I do not know who first called it "The Chicago School of Political Science." The Student, within his presumptuous circles, did not hear it called such. I never heard Mr. Charles E. Merriam use the name, yet he is usually mentioned as its Founder. Had you asked Mr. Nathan Leites, he would have looked surprised, lifted his eyebrows above his owlish spectacles, in his version of a look of scorn, and begun his inquisitorial pattern: "What do you mean by `school'? What is `political'? What is `science'?"
Since the student attended the very first course given by Mr. Leites, upon the departure of Mr. Harold D. Lasswell, and caught on rather well to his game, he would have retorted thus: "It is a fashionable juxtaposition of words conveying exaggeratedly the impression of a collective method ascribable to an association of known individuals, whereas the aggregate of commonalty of distinctive methodology in proportion to the total verbal and written output of those holding positions in the Department over the period, which may be termed 1920 to 1942, say, and the consensus of political attitudes within the same group, again distinctive vis a vis non-Departmental persons, are both small, whence the term may be deemed inappropriate, or appropriate, depending upon where you would find it useful for your stipulated purposes to draw the line." Having come that far, the Student would be ready to address himself to the question.
He had put in three years at the University honing his talents for the senior year's entrance into the Department of Political Science, and therefore had some foreknowledge of it. He worked for three years in this "School" proper, to wit, 1938 to 1941, less a semester at Columbia University in New York City and some weeks of travel in America and abroad. We can hardly count what he learned at the University while in residence and circulating about in its community in the postwar years from September 1945 to September 1948, since by that time the above criteria for a School would no longer apply. During this period, indeed, he considered himself atavistic, a species no longer extant in its original habitat, a specter on campus.
We could flatter him by recalling the ambiguities of membership and duration regarding the Peripatetic School of Aristotle in the Lyceum just outside the walls of Athens, not so much when it was founded (335 B.C. according to Diogenes Laertius, but there are some who say that Theophrastus actually set it up) as when it was ended (529 A.D. by an anti-Pagan decree of Justinian according to the conventional view, but more likely even before the end of the Roman Republic, for the Roman General Sulla carried off the tablets of Aristotle's writings in 86 B.C., from which time, or even before, philosophers were called peripatetic or aristotelian without their having to teach at the Lyceum), a much longer period in any event than the Chicago School has endured thus far, assuming something distinctive about it anyhow, but if so, then perhaps we shall have to wait until the year 4315 to see whether Chicago politicologists still existed.
But at least in the year 1947, the Student was introducing its Founder, Mr. Merriam, called by a number of his closer followers "the Chief", at a political gathering on South Cottage Grove Avenue, and praising him as one at whose feet he sat to learn, "as had Aristotle before Plato", and felt embarrassed afterwards because he had put himself unwittingly in the role of Aristotle. Actually he might have more accurately said, "learned from him in the cups," in reference to the Shoreland Hotel Bar where these two used to meet. In any case, as all the world knows, time has collapsed and a few years of our time equals a century of ancient time; coach to train, train to automobile, automobile to airplane, soon we shall disappear into thin air and get wherever by telepathy, "wishing will make it so."
Mr. Leites taught the Student other matters, specifically that "wishing will not make it so!" That is, he taught him how important it was to distinguish fact from preference in the analysis of social phenomena. Once the Student had mastered this idea, his arrogance knew no bounds. Mr. Leites taught him as well how to make an intricate analysis of social classes, basing class distinctions not only upon a material relationship to the means of production (as is Marxist analysis) but also upon historical perceptions and psychological expectations.
He urged the student to read and report orally in class upon the four volumes of Vilfredo Pareto's Mind and Society (Trattato di Sociologia Generale), which the Student accomplished poorly because he could not see the great importance attributed by Mr. Leites to Pareto, who, to the student's view, had sat within his castle in Piedmont and assembled, with the help of his mistress, and consoled by their numerous cats, a huge number of amusing clippings from European newspapers about the confabulations and shenanigans of nations and ruling elites, displaying in the process the outrageous illogic and special pleading that one found in the old journalism of Europe and was to be obtained even in the Chicago Tribune and the Hearst papers.
Pareto had analyzed the struggle for power as a contest between lions and foxes, represented largely by the militarists and churchmen against the businessmen and politicians. (He, Pareto, preferring the militarists if one read beneath the lines of his "objectivity," as did Mr. Leites, too, I fear.) The lions appealed to the basic instincts of the human animal, the foxes to the derivative or superficial, wheel-and-deal, often commercial instincts. Anyhow, Pareto was supposedly prefiguring Fascism and Nazism, and had already made a fool of the Socialist parties (this he had clearly done, but the Student had never been a socialist anyhow, unlike the multitude of European students with whom the lately arrived Eastern European Jewish Franco-Germanic educated Mr. Leites was so well-acquainted).
The closest thinker to Pareto yet alive was Roberto Michels whom Mr. Merriam had had the perspicacity to invite to lecture at Chicago sometime before the Student's arrival. Michels was then the best trained political sociologist in the world -- Max Weber would say so. His "Iron Law of Oligarchy" was imposingly developed to show that all groups ended in the hands of a few leaders, no matter how democratically conceived. But Michels was personally troublesome and probably disliked the larger ambiance of the "Hog Butcher of the World," and returned to Italy, where he maintained an uneasy but unthreatened relationship to the Fascists.
Now Mr. Leites did not lose hope in the Student and when the War came (the inevitable war, the Chicago Political Scientists had believed since 1933), he summoned him one day to write a pamphlet for the Anglo-dominated Chicago Foreign Policy Association on the subject, "America's Future if England Falls," (a poor prognosis was expected), which would place the request in the Spring of 1940, after France had fallen. Perhaps he had noticed, for he was observant of student life, even if he found social life difficult and stuck out like a sore thumb in a social gathering, that the Student was on the local Committee to Aid America by Aiding the Allies which the Kansas Editor William Alan White had started up and was spreading rapidly around the country and which Laura Bergquist, Editor of the Daily Maroon, and Hart Perry and his girl Beatty and Emmett Deadman and several other Big People on Campus had gathered together.
"Why shouldn't you write it yourself?" asked the Student of Leites, "You are much better equipped to do so."
But Mr. Leites would not have it that way. First, he could not write English in any manner that anyone could understand, practically perfect syntactically though it might be. Second, he existed in a straitjacket of science that would not permit him to "let himself go" into an advocacy of social causes, even were it to kill him not to do so.
Off went the Student with the commission, and speedily he returned with his essay. When, shortly thereafter, he took back the paper, it was mutilated beyond recognition,and he had a most enlightening session with Mr.Leites on logic, syntax, precision of language, self-awareness, guarding against the misapprehensions of readers, restricting the use of hyperbole, and an intimate appreciation of the forces at play in the world, such that he was never the same again -- traumatized, in a word, and all for the better.
The incident cannot be over-stressed. It would qualify among the top ten learning episodes of the Student's career. It would help prove the thesis that education may be a matter of quintessential brief occurrences, of quantavolutions, saltations, rather than incremental gradualism, of evolution.
But that was the end of the pamphlet that was intended to propel America into the War al piu presto possibile. It was submitted to the Council but not published. It was still too early to tell everybody that the country must in fact go to war. Events moved swiftly enough in that direction, anyhow. So its meagre help was not required.
