Photo credit: City Journal.
Some in the liberty movement, but especially those in New York, may remember a tall, quiet, dignified gentleman who economized on words and often preferred to solicit the opinions of others over advancing his own. His name was George M. Yeager and he will be seen no longer. He left us on December 31 of last year, after dealing patiently and stoically with a variety of ailments.
George was a serious reader and thinker who appreciated history and its lessons. In December he recommended to me Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci and Andrew Robert’s Napoleon and I recommended to him Mary Beard’s SPQR and Bryan Ward-Perkins’s The Fall of Rome. (I regret that I’ll not be able to discuss his two latest recommendations with him.) With two other colleagues from Atlas Network, I was planning to see him in March and was looking forward, not only to swapping book recommendations, but to frank discussions of the future of the global economy, the increasingly bizarre contours of American politics, and much more.
George was a successful financial adviser who helped many to safeguard, expand, enjoy, and share their wealth and was well known on Wall Street for his approach to investing. He believed in the basics and directed capital toward long-term investment in firms that make the things he was pretty sure lots of people around the globe would still want to consume. He believed that private enterprise and free trade enriched the whole world; that free enterprise was the greatest engine for eliminating poverty and allowing people to live lives of dignity; and that toleration and voluntary action allowed us to live together in peace, so that each may pursue goodness, virtue, and beauty in his or her own way. His belief in the basics and in “common sense” also characterized his investment in the future of liberty, as he generously supported organizations such as Atlas Network, the Cato Institute, and the Manhattan Institute, through which he invested in the advance of timeless principles of personal responsibility and liberty, free enterprise and free trade, the rule of law and limited government. After years of generous support, he endowed Atlas Network with the George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty. It was a singular honor for me to be named the first occupant of that chair. It is a responsibility that I do not carry lightly.
George was a true “globalist” and loved to learn about and experience the best of the various cultures and civilizations of the world. He would ask me regularly about trip ideas and in his home in Antigua he had a world map with pins representing places he had visited, places he was planning to visit, and places he intended to plan to visit.
George had a full life, characterized by love, family, success, and wonder. He was a dear friend personally and a true friend of liberty.