My Philosophy Professor, Dr. Gill
My Room, Beaufort Hotel
May 25, `77
Morning coffee, and I didn’t have to bicycle to get it. Great! It
was a good movie last night, too, but the highlight of the evening was
David Frost’s interview with Richard Nixon. I was glad I at least
caught one of his interviews. I couldn’t believe Nixon was our
President, or maybe I should say that I did believe the office of the
presidency concealed the man. Unless the President wanted to reveal
himself, he could remain completely obscured by the pomp and
circumstance of the office. Nixon was a rheumatoid. He lived in a
make-believe world. He told Frost the reporters on the news program
Sixty-minutes were out to get him. He said most of their reporting was
fabricated, but he also said that he had only watched the program once
in his life. What a jerk! He lived in the dark ages. He probably kept
Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, at his bedside. I once told my
Philosophy professor, jokingly of course, that I thought Nixon was
from another planet. After listening to him last night, that joke was
not so obvious. But, then again, as I remembered it, I thought that
that old Professor of mine was from another planet, also. He talked as
if he was, anyway.
Dr. Gill didn’t believe in the practice of “common sense,” or at
least that was what he told the class. Maybe he was right! If Nixon
could get elected to the most powerful office in the world, and in the
process, rain terror down upon all those he labeled un-American, then
maybe we didn’t live in a world that practiced common sense after all.
To be fair, though, I think I understand better now what Dr. Gill was
aiming at when he told the class he didn’t believe in common sense.
Back then, however, I didn’t understand him at all. To me, back then,
he even sounded like a space alien. What he was trying to get into our
heads was that a large part of what was being taught in school was
wrong. In particular, the “common sense” notion that John Locke
popularized was wrong.