Mr.Leites entered the Chicago scene as the matured protege' of Mr. Harold D. Lasswell, who carried all the stigmata of the Chicago School, but departed for the East, frustrated because he had not been granted a full tenured Professorship, and whom the Student finally tracked down and formed a friendship with in New York a year later. His departure was a blow from which the Chicago School could hardly recover, regardless of the brilliant qualities of his successor. Lasswell, as the cliche' goes, was "an authentic genius." He did not lecture in a conventional way. He wanted to know what the individual students were up to, and would have a few students convinced of his method, but even at Chicago he could not be a crowd-compeller. He was best in a seminar, speaking abundantly, disciplinedly, precisely, and informedly to the nth degree. (It might as well be said here: the Chicago School and its associated colleagues, unlike practically every departmental aggregation in the world, felt obliged to know everything that was being written, researched or accomplished otherwise in intellectual circles connected with their special field and adjoining fields, broadly construed, around the world. And this was before the age of computerized bibliographies, ca. 1965 ff. Apropos, the Library was a miracle of growth and quality -- the University was less than fifty years old, after all : senior students came to regard as a practical impossibility that a work of any consequence be absent from the collections, unless it were on order, stolen, or what was effectively as bad, on the shelves of instructors like Shils and Leites, damnable borrowers and holders of masses of books.)
Lasswell's books survived in the Department's collective mind his departure, a sign that possibly there was developing a real School. For, usually, in academe, gone the man, gone unused his works. One read as a primer his Politics: Who Gets What, When, How, a book that brought Machiavelli up to date, and provided a self-conscious framework for analyzing power. His Psychopathology and Politics shoved psychoanalytic theory unapologetically into political science and incurred great animosity among the conservative nincompoops who dominated that field. His World Politics and Personal Insecurity, scarcely intelligible in part, recaptured permanently a fruitful corner of the field that had been occupied generally by diplomats, journalists and old clubmen. His article on "The Psychology of Hitlerism" remains unsurpassed despite the tons of printed work on the subject since then, and, with Mr. Renzo Sereno, his Assistant who had been an assistant of the great political historian Gaetano Mosca at the University of Rome, he showed, by the statistics of changes in the backgrounds of Italian officeholders before and after Fascism, that a new political class had come into being. His study with Dorothy Blumenstock on the communists of the Chicago area, World Propaganda and Communications, pioneered the science of content analysis; it angered communists and fellow-travellers of the region, who were especially good at bad-mouthing their enemies to the point of making them even appear as communists to the FBI or whoever else was looking under the beds for reds. For Lasswell was also attacked for being a "Red," then, and later on, more harmfully.
He was the archetype of the Chicago School, born in small-town Illinois in 1902, a precocious student at the University who was granted a Ph.D. at the age of 24 years, a discerning young traveller in Europe whose letters to his parents are tops in epistolary Americana, writer of a dissertation that came to be called Propaganda Techniques in the World War, a classic of the literature of propaganda, devising new simple rubrics, researched under the direction of Mr. Merriam who had worked with Fiorello La Guardia as an Army Captain and propagandist in Italy during the War. Become a fast-moving Professor in the Department, Lasswell involved himself and his students heavily in studies of leadership, political psychology, social psychology, methodology, and semantics. Later on he would move also into jurisprudence and a theory of ethical behavior. To him, finally, human dignity became the paramount value. The Chicago period of Lasswell split abysmally from his later long life at Washington and Yale, when the two trucks carrying his total possessions and papers to the East collided and burned.
Departing just before Mr. Lasswell was Mr. Frederick Schuman, like the Student a Graduate of Lake View High School on the North Side of Chicago, whose books and influence were of the Chicago School genre and, like Lasswell's, constituted a heavy influence upon the resident Department population for years after his departure. These were a beautifully written liberal-minded Introduction to the Study of International Relations, and The Nazi Dictatorship, this a terrifying dissection of the mentality and conduct of Hitler and his followers. The Student read both books like love-letters. Schuman was an impressive lecturer, who should have been kept, a scientist and writer never to fully realize himself: he was tempted by an excellent place at Williams College, there to be saddled with a complacent conservative constituency.
Only one other person of the full faculty of the Department at this time bore the earmarks of the "School." This would be Mr. Harold F. Gosnell. He, too, worked with Merriam directly, and the two produced a study of "Non-Voting" in Chicago, which by the use of sampling, statistical analysis of voting records, and interviews, set new standards for empirical studies of political behavior. (It should be noted that the University of Chicago Press, in publishing this and many other studies of the social scientists of the University of Chicago, played a powerful assisting role in the development of the new Political Science in America. Rarely, if ever, has another University Press acted quite like this, nor does one today.)
Mr. Gosnell was a poor lecturer, devoid of what has come to be called charisma, and would, when speaking to a group or an individual, sometimes stop talking and simply stare at them with his simple round-lidded and round-bespectacled blue eyes coming out of a most undistinguished square face. He liked humor and iconoclasm in his assistants, unlike Merriam and others, and therefore took hold of some of the best of the students. He was not exactly a wit, the largest laugh in his class in years of experience erupting when, seeing the Student fall asleep, as he was wont to do in any class that occurred within three hours of lunchtime, and noting one or two others falling by the wayside, added to a statement that he was making about certain politicians, that they would be tortured by insomnia under the trying conditions of a political campaign, a failing that afflicted no one in the room.
His study of "Machine Politics: Chicago Model," combined several distinct methods of analysis in sophisticated form; never had a dominating political organization been so well explained: with a statistical analysis of election returns; with tabulations of standardized interviews of precinct captains concerning their multiform activities; with biographical sketches of the principal leaders; with a Thurstonian multi-factor analysis of the influence of the Press, which led the Chicago Tribune to howl in scorn and Mr. Gosnell to be all the more pleased with himself. The Chapter on why you can't lick City Hall was the best of that genre. With the positive functions of the precinct captains so convincingly set forth, it became impossible to dismiss the machine as a totally corrupt burden upon the public treasury. The Student was indelibly marked by the evidence with an ambivalence toward the merit system; the competitive civil service brought its own defects, some of them quite as serious as those of the spoils system. Mr. Gosnell continued to expand his methodological and theoretical interests, carrying the Student and other assistants along with him: but he was changing, too; the students were pushing him in new directions as well.
In the end, however, like Lasswell and Schuman, he left the University; he was not promoted, his salary was low, he joined the Office of Price Administration in Washington, which was expanding greatly to regulate the economy in the war crisis, and from there he moved to the OSS and its successor the CIA where his intelligence work became secret, but, too, where he continued his studies, particularly in regard to a biography of Harry Truman. And more to come...
If only these several men had constituted the whole meaning of the "School", the School would not have existed. However, I should also say that, without the three of them -- Merriam, Lasswell, and Gosnell -- there would have been no Chicago School. But these three required the back-up, more or less sympathetic, of a number of other scholars, even unto Mr. Hutchins, and ultimately of the whole University, which fashioned the kitchen where stewpots of this kind could be concocted and savored. Respecting the others, an impressive group, they can be described insofar as the Student knew them and could have a possibly valid word of comment about them, I mention them here, therefore, in the few words that he would have intoned, should he have been asked about them in those days. Several, of course, will reappear as the plot thickens.
