The “Rule of Law” is an Evil Fiction

I’ve been reading Inside the Law School Scam.  And it’s spot-on in its indictment of the law school (and more broadly the legal system) that condemns recent grads to six-figure debt without any hope of paying it off in a reasonable amount of time.  He points out that part of the problem is an academic environment that is obsessed with, among other things, “craven appeasement of dubious authority figures,” all in the hope that we will get a good grade.

Law school is not a trade school.  We spent three years there not so we could learn how to be lawyers (that kinda happened if we did clinic or had a good internship, but otherwise was left to our first employer, assuming we found a job).  Instead, we spent three years there learning how to bear up under pressure from professors who could dispense brass rings, calmly describe horrible things to leech them of their horror, and how to view success as a zero-sum game that comes at the expense of our peers.  In other words, we were taught to respect judges who abuse us and our clients while they ignore the law[1], to describe the abuse of power by corporations and government in ways that don’t challenge their power (when not actively facilitating that power), and ultimately respect an entire legal system that is rigged to grind up people without power to the benefit of those who have it.

The “rule of law” is a sham.  It’s a fiction.  It reinforces race, class, gender, etc. privileges, either by not rooting them out or actively reinforcing them.  It allows banks to steal homes by fabricating documents.  It allows former government officials to admit to ordering torture without consequence.

The rot in the legal profession goes deeper than law schools juking the stats to entice students to fund cushy lifestyles for professors and administrators.  The whole edifice is corrupt.  Making sure grads have jobs that pay enough to service their debt is important and worthwhile.  But helping the players won’t change the game.

[1] Anyone who doubts this is invited to practice before the EEOC in Texas and Washington, DC.

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No We Can’t

There’s something sadly appropriate about today being the last shuttle launch. Just as the country winds down the era of manned space flight, a Democratic President wants to reach across the aisle and dismantle the Great Society and the New Deal with the Republican Party that has hated those programs since their inception.
As Atrios notes, “No we can’t,” has become the driving refrain for our elites. It seems extremely unlikely that the space program will get off the ground again in the near future when the two parties are competing to see who can slash social spending more while giving money away to rich people who don’t need it. The question now is how far back to the past we’ll be going: After giving up pensions and health care, will we lose clean water? Bridges? Safe food? It’s an exciting time to be alive, because we can watch the curtain come down on American exceptionalism.

[Updated to fix links, 7/8/11, 3:21 PM]

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