Dr. Wysong's Blog -
LAWYERED UP GOVERNMENT
The majority of those in government are lawyers. Presently the entire body of representatives of one of the political parties is lawyers.
It may seem that because government is about laws that lawyers would be most suited for the job. But that must not be. Government continues to run afoul and over 80% of citizens don’t trust it or those who are swimming in its swamp.
Rather than fealty to the Constitution and freedom, politicians tut-tut that and press forward with their personal ideologies, self-serving agendas, and malversation using back-room deals, lies, bribes, plea bargains, compromises, injustices…all the things we find despicable that also can occur in the judicial system.
The fault lies with the way lawyers are trained and the legal system is designed. Doing what is right and seeking justice may be the reason people become lawyers, but that is not the way the law is practiced. Changing the world for the better may be the reason lawyers go into politics, but that is not how politics is practiced.
What happens to those wonderful ideals?
Conscience is surrendered to groupthink. A law student is trained to relinquish individual conscience and sense of ethic and justice to obedience to the legal system. The problem is that the legal system is a human concoction of words fraught with imperfections and double meanings creating loopholes that permit injustices to leak through. For example, the legal system says everyone is entitled to aggressive representation. Thus there is the practice by defense attorneys to do all that is possible to get people off, guilty or not. There is also the practice by prosecutors of doing everything possible to put people in jail. Setting a serial murderer free or putting an innocent person behind bars is unconscionable to anyone with a pulse. But lawyers who do such things sleep at night because they were obedient to the system... "I just was doing what I was told (in law school)."
Conscience, ethics, and morality all become redefined as obedience to the system. When lawyers enter politics they carry with them this allegiance and attitude. If the political system allows lying, cheating, theft, and denying people their freedoms, then that becomes redefined as moral. The highest political official in the land, President Clinton, a lawyer, when on trial displayed this attitude remarkably when he said, “It depends upon what the meaning of is is.”
Once in the grip of the political system where so much power and money circulates, lawyers trained to work a system, work the political system for power, personal interests, and ideological ends. With silky words many politicians cast a moral cloak over their unconstitutional and selfish base motives. They manipulate our freedoms like they defend guilty parties or prosecute innocent ones. Government has become like one great big wheeling-dealing, free for all court room.
The problem is not lawyers per se. It is the human proclivity to surrender conscience to others in the form of their institutions. Exercising individual conscience is perhaps the hardest thing we attempt to do as humans. It is too exacting, uncompromising, and usually does not bring us immediate benefit. So we do the lazy thing and turn conscience over to others, particularly if their conscience grants us ease, comfort, and other benefits.
Lawyers are not alone. The call of conscience to ease pain and suffering may be the reason people become doctors. But medical school trains that out and replaces it with obedience to the official standard of care. If giving an eighty-five-year-old seventeen pharmaceuticals is not forbidden, then it can be done in “good conscience” even if it results in the death of the patient. (As occurred with both my mother and sister.) Modern medicine is responsible for more deaths than any other cause. The Greatest Threat To Health, yet we hear not a whisper about it because doctors are obediently following their training and the system.
The same can be said of those who surrender their conscience to a religious organization or holy book. History is bathed in the blood of millions because people have replaced their own conscience with that of other humans in the form of their authoritarian institutions.
We should elect people who are not encumbered with any habits from a profession or belief system that permits them to put justice and conscience aside. I’m picking on lawyers here because the government is saturated with them. I’m picking on politicians too because 99% of them give the other 1% a bad name. But we should be equally suspicious of anyone beholden to any organization, be it secular, professional, or religious. Organizations are by nature anti-truth because they lock their devotees into some fixed dogma. (See both Thinking Matters books for an array of examples of how humans repeatedly, to their peril, surrender to organizations.)
Such allegiance is not a very smart thing for any smart person to do, but it is particularly dangerous in government because of the power it can exert. The only way to rescue the country from the undertow of a government embedded with those who are committed to something other than truth, freedom, and justice, is to elect representatives who are philosophically deep, historically alert, and have demonstrated such savvy by their actions. They should be measured by what they have done, not their looks or what they say and promise. They should be permitted in office for only a short stint so they can focus on doing what is right, rather than posture and manipulate for re-election. Then they must go back to society with the rest of us to live under the system they create.
Thinking Word — fealty - \fe·al·ty\ Click for pronunciation -noun: An oath of fidelity. Faithfulness; allegiance.