Also to be mentioned later are sundry graduate students and there we shall discover that the real and true backup for the pretensions of the Chicago School came from the undergraduate and graduate students themselves, who created a myth of what they were taught and forced this myth more and more upon both the core instructors of the school and the professors who, if left to their own devices, men such as I am describing here below, would not have made contributions to the School, who would not have gone out of their way to add a bit here and a bit there to their lectures and writings, bringing into political science finally all of the social sciences and areas of medicine and biology besides.
Leonard D. White, a powerhouse nationally in the science of public ad ministration that was developing in tandem with the national and state bureaucracies, a small dignified man who looked and talked rather like a Boston Back Bay banker. His textbook was harbinger of the suave career civil servant. He had begun with an empirical study contrasting the patronage and merit systems of public employment in Chicago. The Student knew him best when Mr. White was writing steadily about Alexander Hamilton as the founding father of national administration. Elegantly prepared lectures, careful, precise, every class gave birth to a new flock of career civil servants, and, at least in the Student, a small but growing suspicion that the government was falling into uninspiring hands.
When the Student tested him by writing a long paper asserting a demonstrable relationship between the rigidity of bureaucracy and the rigidity of the personality of bureaucrats, and claiming that the permanent civil service attracted conventional authority-pleasing types, Mr. White responded with question marks and a grade of "B". If only the Student had limited his conclusions to the bureaucrats of Other Countries and Other Times. Further, biding his time, when the Student reappeared for a course on Public Service Personnel, and asked and got oral permission to drop the course for the grade of "Incomplete", Mr. White flunked him, giving him the only "F" of his career. But there is more to the story...
Mr.Quincy Wright, of small stately figure and sharp eyes, whose interminable pedantic memory was suffused by an undeserved respect for his field of international law and diplomacy, possibly owing in part to a need to feed the egos of those international and national agencies who called upon his counsel for pressing international issues that could never be resolved, who was in the 1930's researching and writing a magnum opus on War, in which could be seen the partially digested sociology and anthropology and psychology of the Chicago milieu. His courses were required of the believing and unbelieving alike. He excelled in providing the legal rationalization that covers up international anarchy and that was developing during the thirties with a crescendo of nationalistic barbarities, such that even his legal "realism" which pretended to take into account these events was stretch to the point of hypocrisy.
Mr. Wright was far removed in spirit from the flaming liberalism of Mr. Frederick Schuman, who would scarcely have set well with the future employers of his students, and Mr. Wright was probably more comfortable with the presence of Mr. James T. Watkins IV, whose tenure was limited to a year, possibly on account of the observations of the students, who found that even when he confined himself to repeating in effeminate tones the words of Mr.Schuman's textbook, he was not convincing, for he seemed to be just what was not needed either in the State Department or in the Chicago School, a true tut-tutter, who rewarded the Student and his Brother with "A's", perhaps because they were more handsome and well-spoken than the mean of the class and less politically indignant, an inappropriate posture in Mr. Watkins' eyes.
Quite by way of contrast,though he too for a year, and that just as well, for he preferred to be a rabbi, was Mr. Hyman Cohen, who sat in his orthodox habit in weekly discussions with the Student in an Honors Session where the machinations of Fascist Italy in Ethiopia were the principal subject. The Student proved to Mr.Cohen's hearty satisfaction that Mussolini had planned and launched, after trying to provoke them and then projecting guilt upon them, an aggressive war to colonialize the hapless Ethiopians, demonstrating in the process the futility and even the connivance of the League of Nations, notwithstanding its token sanctions against Italy, and that more of the same might be expected in other areas. And so it happened, of course, in Spain, in Eastern Europe, and again and worse in China.
In line with the tough politics that the Department favored, he then wrote two papers on Machiavelli, each with a neat hypothesis, not heretofore among the mass of Machiavelliana. The first asked whether Niccolo carried in his works any concept of propaganda. He found it to a limited extent in M's injunctions to rulers to cultivate the image of goodness, not necessarily goodness itself, in order to strengthen his hold upon the people of his realm, but to do so without encumbering his choice of evil if the situation demanded it for his survival or drive for power. The work was presented for credit to Mr.Giuseppe Borgese, a fierce-faced, large-headed, short man, so ugly, and so profound of voice and fixating of eye, that women and men alike, but especially women, were enamored of him, who had chosen to flee from Mussolini, who was not enamored of him, and to accept the invitation of Chicago to come join the humanities as Professor of Italian and German literature. The second term paper demonstrated for Mr.Gosnell's pleasure that there was little if anything in Machiavelli's work that evidenced an appreciation of the principle of representation, whether in history or in proposals for the future. Here he came upon the ideas of Marsiglio of Padua, so rich in this regard, whom Machiavelli ignored.
Mr.Marshall Dimock's stalwart handsome presence in the halls was duly noted by the Student, and his ideas explained as more than nuts and bolts pragmatism by his assistant, Hawley, Claude the Penurious Busboy, buddy of Norm Pearson. No sooner said, than Mr. Dimock departed, he, too, for Washington, leaving his textbook on administrative management behind for the likes of the Student but taking in hand his Secretary whom he married while Assistant Secretary of Labor to Madame Perkins and with whom he lived happily ever after.
Mr. Jerome Kerwin was the Department's workhorse -- actually rather like a beaming hippopotamus approaching head-on -- who gave superbly organized courses in Municipal Government and the History of Political Philosophy until Recent Times (at which point Mr. Merriam took over). He wrote little, after having once published the quota that would entitle him to permanence, a work on local government that no one read any more. He kept the Student interested, for he was jolly full of common sense and made you part of the local politics that he was describing, and he offered in the history of thought a plausible theory that Plato was not only possibly superior to Aristotle but much more the Medievalist's philosopher than was Aristotle, that therefore St. Thomas was breaking with a profound tradition, even while he, Mr. Kerwin, did not dispute St. Thomas, being himself a Roman Catholic, a fully observant one, the only one visible amid the atheistic crowd of social scientists. A bachelor (not without rumored homosexual tendencies, and there was talk of the same respecting Harold Lasswell, hearsay that the Student hardly bothered to pass along, much less to inquire into), Mr. Kerwin could gather around him the handful of Catholics who were students and (more likely) administrative personnel of the University, and together with the Priest assigned to tend to the threatened souls on Campus, and with the pronounced favor shown by Messers Mortimer Adler and Robert Maynard Hutchins to St Thomas' Summa Theologica, systematic inquiries into human nature and virtuous conduct, rational and metaphysical, the environment was rendered more comfortable to the Catholic intellectual than one might deem to be the case. His cheerful character attracted the like, and the student found that a look into his office from time to time, where Jim McDevitt or another friend or assistant would likely be, to be a relief from some of the sardonic and self-centered types, mysteriously important, to be encountered in other offices thereabouts.
Regardless of pro and contra, the Political Scientists of the Chicago School paid no attention to the highly important history of propaganda, violence, management, politics, diplomacy and inter-governmental relations built up over some two thousand years by the Roman Church and other religions of the world. This incredible back-turning to some of the richest and most instructive materials in the field characterized all the secular universities in the America, and was handled in a "guess-how?" manner by the different sectarian colleges. Actually, the idea, the gap, did strike the Student at one point, and he drew out of the library Sweet's historical work on American churches and, when he came to write a dissertation later on, burrowed for the origins of representative principles and government in the monastic orders of the Medieval Church.
