Diary of a 1L
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Thursday, November 20, 2003
5:55 PM

The law gives power to a certain set of values. But whose values are they? Are they the values of the majority of society? Not necessarily. Maybe they're the values of the elites of the U.S. and England in prior centuries. Maybe they're the values of lawyers as a class of people. They're not my values.

In particular, I don't believe that if you make a mistake and hurt someone that you deserve to lose your career and life savings. Nor do I think you're entitled to be "made whole" if someone causes you harm by accident. That's not what the law says, but that's what I think it should say. There are a lot of bad things that can happen to you in life, and you may just have to grin and bear it, no matter how awful it is. It isn't fair that you should get compensated just because there's someone to blame when someone else who is, say, hit by lightning has no remedy. But that's not how the law of torts is.

I also think bad people deserve to have bad things happen to them. I include myself: if I do wrong, I don't expect any favors or mercy. At the same time, I don't believe that it's my duty as an imperfect person to correct the actions and thoughts of others. Unless I'm perfectly good, and I never will be, my duty is to make myself better. The criminal justice system should prevent crime, not judge people morally. But I'm not going to lose sleep over the suffering of a bad person who deserves it.

I can get my mind around the law of contracts. It's a tool that helps people get things done together. We don't judge parties to a contract. We enable them to make commitments where uncertainty would otherwise get in the way.

I'm not sold on "The Law" yet. If law doesn't reflect the values of society, then hiring a lawyer is basically just an exercise of power against someone else. It's no better than hiring a thug to club someone in the knees when you're mad at them.

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