Table of Contents


The Student:


He and the Chief would go over to the Shoreland Bar late of an afternoon in 1947 and 1948 and drink Scotch and sodas, often to talk about Bob's truly remarkable work in the City Council; he was fast becoming the best of the fifty Alderman and the despair of his Ward Committeeman Barney Hodes. On the second round of drinks, they would asperse the nation and the world. Meanwhile the Student's title, had been growing threadbare, like Dr. `Bus' Brown's calling him "Captain" long after he was civilianized. But then, one day, he told the Chief that he would like to reenter the University and had spoken to L.D.White, who had derived from his unusual situation an excuse for reversing the normal procedure: the Student could write his dissertation first and take his examinations, the written as well as the orals, afterwards. A wonderful idea it was, because it left the routine review and studies to the end after all the fun (for the rare writer) was over and the thesis was accepted.

They spoke of Gosnell and the Student showed him Gozzie's new book, Democracy: Threshold of Freedom, a poor title for a work that had not been well integrated. He pointed to the chapters that he had written, standing there untouched by any hand but his own. They dealt with elections, leadership and representation, and he told the Chief that he would like to do his dissertation on the theory of representation.

He then plunged in for a large favor: would the Chief consent to be the supervisor of his dissertation? It was a good but surprising idea. Charles E. Merriam was famous for his works in political theory: American Political Ideas; Recent Political Theories; Political Power; The New Democracy and the New Despotism; he was much more than a historian of theory, he was a creative theorist; he had received every honor The Profession could afford, had been Advisor to several U.S. Presidents, and had, as was explained earlier, been the architect of the Chicago School and heavily engaged in strengthening the Social Science establishment. But he was in retirement. He had now turned into his seventies. He had more interest in telling stories and hearing the news from everywhere and gossiping with the all too few cronies about (his wife had bored him for a quarter of a century) than he had in the systematic studies of individuals. Still, he felt obligated in more ways than one, and he could not turn him down. The problem presented by his acting from retirement was negligible.

Not that he liked the idea. The Chief was as vain and selfish as the next man. Old age had not improved him in these regards. One would like here to tell a charming story of how the Great Old Man pulled himself out of a busy and happy retirement to give the Student a leg up, realizing and hoping that he would bring forward one more great political scientist who would defend and advance his scientific credo; such would be fiction.

That's not the way things usually work in the real world. But genug ist genug: it was enough and even very special that the Student could bandy about the name of the Chief if so minded, and it is not uncommon, actually it is ordinary, for professors, like race horses, to be known by their sires. So the Chief was lined up.

But the story took quite a turn. Leonard White, who was running the Department, called up the Student and asked him to drop by. The Chief had talked with him, he reported, and told him about the substantial work that the Student had done in Gosnell's new book. They thought that work of such character could be submitted in satisfaction of the requirement for a dissertation. They had therefore called Gosnell, told him of the situation, and asked him to agree that the materials contained in his book should be credited to Alfred de Grazia in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Gosnell so agreed. Voila'! Properly typed and bound, your manuscript will constitute your dissertation.

If ever you had doubts of the sanity of the Student, the next few minutes in Professor L. D. White's office would relieve you of them. The Student said, I do not have a high regard for the material contained in the book. What I would like to do is write a dissertation on representation according to a theory that I have been thinking about for some time. If I say what everybody knew, that L.D.White was suave, that is merely ordinary; to affirm that he was perfectly suave in this situation that had never happened before and would never happen again to him gives him the full measure of suavity due him. I see, he said; it is up to you, of course. I am confident that it will work out well. Perhaps we should ask Prof. Kerwin to take on the Chairmanship of the Committee and carry the Chief as a Member. Fine; so decreed.

He went home and at a desk in the hole in the wall, where they had wrenched off the in-a-door bed, setting it up as a couch bed in the next room -- there were only three rooms and a kitchenette and bath to the apartment -- he worked steadily for six months to write the history of political representation in America. Life went on busily around him; a third girl baby was born, the day after his father visited and cooked a hasenpfeffer, one of his specialties, of which Jill heartily partook.