As the Student moved fully into the Department so did Mr. Herman Finer, an Englishman, Jewish, Fabian in politics, erstwhile of the London School of Economics, and author of a copious set of works on comparative government, which subject he proceeded to teach at the University. With Messers White, Wright, and Gosnell, he made up the fourth small man of the department, Schuman, Merriam, Lasswell, and Dimock being tall and heavy. There was no one the size of the Student, in between the two groups and therefore of average and median height, and one might add to the trivia, in complexion. The political science student body seemed to be a mixture fairly representative of the American population despite the high tuition costs, except for the underrepresentation of blacks, only two or three in those years when they made up 5% of the Midwestern population and 13% of the nation. There average family background was lowest in education, social ranking, and financial standing of all other first ranking schools. Jewish students were numerous, about 20% in Political Science, hardly a one of them orthodox, and almost all backsliding from Judaism. Neither the Student, nor anyone else with whom he talked, gave thought to the matter, but Herman Finer was the first Jewish appointment of consequence to the Department. Jews as professors and even as students did not present the universal phenomena then that they did fifty years later. One could have perceived the trend, however, by observing the graduate assistants, the level about the Student's class at that time, the lofty niveau where ranged the research assistants, Shils, Almond, Leites, Hy Cohen, Milt Friedman, Renzo Sereno, Harold Elstein, Lou Olom and all the others awaiting their turn, which seemed to be an interminable time in those years of prolonged depression before the War. When time came to graduate the younger set, four students were elected out of the Department to the honorary scholastic fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa: Morris Cohen, Herb Weiss, Marge Goldman (his old friend) and De Grazia (himself), a total surprise that may have involved anti-semitic discrimination, now that I think of it, or a primeval case of affirmative action.
Mr. Finer was an excellent straight lecturer, his books were encyclopedic in structural detail, and in class and in his writing he was heavily concentrated upon the nations of Western Europe. In this regard, the Chicago Department was hardly advanced. Finer came and stayed for a long time without any appreciable interest in sociology, anthropology or politics, or in the South American, African, Arabic, or Oriental worlds. He seemed hardly a pleasant person to the Student, stayed aloof generally, lacked originality of thought and behavior.
The Student got along better with instructors like Mr. Lindsay Rogers, a remarkable publicist who came upon the Chicago scene for one term in the area of American Government, and spent at least a quarter of his time arguing amiably with the student in a classroom of some twenty-five students. He was an essayist in the old English manner, though himself an authentic American of Irish origins and Eastern upbringing, an admirer of Graham Wallas, whom the Student then read, of Walter Bagehot, ditto, and of Walter Lippmann whom the Student had already read in the form of "The Good Society," " Public Opinion" and "The Phantom Public." Mr. Rogers sported oystershell-grey spats, purple shirts, a long pompadour, and a red face reflecting a congenial association with the best of Bourbon whiskey. They became friends and the Student read with pleasure, if with general disagreement, Mr. Rogers' soon forthcoming book attacking Public Opinion Polls. He long remembered the Columbia Professor's remark that "the straw polls claimed to collect the public's opinion but ended up with its baby-talk."
Sure enough, Walter Lippmann appeared at Mandel Hall to deliver a clutch of lectures. The Student was too busy to listen. His books said it all. Richard Tawney came, too, and while the Student should have attended, he pulled his usual trick of slipping inside the door for a couple of minutes to get a taste of the man. He came back to him at a later time to see whether he had said anything that Max Weber had not said about the influence of protestantism upon the growth of capitalism; he had not. Damn, he missed Archibald MacLeish and a few lines of notable poetry. The Student was impossible: he disliked classical poetry, could not suffer contemporary poetry a la Maude Hutchins, yet felt himself to have some of the qualities of a poet; to be sure he borrowed Marge Goldman's T.S.Eliot and liked "The Wasteland," but not silly "Mr. Prufrock," not then yet. He heard briefly Eduard Benes' lament over the Czechoslovak partition by the Munich dastardly Four Powers, and began to sense a small interest in the special subject of the political exile: what special kind of animal is this? He is everywhere, in all times, on every page of history: from Moses on up; what's the great work on exiles? Ssmst. But it was quite clear that the Student had another small and shameful feeling: Benes is a has-been, yesterday's bread, what is the difference between him and the now disgraced "Big Bill" Thompson of Chicago, the ex-Boss of Chicago whom the Tribune would not deign to mention by name? He learned the old saw from Mr. Leites, Plus ca la change, plus c'est la meme chose. How could politics hold his interest, if the more things changed, the more they stayed the same? Why bother? Is this the same as saying that history repeats itself? But only in non-repetition are we kept from suspiring of boredom!
As if this were not enough, here comes Lord Russell, fresh from the class that the Student has abandoned, lecturing to a large audience that the Munich Pact was a victory, and that Neville Chamberlain, who would go down soon in ignominy, had to be thanked for serving up Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, thus bringing about "peace in our times." It would be fifty years before the poor people would taste liberty again.
Again, in 1939, there came a new man, to stay for awhile, Mr. Walter Laves, to head the Social Science Survey and teach international relations in the Department. He may have known a lot but nothing of distinction, for he seemed to devote his energies to dissecting the innards of impotent international organizations. Putting him in charge of the radical integrationist college course must have been a way of preserving departmental lines and undercutting Mr. Hutchins. But one should not credit even academicians with the ability both to plot and execute the plot in all cases.
Cheerful and friendly, without resort to Mr. Rogers' hard spirits, more subtly clever even while a painstaking worker, was Mr. Herman Pritchett, who came upon the scene after the War, so far as the Student was concerned. He was so nice as to tell the Student that there probably wasn't much point in auditing his lectures. It was then that they became acquainted. He could manage to teach his material on administrative and constitutional law in perfect congeniality with the declining Chicago School influence.
Not so another latecomer, Leo Strauss, who was said to have founded his own Chicago School, but the Student could not make much of it and hardly tried. It seemed like good old-fashioned qualitative analysis of the history of political philosophy , for which there might always be a demand but which had little to say to the Chicago School. And finally there came Hans Morgenthau, whose forceful realism in the analysis of foreign policy and international relations seemed to be in accord with the precepts of the Chicago School; but, since he proceeded to conceive of a nationalistic U.S. foreign policy based upon this realism,and because he introduced no methodical innovations or new scientific theories and materials into his work he was not regarded by the Student as possessing the proper stigmata for the School, and he ultimately told him so.
As the War ended Mr. Morton Grodzins from Berkeley entered the Department, so too Mr. David Easton from Canada. Both significantly altered their approaches to the study of Political Science to accommodate themselves to what they perceived as the Chicago School, the first from the standpoint of American government, the second from the standpoint of political philosophy, essaying to develop a systems theory. There reappeared on the scene a more authentic incarnation of the school in the form of Mr. Avery Leiserson, who in the area once occupied by Mr. Gosnell, and with an additional specialty in the government of voluntary organizations, led back into the Department new works by the School boys, V.O.Key, Herbert Simon, David Truman, Sebastian de Grazia, Gabriel Almond, and ultimately Alfred de Grazia, before he, Leiserson, left to head the Department at Vanderbilt University.
