Law in Contemporary Society
In our discussion of Lawyerland, there was a general sentiment of sympathy or disgust for the kid, because his father left him in Rikers to await trial. The father had never been to Rikers. As such, we found him cruel. In the same vain, I'll venture to say that the majority of the class has never been a slave. Maybe that's why there were some who thought John Brown imprudent for failing to wait for the "right time." Spend one night in Rikers or one night in the bondage of chattel slavery, then come back and tell me that being a slave for a few more months is the moral thing to do, so it shouldn't be too hard. What is a few more months to the slave? Unlike the kid, the four million enslaved people had committed no punishable offense to bring upon them the oppression they faced.

Professor Moglen asked about our response to slavery. "Look at the jail!" said Thoreau. He was speaking of the quotidian violence of imprisonment in his time. Slavery only legally exists in this country after conviction. The less sensible person will say, "They deserve it, because they are criminals." As if slave owners and sympathizers did not have just as many public interest justifications for exploiting and beating human beings. We have responded to slavery in our own time. Our sentiments towards injustice were so roused that we decided to become lawyers, but freeing the slaves seems less important at the moment than our political and economic futures. As Thoreau recognizes, there are about two or three people per class who may go johnbrowning around courthouses. I can't say that I have had the pleasure to meet them.

I certainly don't think I have the courage to go johnbrowning anywhere, but I wouldn't hang the man or woman that did.

James 2:14-17 New International Version (NIV)

Faith and Deeds 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

-- RachelGholston - 29 Feb 2012


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r2 - 22 Jan 2013 - 18:17:02 - IanSullivan
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