The study, said Hans Morgenthau, meeting the Student at the should-be-famous little elevator of the Social Science Building, was the best work ever written on the subject of representation. Von Giercke, Carpenter, Luce, Clarke -- a very few scholars had come within miles of the scheme. He had begun even before the War to harness together Dewey's operationism, Mead's social psychology, Mannheim's ideological theory, Vaihinger's theory of fictions, and Lasswell's politics of the unconscious. He put the resultant to work on the idea that the relationship known as representation was discoverable in a plethora of devices and psychic demands which were scattered all over the political landscape; but when these bits and pieces were assembled they would each bear the identifiable imprint of some major way of looking at the world. If this were so, then it should be possible to discover at any given time in history and in a given stream of history, reciprocally, the bits and pieces deduced from the major streams of ideology, and the major ideologies from the bits and pieces.

The major empirical problem was to discover the bits and pieces, the psychic indicators (e.g. a claim to obey or not to obey the expressed majority will) and the demands for devices of representation (e.g. such as a long or short residence requirement for the vote). Hundreds of particular psychic and legal formulations existed. The history books and political treatises discussed few of them at any given time and adduced little in the way of data. The Student chose as his scope the history of American ideas of representation, but then pushed this back into the middle ages and the origin of the specific concept of representation. The lengthy time period lent itself to the discovery of relations between data bits and major ideologies; it was rather like the physicists who have been continuously expanding the racetrack of their sub-atomic particles to accelerate them and catch at least some significant few of them in the process of exploding and revealing their nature. At the same time, unlike the physicists, he had to depend upon historical events, finding particles splitting and behaving in times long gone (where the analogy might be attempts to discover aboriginal particles in space remaining over from the Big Bang theorized to have occurred at the beginning of the Universe). An alternative method would have been to assemble a small sample of people, subject them to intensive interviews to discover their view of man and society; to administer to them a long set of attitudinal questions designed to get their particular opinion about a great many devices and arrangements affecting relations between representatives and the public; and thereupon to correlate the ideological findings with the particular attitudes, in the expectation of finding that a given ideology (say, Jeffersonianism, or fascism) attracts and demands a given cluster of devices and arrangements. The Student was able to solve only partially the complex problems he had set for himself, but, as his second line of defense, he presented a fairly interesting story that could pass for good or better conventional history on an admittedly important topic. He asked the Chief to write a preface to the book for publication, and the Chief did, but the Student didn't like it: it was stuffy, unperceptive and condescending; so he killed it. The Chief and Son Bob then thought to write a textbook on American Government in order to make a lot of money, and got a fat advance to do so; they asked the Student to ghost-write it, but, of course, he refused. The book was ultimately published, but did not do well, not so much because of the qualities of the book but because, with a textbook, you have to become your own salesman and promoter and teach a large course in the field; neither of them qualified here.

Two years later, the Student forced Alfred Knopf to publish his dissertation, abridged of some of its probative documentation, as a condition for contracting to write an Elements of Political Science. He had another reason, a private one, for giving the Elements to Knopf; the representative of the highly regarded Boston firm, Houghton Mifflin, which was competing for the Elements, pointed out to him that Knopf was a Jewish company; the Student quietly recorded the anti-Semitic remark. Two decades later, Knopf could be proud that the book was one of a mere clutch of contemporary works of political science, that a commission selected, to help fill the shelves of a White House Library the Kennedys were pulling together.

It was time now to prepare for the examinations. It was true, as hoped for, that, as he wrote his dissertation, he would recollect his formal learning and read outward into the fields of the written and oral examinations. He felt weakest in the fields of government enterprise and public law, where the past several years had seen large changes and where detail was heavy. Herman Pritchett supplied him with the readings needed and he worked through them, attending, too, a few lectures. The only question that stopped him in any field came from the hand of L.D.White, in Public Administration; it had to do with some new federal agency; he wrote flatly that he knew nothing about the question. He passed the examinations.