As the War ended, Mr. Sebastian de Grazia left the Office of Strategic Services to join the College Faculty and to found, with Mr.Douglas Waples and Mr.Bernard Berelson of the Library School, the interdisciplinary Committee on Communications, an idea heartily endorsed by Harold Lasswell. The Committee could not find a niche or outside funding for very long, and Mr. De Grazia took off for Florence on a Fulbright Fellowship, renewed it, and never returned. So this appendage of the Chicago School dissolved.
I am running ahead of myself , so let me retrace my steps. Of the sociologists with whom the Student came into contact, I have mentioned the importance of Messers Wirth, Shils and Earl Johnson, and others, too, were to be seen about. Mr. Sam Stauffer, for instance. He looked like a brown mouse, dressed brown like a mouse, even had the small friendly crossed brown eyes of a mouse, spoke softly, scampered about, spilled his cigarette ashes all over himself and was a great statistician and pal of his students.
Mr. Lloyd Warner looked like a vaudeville impresario. The Lloyd Warner equipe in social anthropology was important; the field began to develop quite rapidly and made sociologists here and there wonder what their own field was. The Warner concept of social class, which was statistically operable, came to dominate field studies of class phenomena: it boiled down to the occupation of the father as the most reliable indicator, although it was then fancied up.
Mr. William Ogburn loomed large in the impression that Chicago Sociology made upon the world outside; the Student knew him well by sight, but somehow got the impression that he had nothing to say, except in his books. Nor was the Student at all surprised when told that he had affixed one of those signs on his wall that say, who steals my purse steals dross, but who steals my time steals the unreplaceable, or words to that effect,not a nice idea to put before the faltering student needing words of encouragement. How do you know, Mr. Ogburn, whether your time is being valuably used; you may, unbeknownst to yourself, be wasting it?
The student had to grant that his works on social change were both simple and worthwhile and that anyone who had been instrumental in organizing and directing the research in the heavy volumes on Social Trends in America had great merits. Mr. Ogburn had a large importance for the Chicago School because he worked well with Mr. Merriam and the two together brought back sacks of loot from the foundations of the East. The very Social Science Building itself came out of their efforts.
The Merriam-Ogburn axis dealt directly with President Herbert Hoover's office in the organization and conduct of the Committee on Recent Social Trends. Neither Mr. Ogburn nor Mr. Merriam was much of a philosopher, so that role was presumably played by President Hoover. The demarche employed several social sciences in an interdisciplinary fashion to discover what was happening to the country (mostly bad) and what directions governmental policy might take. The flow of ideas and research into the Department and University was heavy and fresh; the Departments placed men in newly created research jobs. Through Mr. Ogburn the Sociology Department flowed into the Department of Politics, because the connection between social change and public policy had to be close. John Dewey's earlier pragmatic theories of the merging of processes, consequences, and proposals were reinvigorated at the University and made part of the new Political Science.
There came then the group of economists under whom the Student worked and who led him on, not Mr.Mintz so much, or even Mr. Harry Gideonse, who cut a fine figure certainly and made the fathers of laissez-faire -- Smith, Ricardo, Malthus --seem actually not un-friendly, even paternal, but certainly Paul H. Douglas, whom I have told you about, and then there came two others.
Mr. Simeon Leland lectured on Government Finance, conveying a sense of the immediate from his membership on the Regional Federal Reserve Bank Board, a cheerful, pudgy pinkfaced explicator of the sins of governments and how to control them, most of them excesses in the way of spending -- although the age of heavy spending was in its infancy and he might better have devoted himself to the psychology of governmental deficits, economic warfare and imperialism, third world indebtedness and other topics that were soon to become dominant around the world. There was an insouciance about him in the face of world economic chaos and the savage onslaughts of fascism, which proved "the dismal science" to be the work of a happy few.
Mr. J.R. Simon was different. He was a darkly complected, darkly humorous, a brilliant depressive. The Student had read his pamphlet on "A Positive Program for Laissez-Faire," in the College and heard both right and left snicker at it for its very eclat. His posture: "If you really want to have a free economy here are the measures that you must take." And he went at his job with rigorous logic and sadistic elan.
The complaint of Mr. Johnson was typical: if you have to muster the power to make the changes that Mr.Simon proposes, such as crushing the monopolies, abolishing subsidies and so on, you will ipso facto create a huge governmental apparatus and spend large sums of taxpayers' money, and go chasing after half the country to force them to be free. The Student opined this made sense. But he admired the theoretical intactness, the bravura, of the scheme.
Mr. Simon taught him much more and some of it verged toward surrealism. Why was it? -- The Student in Philosophy I liked the Skeptics, and Hume, the destroyer of causation, and Berkeley, the idealist who reduced reality to the Mind alone, and then he liked the smattering he had been taught of phenomenology and pragmatism; so you can see that he was already almost freed of Aristotle's nominalism, not to mention Plato's type of realism, and thus of conventional scientific ideology, even while appreciating the aesthetic imagery and analogism of Plato. He did not comprehend that he was skimming along the edges of a freed-sign operationism. He regarded Mr. Simon as simpatico because of his jesting cynicism; a more important cause was the juncture of Simon's spade with the surrealist trench already dug across his brain.
Simon's course was on Income Taxation. He met with the student's appreciative laughs and silent "Hear,Hear!" by proposing that a progressive tax be levied not on ability to pay but upon the inability to enjoy what money can buy; those who spent their incomes happily would pay a smaller tax; isn't this the way to the greatest happiness of the greatest number?
He taught his students, too, the various ways of creating money and led them through the creation and management of a monetary system founded upon house-bricks as the official medium of exchange. The hard red bricks of the Student's childhood house on Hill Street were immediately attractive as a medium of exchange. And, before these, the durable shiny building blocks that the infant so loved. Better than gold! Ideas come not from nowhere nor are emplaced upon thin air. When the Student inquired some years later of his whereabouts, he heard that Mr. Simon had died, presumably a suicide.
The absence of historians on the record begs an excuse. Excepting James Cate, and indirectly Louis Gottschalk, who fed him a deck of cards on the literature of elections that occurred during the French Enlightenment and Revolution, the Student enjoyed only the jolly palmy hot tour of the Caribbean conducted by toothpaste-smiling Mr. Fred Rippy, who dwelt upon the imperialism of the USA. Particularly the rape of Panama from Columbia impressed the Student. He was mortified to learn that his childhood hero, Col.Teddy Roosevelt, had to rally his cavalrymen "Roughriders" up San Juan Hill on foot because their horses had been misplaced in Florida en route from the States. All of this and the behavior of the Yellow Press in bringing about war with Spain were grist for the Chicago School mill.
Unquestionably, a good reason for the Student to like Mr. Hutchins, even while the President was persona non grata to the majority of social scientists, was because Mr. Hutchins went about spiking myths of the upper classes, of the business tycoons, of politics, and especially of the world of education, and this same iconoclasm and demythifying was epidemic among the professors, hence, the students, of the social sciences.
