Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't Vote For Lawyers - Part II

There is an earlier post about why we should not vote for lawyers. Carl from No Oil For Pacifists made an intriguing comment, which I asked him to expand upon. He hasn't. However, he clearly remembered it, because he passed along this quote from Maxed Out Mama
[E]ngineers are trained to sit down and figure out how something works before busting it. Lawyers are trained to bust things efficiently for a high tab. There is a fundamental difference in world views....
I had been thinking of something similar.

My mediaevalist mind goes immediately to castles. As an analogy, lawyers are trained in the attacking and defending of castles. This is not a bad thing, as defending from attack is what castles are ultimately for. To defend well, you need to think like an attacker. To attack well, you must think like a defender.

But neither skill has anything to do with building a castle, which is a separate skill. In terms of business, military, trade, and the other important skills of building, it is worth noting that lawyers know nothing about making any of those things. They can attack them and defend them. What we eventually come to is an endless round of attacking and defending castles, with no one building any new ones.


David Foster said...

It is probably a bad idea to have government dominated by people in *any* one profession. In China, I believe most of the senior leadership was trained as engineers: this isn't a good thing either.

Lawyers have the advantage that they can run for office and even if they lose, the resulting pubicity & contacts can be good for their business. Also, if they do win, then once they leave office their market value will have been greatly increased by their perceived ability to understand & influence government action. Other professions don't have these advantages.

Anonymous said...

And if you doubt the ability of lawyers to destroy, just look at the number of industries they have brought to their knees with class action suits based on junk science for wrongs real or merely perceived. They are great at slash and burn.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

David, and the Nazis had an unusual percentage of artists among their leaders. You're onto something.

@nooil4pacifists said...


You've said it better than I could.

I know attorneys who are castle builders. But it's rare, in part because legal education re-works the thinking process, and no sane person would design or construct by the Socratic method.

Also, about half of my law school class had poli sci degrees. They finished law school with few skills other than attack and defense. Some of the best lawyers I know started as engineers or economists.

I'm an attacker/defender, with an occasional idea about castles that seldom is tested. I know my limitations. By the nature of the job, most politicians (whether or not lawyers) don't.

Anonymous said...

I make it a rule never ever vote for anyone who is ether a lawyer or has alawyer as a running mate and Q.Why do vultures dislike lawyers? A.They dont like the competition