The orals were most friendly. The sextette chatted and smoked like buddies. L.D. had played a considerable role in his post-war rehabilitation to academe. He evidently regarded him highly and even admired him, but was afraid of a wild streak in him. The Student respected White and found him easy enough to talk to, but sensed in him a respectability and authoritarianism that were basically uncreative; he was a towering figure among pedants and legists, with a fine literary style, an exactness and completeness and a validity to his large volumes. He was superior on his tried and true path; he left untrodden the equally important paths alongside.

He had to wait months for the next convocation and then when he took his parchment from the hands of Mr. Hutchins he walked directly back to his place. How is it, his gowned brother asked him afterwards, that you didn't go the long way around like everyone else to return to your seat? I forgot, he said, which may have meant that he was nervous and wanted to sit down, or unconsciously took the shortest distance between two points, no matter how definitely instructed to the contrary.

That evening a large party at Sebastian's, the folks down for the day, the three baby girls crawling and crying. Next day it was back to work. He was finishing up his course of lectures on American Government at Northwestern University; Ken Colegrove had heard that he was a rightist, perhaps from Herb Cornuelle of the Volker Fund or George de Huszar, and felt an affinity that was not reciprocated. The teaching took time from his main job, which was with Frank Bane at the Council of State Governments, and Frank only reluctantly acceded to it. He was supposed to be giving his all to the Hoover Commission Task Force on Federalism, the Chairman of which was an unreal personage with the unlikely name of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge.

Frank really liked the Student's paper on the theory of federalism; it wasn't the ordinary balderdash centralist political scientists were putting out on the subject; it became the bell-wether for the flock of recommendations and justifications that followed in the Hoover Commission Report. Bane had a fine staff; Crif, Herb, Frank Smothers, Catherine, Mary, -- Mort Grodzins came in to help and the Student argued with him, he was jealous of him and didn't respect him, but later found him decent, friendly and, if not brilliant, at least sensible. The group worked effectively all around the nation; Bane was a powerhouse, running the Governor's Annual Conference as he did, and representing the States as a whole in Washington.

He was quite a credit to Virginia. When he died, the Student wanted to obtain from Tom Frelinghuysen, his neighbor, a beautiful statue of a tired, scrawny Stonewall Jackson on a tired looking horse, it would look great in heroic size, and dedicate it to Frank Bane, but Frank's son-in-law, a yankee consultant of some fame, didn't like the idea, maybe thought it was Confederate, whereas the Student regarded Stonewall as a great figure, tragic, ironic, and his portrayal here, of the hopelessness of war, marvelous, with the spirit of Frank Bane and his background espoused well, and the artwork itself a masterpiece.

And then, for treble moonlighting there was the manuscript for which George de Huszar had contracted with Barnes and Noble: it was to be on International Relations and go into the Student Outline Series that was peddled all over the world. George had a batch of material but hated the work of finishing it (he so much wished to go on with his Life of Cervantes -- for he was in truth a Don Quixote), and he asked the Student therefore to complete the work, adding several chapters, and to share its authorship. So the Student did the job in a matter of three weeks' time. It sold many thousands all over the world: it is often the fate of serious writers to be known for and to earn money on what they hold in least respect. When Saul Padover, one of the Chicago School, was an old man, he would tell how, as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, while working on his dissertation, he had put together a collection of passages from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It was published in paperback. President Roosevelt -- no great reader he -- happened to quote a passage from the book and recommended it. Sales mounted and stayed up forever. "All my life," smiled Saul in his retirement, "Thomas Jefferson has paid my rent."