The Student did little coursework in history, although he had a talent for it, his excuse being that the Department was uninspiring. There was no Philosopher of History, no Hegel, no methodologist like Fernand Braudel, no mythologist like Charles Beard, no comparative historiography, although Mr. Gottschalk was working upon a scheme for a book of historical method (which, when he read it, several years later, the Student found to be empirical and simple-minded, as expected). For the facts, thought the Student, I can go anywhere, if they are accepted facts; if not, the professor has to have some eccentric method of approaching their setting.
There was an historian of the South, one of Germany and Europe. Mr. Dodd had gone off as Ambassador to Germany, a tough man on the Nazis, a daughter who was a slut, confided Bob Lochner to the Student, his father Louis being a top correspondent there and not nearly so anti-Nazi as he should be. How had the Student acquired the subtlety that could doubt Bob and Bob's father, whom he had met en passant, catching on to a probable unexpressed conflict deep in Bob that Bob dared not express, a feeling for German culture and hegemony in Europe, a resentment against the extreme practically genetic-religious hatred of Germany beginning to appear, clashing with a feeling for the Jews expressed in his friendships with Jewish students; certainly the Student was ethnically sensitive, for, like most Americans he had to draw the line between a respect for his ancestry and a contempt for its offensiveness whether expressed through the Church, Fascism, gangsterism, or simple cultural differences that bothered him. Still, one wonders whether the beginnings of subtle sensitivity to another person must begin earlier, perhaps in childhood as an underdog in a continual situation of sibling rivalry, and then channels into adult interpersonal relations. Or as a pupil in a harsh parochial school who had somehow become a victim rather than a hardened donkey or sadist.
Next he went out of his way to find a course in Rhetoric at the Divinity School, thinking that he could not learn to orate by himself and that politics is a talking game. But he found himself in an elderly class of divinity students, so kind, that given the kind Professor as well, he was hardly able to get the kind of criticism that might improve his modest attempts at public speaking. Once again, though, like all crossings of departmental lines, this move had its rewards -- to experience more of the endless American types, recalling some of his camp counsellors at Camp Olivet and Camp Orinoko, and his work and table companions at Billings Hospital.
Then, finally, returning to examine the fine steeds of the World's Premier Stable, we come to several personages, not of the Department, but meaningful to the student and for framing the full Chicago School. Mr. Max Rheinstein came a refugee from Germany, a near-sighted ugly stout chap with a most gentle disposition, who had stayed in the Third Reich as long as he could stand it, buffeted from the terrors in part because he had been decorated for bravery in World War I. "I found myself cheering Hitler in spite of everything, so I thought it was time to leave," he told them. He was named Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law School and his first class included five wandering students like our own, who helped orient him to America and the American language, which he spoke badly. In return there tumbled from his cornucopia a vast array of references and remarks on the legal practices of all history and all the world. It was the most attractive subject that the Student had yet encountered and he should probably have entered upon it seriously and forever. It was the way comparative government and comparative parties should have been taught, too, with a world view, sociologically, psychologically, rather than through the insertions of quotas of facts having to do with the several more powerful countries of the world, plus, depending upon your particular cafeteria, the Scandinavian democracies, Switzerland, or Japan. Japan was about to give the USA the worst single defeat in its history and yet the ideas and governance of the Japanese were terra incognita.
We leave, however, with smiles and regrets, the luxuriant jungle growth in which the Seminar of Mr.Rheinstein flourished, to ask what happened when the Student walked into the clean bright lecture room of the Oriental Institute to hear the lectures of a much more famous refugee, this one from the Board of Higher Education of the State of New York, that had found him guilty of advocating socialism, free love, and peace, Mr. Bertrand Russell. Attracted by his prestige, the Student signed up for Philosophy 237 and sat down somewhere to the rear to hear what the straight-up, emaciate, ruddy, beaked face would convey in his tolerably clear tones. At first, it seemed a marvel: no question he had a way of delivering the lessons of a great Philosophy I course in beautifully syntacted syllables. The Student attended but a few times and quit, abandoning the world-famous mathematician, author of Principia Mathematica, the great philosopher, the famous pacifist and English Lord and lover (his blousy red-haired assistant and next wife-to-be sat nearby).
What could the Student possibly have had to do at this time of day that would be more important than to listen to Bertrand Russell? It was not so much drowsiness, his usual complaint, as boredom, that came upon him after a while. The great philosopher was developing themes that might have gone better at the City College of New York, and were straight out of his latest book, the Problems of Philosophy. He put forward good old-fashioned social psychology, not equal to George Herbert Mead's Self and Other teachings, which were dispensed a block away but were only published posthumously by his students. His critiques of the great philosophers were perfectly accurate, but he did not strike the Student as productive of important ideas of his own. He was intellectually and emotionally uninspiring. The Student was already, had he only known, an empirical, non-religious, psychological phenomenologist and pragmatic operationist. He no longer believed in straight answers, but in holiformats of response. Mr.Russell did not soar beyond his early work on non-Euclidean geometry and his association with Whitehead and Wittgenstein.
The Student was full of free-floating thoughts and associations; nothing was like it seemed; he found the saying of Gorgias the Skeptic an effective tool: that nothing existed; if it did you could not prove it; if you could prove it, you could not communicate it. Without realizing it, he was already on his way to maintaining that statements can only represent reality by presenting symbolic operations, and their correctness in depicting reality is at the same time absolutely relative in that there can be an infinite number of them, and relatively absolute according to their utility when applied to specific ends. "A barking four-legged animal" describes what can be called a dog, but so do millions of other statements, as many as there are traits and actions of all the dogs that have ever existed; yet only a few symbolic forms may be sufficient to answer 99% of all the questions ever needing to be asked about dogs.
He had read Mr.Russell's book called Freedom and Organization of 1934 and would acquire his latest book on Power (1938), and in both cases, while he would not disagree with the positions taken, he would find fault with a certain vacuity, an artificial plausibility emanating from a clever style, and most of all the absence of originality and methodology. He was not to be cajoled or commanded to prefer Mr. Merriam's Political Power to Mr. Russell's Power, out of sympathy with Mr. Merriam's pique, but he did find the Chief's book superior. (Just as he found Lasswell's book on Politics superior to Mr. Merriam's on Political Power.)
Lord Russell hardly rippled the pond of the Chicago School. It had worse to contend with. The backside of the world, so far as the Chicago School was concerned, was the congress of influences and ideas emanating from the conjunction of Mr. Mortimer Adler and Mr. Hutchins. The hostility between the social sciences and the humanities was not general but emanated largely from the pretense of the social sciences to be scientific and value-free and the pretense of the Hutchins group to be good and true. Also, the Political Scientists were engaged in practical activity, management and rules, which were anathema to the anti-vocational Mr.,Hutchins.
In 1938, the student Congress leaders whomped up a debate between Mr. Hutchins and modestly famed Dean Ernest Oscar Melby of Northwestern University's School of Education, he having consigned Mr. Hutchins' beliefs to "stark and sterile medievalism." Confronted at Mandel Hall, Mr. Hutchins deplored contemporary education, and I now quote from the Echo of June 1938, the Student having absented himself, possibly at the thought of paying the 35 cents admission charge.
" The task of education," monotoned urbane, crisp-haired Bob Hutchins, opening the debate, "is to make rational animals more perfectly rational." Keystones of the modern educational climate, he deplored, are skepticism, presentism, scientism, anti-intellectualism. Skepticism avers that nothing is valid outside of natural sciences; presentism refuses to concede the past has anything to offer in solving present difficulties; scientism adheres to the belief that only science is progressive because it alone corresponds to actual situations; anti-intellectualism results from a sentimental, irrational desire for the improvement of one's fellow man.
