Law in Contemporary Society
In conversations with all of you outside of class and the wiki, I've noticed an interesting common thread: we all like the class because it “makes us think”. After having several similar conversations in this vein, I couldn't help but blush a little after recently coming across a passage from Arnold. Discussing Norman Thomas, a socialist preacher, he writes:

“He symbolized a conflicting ideal without creating a practical working institution which interfered with any of the ideals that Socialism contradicted. Thus conservatives liked to have him around, just as respectable married people of the Victorian age liked to read about Lancelot and Guinevere and admired Tennyson for writing the Idylls of the King. This is what a friend of mine meant when he said Norman Thomas made him 'think'” (14-it's worth reading the next paragraph as well).

I'd like to suggest that right now, our collective relationship to Law and Contemporary Society is a little like Arnold's friend's relationship to Norman Thomas. We're in a position where we can leisurely contemplate Eben's lectures in between open-bar firm receptions, regardless of the fact that the two are diametrically opposed when taken to their logical conclusion—which they will be, one way or another, in a year or two. And if all Law and Contemporary Society is doing for us is making us “think,” I have a pretty good feeling which way we are all going to come out.

This is not a bad thing—if we are content to continue on the standard path to a big firm. But if this is the path we want to take, I think we need to confront Arnold's reasoning in this passage and the surrounding text, because it strongly suggests to me that pondering radical ideas while we make preparations to devote our lives to propping up the existing establishment doesn't amount to much.

If we do not want to go down this path, I think we need to start thinking as practically as possible about how to divert ourselves, because otherwise we are just going to get swept along with the tide. To that end, I am creating another thread, GoodLeads. Also, IsBeingACorporateLawyerImmoral seems like a good question to answer because how we answer that one determines how we answer this one to some extent.

-- MichaelDreibelbis - 24 Feb 2009



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r1 - 24 Feb 2009 - 05:21:23 - MichaelDreibelbis
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