The last favor of L.D.White was to occur. He called the Student over to his starched office one day to ask whether he would like to take up an appointment at the University of Minnesota. If so, he would recommend him. Why Minnesota, said the Student, is it the best? Yes, it is. Moreover, should you find ever a better opportunity, the experience would be invaluable. They want someone who represents the Chicago brand of political science, and someone who could belong to a Committee for Interdisciplinary Research that they are setting up with a Carnegie Foundation grant.

The Student flew to Minneapolis and delivered a sample lecture, a difficult one he could see right away, for their appeared before him a large freshman class admitted under rather lower standards than Chicago's. Quigley and Bill Anderson, the honchos of Political Science there, had suggested he speak on Pareto, Mosca, and Michels, the machiavellian realists that people were coming to be aware of. So he plotted out a sophisticated outline. It was not the most eloquent of lectures and lacked the elementary teacher's knowledge of how to make a simple-minded crowd follow you -- write down names and facts on the blackboard, reiterate what is important, review, summarize, and, if you have anything left in you by way of patience, tell a couple of harmless jokes.

Still, they liked him well enough and offered him a two-year renewable contract to teach political behavior and American Government at $4800. He wanted to move from Chicago because he still remained a disaffected veteran, a hangover from the Old Regime at the University, and a poor boy in a rich society. Jill liked it because it would take her into the wilds of the northwest. And no one came up to them and exclaimed: "Whoa! I am holding a million dollars in my hand. This is what you are giving away by moving to some new strange city. Think of your multitude of friends! You are practically a famous couple!"

But they would have answered, "Silly! These things are not expressible in terms of money!" A typical American confidence, founded upon experience, that Americans everywhere were your friends. You ask, "Where are you from? What do you do?" And the rest of it all is ignored. That was the way it was. "People are the same everywhere": it was an axiom that he tried to sell to his classes all the time. So off they went, with the three little girls, still driving their 1939 black Buick; it had some rough times facing it from the Minnesota winters.

He would almost never see the University of Chicago again. He was invited once to a conference on Apportionment: "One Man, One Vote," by happenstance with his old teammates Senator Chuck Percy and Judge Hugh Wills; he was alone in attacking the fashionable "cure-all" of representation; still, Journalist David Brody, also a Chicago man, whispered to him after a while "I notice you've got them not saying `one man-one vote' any more and saying your `equal-population districting' instead."

Following the Wartime quantavolution into the second generation, the second generation, it, too, passed. Little by little the Department became terra incognita -- Easton, Leiserson, Grodzins, Pritchett, and Morgenthau were friends, Leites was more likely with the Rand Corp or in Paris -- and there were a score of others around, but he needed more than handshakes to come back. Neither he nor the Department had ever recovered from the War.

There came the time when he knew none of its twenty-nine regular members. And when once late in life he walked into a cocktail party of the Chicago Department in Washington during a convention of the American Political Science Association, he felt ghastly strange and forlorn, like a dispossessed French feudal lord of the Revolution with an irresistible urge to sneak back into his ancestral chateau, there espying its serious bumbling peasants still engaged in casting up the value of the bric-a-brac for an ever more meticulously fair division -- which would never come about, need I say.

He would never regret his decision to become a professor, taken in the third year following his separation from the Army of the United States, and recommended the life to others. He could never tell you, of course, which decisions were good which bad: The decision not to be a lone cowhand but to be serious as a child. The decision to switch from violin to trumpet. To not return free of cost and famous as Camp Bugler to Boy Scout Camp at Orinoko, Michigan. The decision to give up a sure berth at the YMCA College for a toehold at the University of Chicago. To leave Columbia University and Law School. To not play out the war in the Station Band of Camp Grant, Illinois. Not to go into the production of Italian films after beginning their reorganization in the War. Nor to accept a responsible position in the Berlin Mission of the U.S. Government upon victory in the war. Not to persist at any cost in the publishing business. To refuse to let his research for Gosnell be taken for a Ph. D. dissertation. To not accept Paul Douglas' offer to join his Senatorial Team. To not stick to his alma mater at any cost until he would have found a permanent place there. To not accept Frank Keppel's offer of a professorship at Harvard. To refuse the Directorship of the Social Science Division of UNESCO. And a couple more, like maybe a hundred. And a thousand more if you want to talk about missing a train, dodging a car crash, losing an early lover, hardly recovering from an operation, skirting a land mine in war. Sometimes a decision is but an accident or blends into one and vice versa. And note that these are all negatively put. There are positive decisions, too, if you want to get into them.