Said Melby, like Protagoras, "Man is the criterion of all values." He proposed as his program of education, "The educator must build a curriculum for every single individual, suiting it to the needs of that person and determined after a careful study of him." Quipped Hutchins in return, "You are afflicted with the cult of scientism." Strange: like a Democratic-minded liberal Republican, the Student agreed with Melby but also with Hutchins: snobbery, yes, but also Hutchins was onto basic weaknesses of current ideology, even while Melby had precisely the solution for them. And Hutchins had created an intellectual academic community at Chicago -- caterwauling brawling alley cats to be sure, but, in the end, there would be more of them -- while at Northwestern University an uncreative peace reigned.
Time passed. Finally, for want of better to do, the Student thought that he must visit the camp of the enemy. With Bro Bus he registered in a course newly provided for graduate students on "The Philosophy of Education," conducted by the famous duo. It was interesting that the team, who conveyed a passing impression of Mutt and Jeff, should feel that it was in accord on methods and propositions, and that the opposition in the class, coming from a few students, was benighted, and should become one in heart and mind with them. Provided, of course, that they were "rational."
Mr. Hutchins, realizing that the force of authority and voice stood with his colleague and himself, tried to activate and at the same time put down contention. The two leaders did not try to get the students to argue amongst themselves, which would have slaughtered their minions, even while permitting more effective pedagogy. Instead they tried to be both instigator of crimes and executioners. Mr. Adler was the worse of the two. Mr. Hutchins got into the habit of saying, slightly sardonically, as if he couldn't believe his own immense power, "Now don't be intimidated.." until one day Mr. Sebastian de Grazia, a student, catching Mr. Hutchins in a moment of indecision, called out,"Come now, don't be intimidated, Mr. Hutchins." Some dared laugh. Mr. H. graciously smiled.
As for the Student, he was flabbergasted by the scholastic logic of the sessions, semantically a plucking of rabbits from hats, and the absence of important frames of reference that had been provided by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William James, John Dewey and Mr. Earl Johnson. He could hardly put a question together in a way that would not betray his origins and predispositions, for he was taught Plato and Aristotle and Aquinas as curios, exercise bars, whatever, but not as Truth, and the same would go for Cardinal Newman, who veritably appeared to be a lightweight, though pleasant enough and scoring points now and then.
He finally interrupted Mr.Hutchins' smooth and assured flow of dogma about men's ability to exercise free will and make free choice. His hand rose; "Men's choices are dictated by their social and psychological condition," he asserted.
This was easy! Mr. Hutchins asked him, "Do you smoke?" (Which he did himself, incidentally.)
"Yes," said the Student.
"If you wanted to quit smoking, could you stop?"
"No," said the Student, "I would be blocked by my own habits."
"You are talking gibberish!" exclaimed Mr. Adler, who was more cantankerous than Mr. Hutchins and not above clobbering a man from behind. Which ended the argument.
The student had no chance to be unintimidated and to explain in what would probably be a halting manner that his will to stop smoking would only occur and then thereafter be effective if a number of conditions were to be satisfied -- too costly, bad for the health, pleasing a girl-friend, social and penal sanctions, exercise of counter-habit formations, etc. and that the concept of free will is otherwise nonsensical. Given true academic freedom and equal time, he would probably have delivered himself of a few obscenities as well.
It always seemed to him extraordinary that Mr. Adler had received his doctorate in Psychology or some such "science" at Columbia University. Nor could arguments of the classroom be continued via written briefs, for the gentlemen employed a faithful sallow-skinned unresponsive female assistant to grade the answers to regularly occurring sets of questions, most of which should have been rejected as logically and semantically unsound, never mind their also involving untestable material. The Student contented himself with providing nonchalant answers in the verbiage of Thomism and rationalism, sufficient to achieve the grade of "B".
He was pleased with the experience, nonetheless, and his affection for Mr. Hutchins did not diminish, even while he continued to perceive in Mr.Adler a bit of a nut, who could yet perform amazing feats of rhetoric, as was instanced upon the appearance of his volume entitled "How to Read a Book." The Student ate it up, possibly because it said so well what he often felt about the joys of reading: the intensity, the excitement, the elicitation of neonate ideas, the truths, the glorious falsities.
He turned back to his Departmental studies with relief after every encounter with the famous pair. In his psycho-socio-political science, he could find matter that no other university could give him. In them he could find meaningful biography, in depth. There he could find a straining for objectivity, an exposing of the adhesions of value to every fact, the call to research in the field, the stress upon processes rather than static description, the digging for basic causal phenomena: all opposed to and contrasting with the glib journalistic essay and the continual argumentation over current political issues and named political phenomena, which constituted political science elsewhere. He became dedicated to designing instruments of inquiry, a methodology, and whenever these could not be overtly exhibited, their implications in prose and speech.
There in the Department he could find the new concepts of the age aborning, of Big Government, Big Business, Big Labor, Agroindustry, Giant Pressure Groups. He could contemplate political machines as productive of good as well as evil. He could analyze the decline of the League of Nations and the legistic myth-blinded diplomatic regimes and the rise of the regimes of naked power and totalitarian repression. He could recognize the failures of socialist and communist regimes, while viewing with cold anger the depredations of unharnessed capitalism. He spoke with and watched men who were consulting at the apex of government agencies, state, local,national and international. He could hear of their problems and admire their work as he learned what they were up to. He was permitted to criticize them, sometimes even to their face, in any event in the perennial blooming quarrels of the corridors. He caught on to the idea of "The Modern Presidency with a Professional Full Staff to manage the Problems of the Great Society with its Big Business, Big Labor, Big Everything, including Big Wars." He didn't like these trends much.. (to be continued later).
Let us be clear: He did not experience all of this world-fashioning; he did not perceive and herald all of it; somewhere, to be sure, in the vast gaseous tank of Society, he would be discovered, experiencing, but he was almost entirely dependent upon the University as Creator and Processor of the New World, to convey to him a surrogate experiencing. It was nevertheless the experiencing of more than a spectator or flunkey, rather of an heir apparent.
Yet never did the Chicago School call itself such while he was there, nor did its principals join together and design a new Political Science. It was all done in half-way measures, un-self-consciously. It was a better political science than elsewhere but still there was never a question of systematically relieving and retiring from the Department those who did not work according to the developing image of political science held by Lasswell, Merriam, Schuman, Gosnell and Leites, et al, including the advanced students.
There was no systematic recruiting and holding on to the best of their own and other peoples' students. In fact, most of the genuine Chicago articles were shipped off and replaced by more conventional minds. (Left to himself and in his later life, Leites turned down practically all students, finding them faulty, and rejecting the Department's pleas to take in more of them.)
Mr. Merriam brought in funds and had plenty of ideas. Else the University would not have provided the means for the Department to advance as far as it did in new directions. Certainly Hutchins would have blocked it had the Department depended upon him for the funds that were needed for research assistance and field work. When Mr. Merriam was invited to accept a Chair at Harvard University, he bargained with the Administration at Chicago to provide him permanently with a private secretary as the condition for his staying on. Chicago was paying for no glamor in Political Science. It must be conceded that there was really never a chance for Mr. Merriam and his cohort to convince the University Administration to back up an entirely new kind of Political Science Department or a Separate Institute devoted to the New Political Science. No one really understood that something of great importance was going on.
