The end of my freshman year I just called up out of the blue and said, “I’d like to take your course.” And he said, “Why don’t you come over to my house. “And so I went over to his house it was a nice spring day, we sat out on his patio and we talked for like an hour and a half about what I had been doing at Williams, who I was, where I came from and what I saw myself doing at Williams. As everyone knows, if you were talking to him, he was very focused on what you had to say. And he said, “You should take the class,” which I did.

It was basically a political philosophy course. We studied Rousseau, a lot of classics. And he was constantly trying to draw it into what we were reading about that day in the newspaper. Nixon was under fire and eventually [Vice President] Spiro Agnew resigned. I remember his question one time, “Is Nixon a Hobbesian?” I think he viewed Nixon as someone who had a view that he wanted to impose—or that he wanted to accomplish in policy terms–and was probably willing to take whatever route he could take to get there. That’s what he probably meant. But as you know, he didn’t always say what he thought.

It was sort of like “Where would Hobbes be today? Where would Rousseau be among our politicians?” When you’re 19, 20 and go into a classroom you expect to get knowledge imparted on you. This was a little different. You had to work for this. He drags it out of you. These problems we have today were problems people thought of hundreds of years ago. It’s a level of depth that’s important and that you don’t always get in an educational environment.