Indeed, is not the very fact of existence here and now positive -- we exist! -- and is this not but an algebraic summation of all the positive and negative decisions and accidents you know of? Who selected his parents? Did he choose his girl or she him, or did their ambiance mold them into one? Was it his own personal determination to fall in love with and stay in love with, companionably and sexually, for a long long time the right woman despite all sorts of problems imagined and real, moral and geographical? Was it a positive decision of his life, so far as we know of this life, to be as intelligent and philosophical as he might not too uncomfortably be? This was a fearful decision in an age when specialization (often termed "dedication") paid off richly in itself, and then was the justification for making the best specialist the top generalist -- whether in politics, the bureaucracy, the military, business, or academia. Was it not the positive sine qua non of his way of life to have joined the University and stuck by it for its superior ability to provide intellectual maturation?

Given all the unknowns and imponderables, it became a travesty for the Student to think about his education in terms of the Class of 1939. It was the most tepid of memorial bathos, this College Class feeling. He recalled the hundreds of men and women whom he had known from the sum of such "Classes" and in and about the University community "Classless", who had taught there and worked there, studied and lived in it, and the many who had come and gone without taking a degree.

When, fifty years after 1939, he was implored to come attend the greatest of all reunions in letter after letter, it seemed false and blasphemous to the experience he held fondly in memory. It was a fake, a commodity, this Class and Reunion business, guaranteed to pick up its statistically reliable quota of cash for the voracious treasury of the school. If it were true that the alumni had a function beyond being fat cats, then they should be organized independently of the University, with certain rights to know, to investigate, and to be heard; the money that would then come from them would be blessed funding --and there might even be more of it!

On May 2, 1989, he gets a letter from Bob (Greenebaum) and Marty (Miller) straight from the electronic file of macros and the maw of the computer:

"There are not many things in a lifetime that are worth waiting fifty years to experience..." Our 50th Reunion!!

"And while you have your checkbook handy, use it to sent (sic) a check to make sure you are listed as a donor to the Class of 1939 Gift Fund."

"Let's show them that 1939 is still one of the best classes of all-time (sic)."

The old Student has a dream around the time of receiving this letter:

He is with some bandsmen with their new types of trumpets; these have pretzel-shaped bells. Then he is with several people in a flat at 56th Street. Bob Merriam, Laura Bergquist, and a couple of others are there. He decides to look in upon a big party of alumni down the street. "Deadman's there and you can bring him back with you," says Merriam. O.K. He is now at the party. It is in a great ballroom. Several people seem to recognize him. They are just standing and talking. He sees Ferguson, the waterpolo goalie, and a couple of other players. Deadman is drunk. He is too. They stagger out.

The Class of 1939 would be touted the same way the same time at "Ol' Miss" and all the rest. Like the cocktail party, like the retreading of the departments, it was not what the Student wanted or needed. Of course, he realized, milking the Old Grads, under whatever pretext, did pluralize and improve the mixture, which brought government, foundation, legislative, and the vastly rich donor to the aid of the parents, students, and faculty; although this was not Plato's ideal state of affairs, it might pass for Aristotle's mixed constitution and the golden mean. Anyhow, he would have been there with the Class of 1939, acting as foolishly as in his dream, if he weren't too poor to travel and spending his spare cash to save the world and his peculiar version of science. So, as time goes by, and he can't go home again, he domiciles in memory.


Table of Contents