In the end, the School was better represented in the nation at large than in its birthplace. Its characters popped up whenever one visited a college community. And there come to mind Ithiel Pool, V.O.Key, David Truman, Dieter Dux, Herbert Simon, Morris Cohen, Sebastian de Grazia, Renzo Sereno, Claude Hawley, Irving Janowitz, Alexander George, Klaus Knorr, Gabriel Almond, Albert Lepawsky, Albert Somit, and some others as well who were termed "of the Chicago School," willy-nilly. P.R.O.D. (Political Research: Organization and Design), later the American Behavioral Scientist, was for a decade an accurate reflection of much of the Chicago School's mode of thought. Thereupon, in a more narrow form, the American Political Science Review and most of the Presidents of the American Political Science Association were associated with the "political behavior approach" as the Chicago influence came to be called.
Bob, son of Charles, Merriam would lead a list of the emergent politicians of the School -- strange there were so few of them -- Alderman, Candidate for Mayor, Assistant to President Eisenhower, and "Civic Leader." There were also "flowers born to blush unseen," the high civic leader professionals like Katie Fredericks who ran the League of Women Voters, civil servants like Margery Goldman who represented the Civil Service Commission in the Congress, Bill Colman who directed the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and Louis Olom who was Assistant Director, United States Information Service. Hart Perry came out of the School, was employed at housing, headed a government International Development Agency and worked the number two position at ITT until he set up on his own with some Swiss bankers. Some are unclassifiable: were they, or were they not, of the Department, formally or informally? There were thus Laura Bergquist, Emmet Deadman (Dedmon), Sidney Hyman, Dennis McEvoy, more than you can shake a stick at. Call to mind Chuck Percy; did he catch a case of Chicago Political Science from Al de Grazia in waterpolo scrimmage or did he follow some natural route through business until he commanded a great corporation (Bell and Howell) whence he, being a first-class learner, got himself elected to the U.S. Senate and became one of the best, though not as great as Paul Douglas whom he defeated? And there were many whom the Student hardly knew, nor was he at all minded to keep track of people, no hot-dog old Grad he!
Of course, the Eastern Establishment boys got more national and international publicity and larger honors, abetted by the New York Times and the media concentration in New York, and, too, by an initial push of family wealth and connections, as with people such as George Bush, or, should we not say, closer to home, such as Robert Maynard Hutchins, whose household was correctly and prominently Presbyterian and whose Yale sponsors and pals propelled him prodigiously. The Student, typifying much the greater number of students, had cut the navel cord of all that tied him to his times before college -- his life, his friends were now of the University. He was starting from scratch.
The Department changed and, too, the University changed as a whole, with the departure of Mr. Hutchins in 1951, and even before then, with the enormous expansion of facilities for higher education in America. With each one of these state-funded new institutions could be counted a slight decrement of genius to the University of Chicago, which used to draw from so many remote places -- here a bright one, there an original type. Nor was there any longer at the University a sense of a mission unexampled elsewhere.
One will have to become an aficionado of autobiography to follow the story all of the way. To exemplify: Universities began to get clever. They would set up marvelous professorships and fellowships in some specialty (such as worm-running) and draw the Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer of the Category to their bosom, giving him the cream of Old Siwash, treating all other Siwashians ungenerously. The result was predictable, if not publicly proclaimed; it became impossible to build great Departments in many fields, including Political Science, because at least one University somewhere would make an offer that your best men could hardly refuse. And a great many new universities were springing up, with very large hiring budgets. The amazing fact is that none of these in the end could emulate what had happened at Chicago in the pit of the Depression. The vast funds and the full democratization of education wrecked the best departments everywhere. So, too, at Chicago; so, too, the Chicago School.
But we must get the Student out of his undergraduate work now, if not out of the University itself. It is time to graduate him in all his glory. It is not impossible, even after fifty years, to make a body count of his acquaintances. He knew at least 116 of the 487 men and women awarded the Bachelor's degree. He had known about fifty of the Class of 1938, the year before. He knew personally about 130 of the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Classes. Add 60 acquaintances not otherwise numbered from the Band, Symphony Orchestra, Billings Hospital, and the Faculty and Student Assistants. Again add 40 of the University Community, but who were to be found in earlier or later graduating classes, or none at all. To complete the sum of acquaintanceship, but not to be counted with those just mentioned, would be added 20 from the neighborhood unconnected with the University (though part of the Community), a score of family and relatives scattered about the city, and perhaps 200 lower school friends. The total of his University of Chicago acquaintances -- ranging from those with whom he exchanged a few words on a number of occasions to those with whom he lived -- had reached about 450 by June 1939. There were more to come, at least a hundred more, before he would depart permanently from the premises, all of this even though he was not prone to hand-shaking, running for office, attending dances and mixers, or participating in meetings and demonstrations. Practically all of his acquaintances were made in the course of particular focussed study, work, or activities like music and athletics.
A glossy Yearbook, the Cap and Gown, appeared in May 1939 to celebrate the passing of another Class. One-fourth of the graduates did not see fit to be mentioned with their photograph alongside. Besides there were all those who had fallen by the wayside, and those who had gone straight into Law School or a special Master's Degree program, or transferred elsewhere. The Yearbook was the stronghold of the myth-makers of the school. It is the seed cloned from the American High School culture, which will, as it has throughout American higher education, sprout the crop of Old Grads that will alternately plague and finance the College for the next generation.
The Editor-in-Chief, none other than Phil Schnering, the Student's side-kick (excuse the pun) in water polo. The Business Manager, none other than Bob Mohlman, the Band's first clarinettist and the Student's reed man of the Maroon jazz band. Bob will have a handle on the next chapter. The man of the moment is Phil Schnering. He is of the type who longs for social power and prestige, but unusual in that he is driven to work hard to compensate for deficiencies of comeliness, articulateness, and downright meanness. One of the first things you hear of him is that his father bosses the Curtiss Candy Company that makes millions of candy bars like "Babe Ruth."
The Cap and Gown gives Phil the prominence he deserves. Lacking the genius of Larson, McNeill and Hickman of the year before, he lets himself say things like, "The scholastic year of 1938-9 will go down in the history of the University as that year when the rah-rah spirit returned to Campus. Not since Hutchins came.." and there are some rather silly proofs to relate to this, a full page, for example, given over to the Dolphin Club, Philip Schnering major-domo, of course, which "gave an aquatic show featuring an adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Al de Grazia complete with sound effects by a five piece brass band." A sworn affidavit might be had to the effect that this trivium was the sole assembly of the mermaids, mermen and dwarves of the year.
There occurs no report of the same Student going from door to door that same Spring in the Fifth Ward ringing bells and soliciting votes for Mr. Paul Douglas who is therefore and with major help from other quarters about to be elected Alderman.
The balance between sense and nonsense was more favorable at Chicago than at other universities. It is quite unfair to say that the baloney was the same no matter how you sliced it. But the imbalance was not so overwhelming as to create a different species of higher education at the City Grey on the Midway.