Skip to comments.Law Schools Are Bad for Democracy: legions of lawyers are ready to make our democracy unworkable.
Posted on 11/02/2004 5:55:33 AM PST by OESY
A most alarming political problem confronting America is the deployment of thousands of lawyers, once again, to litigate the presidential election. No one can think that deciding that contest in courtrooms is healthy for American politics. But as both parties have "lawyered up," the public can only watch helplessly....
Now consider... all controversial cases involve the rejection of strong arguments.... To what kind of mind is... the making of an argument in itself have urgent moral force?
The answer is that it matters to a person trained to spend a lifetime making arguments. Every day in law school, thousands of students are asked to fashion legal arguments on the spot. In theory, the point of this exercise is for subsequent questioning to reveal to students potential weaknesses in their positions. But this so-called Socratic method inevitably teaches a different lesson as well. As students watch each other struggle to avoid intellectual embarrassment or defeat, they learn to admire the capacity to argue for its own sake. In recent years this implicit lesson has become more powerful because standards of political correctness and the right of students to evaluate their teachers make it difficult for professors to ask the kinds of follow-up questions that might lead to real insight and growth. As a result, the tendency to invest argumentation with moral status increasingly lacks humility or self-doubt.
...Unfortunately, this education breeds and dignifies some dangerous inclinations. It encourages people to favor constructed idealizations over real life. And it confuses the skills of argumentation with morality. The legions of lawyers encamped across the country to litigate their way to political victory are the embodiment of a more insidious process -- the penetration of our society by a relentlessly adversarial mindset, one that is entirely ready to make our democracy unworkable.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Some have called the Democrat Party the legal party and the Republican Party the moral party, reflecting their significant constituencies, such as trial lawyers and social conservatives, respectively. In general, one party holds that conduct must be legal while the other adds a moral dimension and advocates doing the right thing, though exceptions abound.
Meanwhile, it must be conceded that uncodified moral principles can incline toward societal chaos, the legal code can be both inflexible to change and unfair in its administration and enforcement, as when people who do wrong avoid penalties on legal technicalities.
More importantly, it is the insidious, often self-serving selection of targets for legal prosecution that in itself undermines the concept of justice, the sacrosanct respect for the law, and goodwill toward its practitioners. There are myriad examples from the uneven enforcement of election laws to the prosecution of health care and drug companies by the New York attorney general.
One theory holds that the U.S. became a litigious society when draft age students sought to extend their education by going to law school during the Vietnam era. Public revulsion and the passage of tort reform would help alleviate some of the excesses.
During the past ten years, used car salesmen went up in my estimation - they rank well above lawyers in my estimation.
Anything the leftist world of academia controls is bad for America, in general.
What is the consequence of so many lawyers in the political arena?
For a good example take the European Union's new Constitution.
A 333 page tome that only lawyers could draft and understand, as opposed to the single page document that governs our own Republic.
Lawyers concern themselves with exacting legal precedents, not subtle moral persuasion, and as such are anathemaic to a free republic.
Law Schools exist because of Federal and State grants. These should be repealed and spend the money to Computer Schools.
Then Mr. Nagel uses the phrase, "...our democracy..." in his writing.
The U.S. is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic.
The founding fathers abhored a democracy because of it's inherent threat to individual liberties being overrun by the tyranny of the majority.
And Mr. Nagel is a law professor????
Agreed. But Wife No. 1 is a close second.
Oh, okay! You can say that, but as soon as someone's dog bites you, or someone rearends your car, who will you go crying to when you want your money?
I am a law student at the University of Dayton. Don't blame the profession...blame the liberal professors who try to brainwash their students day in and day out.
Luckily some of us resist!
You knew her too?!!! (I new I should have hired that P.I. first...)
Well, I, on the other hand, believe this is an EXCELLENT essay, which deserves the widest possible disemnation! With full credit to the author, I intend to do just that.
Care to litigate?
I'm proud to be a law student, and this article just torques me off.
The B/S refers to the part of your title that states ..." legions of lawyers are ready to make our democracy unworkable.".
Lawyers can be blamed, or perhaps the blame should be placed squarely where it belongs. An uninformed, uncaring, personally selfish, or purposely anti-American electorate.
In theory, the point of this exercise is for subsequent questioning to reveal to students potential weaknesses in their positions. But this so-called Socratic method inevitably teaches a different lesson as well.
"I'm proud to be a law student, and this article just torques me off."
Let me be gentle with you. You need to reconsider what you intend to be your life's work. Will you produce something that will make this a better world? Please permit me to be frank. I'm an old man now, compared to you. On the basis of my own personal experience and observation, I have come to this conclusion:
Lawyers are like a cancer on society. They consume a disproportionate amount of the world's wealth and produce absolutely nothing. And like a cancer, they feed and grow in the societal body, ever multiplying, ever consuming... "Lawyer" is the ONLY job in the history of the world that, the more of them you have, the more of them you need!!! Think about it. They breed and feed like maggots. And they produce NOTHING. And what they comsume leaves that much less time and capital to produce SOMETHING that serves and facilitates man's higher purpose.
Maybe you should elevate your life's aim a little? Have you considered being the money changer in a brothel, which, at least after a fashion, is a productive profession? Or if its the passion and emotion angle that fires you, you could be one of the providers. And that would even be a more honest living.
But wait! You must know that. Is it the hair, and the suits, and the babes, and the "style", and the jakes, and the TV, and LA Law, and The Practice, etc? Do you fancy needing a "compact" like John Edwards? In that case, You go, girl! Society will just have to carry another cancer cell...
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