get up at 7 so I can wait in line
at 7:45 (when doors open) to hear Barack Obama on the Tulane Campus
(a few blocks away from me.)
I may…
I am skeptical about Obama– hugely.
But I understand he will be dropping a lot of g’s and I thought I’d collect some…
Hillary is more like a very familiar annoying relative you have to include because she’s family.
McCain.. he’s grandpa by the fireplace telling war stories…
Ron Paul is a nutty uncle… Huckabee is like a door to door salesman
who ends up not only selling you a vacuum cleaner but sponging a meal.
Romney is clearly not of the human species, & I wonder if there’s a way to replace his batteries.

O America I love you but how did we get here…

Barack Obama and all his rivals have done an excellent job of getting Americans on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum to get beyond their differences and share nearly identical low opinions of the available candidates this year.

09 Jan 2008

From My Class’s Email List

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Liberal classmate:

Having attributed Hillary’s win in New Hampshire to her crying [that was crying?] and showing that she had human emotions [apparently previous to this voters in New Hampshire did not know she was human], the CNN pundit invoked the “one-cry” rule, and pontificated that she cannot cry in any other state.

Conservative classmate:

It’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to.

04 Jul 2007

Happy Dependence Day!


Classmate Scott Drum today (on the class email list today) wished our class’s lefties:

A Happy Dependence Day!

I think I should pass along those wishes to the American left as a whole.

25 Jun 2007

Arguing Iraq, Again (From My Class Email List)

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Liberalism is more than a little inadvertently comedic.

First of all, it operates in an ahistoric context. There is no history. WWII never happened. Thus, it is possible to believe that “planetary morality is the only answer. Force alone is a tool to patch things temporarily, but in the 50-100 year perspective, finding some common ground for coexistence is essential.” Because no one can possibly conquer and subdue, then remake his adversary’s culture by force. “We can’t impose it.” The fact that we did impose it, i.e., democracy, on two peoples a lot tougher than the Arabs mysteriously disappears from the world inhabited by the liberal.

Secondly, with liberalism comes a lack of confidence, a self doubt, which Hamlet could envy. The liberal cannot fight for his own cause and defeat his enemy. He has to have his enemy’s permission. And he can only undertake any effort in the midst of a coalition, a coalition including all of his own rivals and all the states making profits via illegal arms trades with the enemy, too. It would just be too scary to go it alone. The liberal cannot simply make war. Any military operation cannot be for his own country. It must be a philanthropic exercise benefiting the enemy. The Marines will storm their beaches, and then improve their infrastructure. The 82nd Airborne will drop in behind enemy enemies, and build a power plant and a school. If the US invasion fleet steamed up to Normandy in our time, and the Germans in the bunkers on the beaches failed to hold up “Welcome to France – Thanks for Liberating Us!” signs, our liberals would believe we were obliged to turn around, and simply steam away.

What I want to know is: how come this kind of thinking doesn’t apply to domestic conflicts with conservatives and Republicans?

18 May 2007

John Bolton Versus Pompous British Interviewer

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John Bolton delighted Richard at EU Referendum with his combative performance in an interview conducted by snidely superior BBC “presenter” John Humphrys.

BBC radio 18:48 interview

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