Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are Lawyers Getting Stupider?

I would not have thought it possible for lawyers to get more stupid, but according to a study from the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at Bristol University, the IQs of lawyers are dropping toward the population average. Thinking about the attorneys currently running the US government, however, it becomes easier to believe the decline. In fact, are they absolutely sure that average attorney IQ has not dropped below population average IQ?
The CMPO study.... found that, although the comparative wealth of lawyers’ parents had increased between the two study groups – born in 1958 and 1970 – their scores in IQ tests had moved closer to the average.

BPP College principle Carl Lygo argues that a relative fall in ability might not be such a bad thing. “This doesn’t surprise me,” he says. “Opportunities are ­widening – there are all kinds of people out there who need all kinds of different lawyers.”

He points to the growing number of people embarking on a law career, adding: “The law doesn’t need to be the ­preserve of the elite.”.....

.....Researchers tracked some 18,000 people from birth to age 34, recording vital data along the way. The 1970 group is the latest study (apart from one carried out in 2000, which is of little use when analysing today’s lawyers). The results of the 1970 survey were only released a couple of years ago and it was not until this year that the data was broken down by ability and income for each profession. The ­participants of the 1970 survey are now well established in law firms and ­chambers, making this the best data available, given that large-scale ­economic studies are thin on the ground. _The Lawyer_via TaxProfBlog_via_NewsAlert
If a pilot is incompetent, the plane may well crash. If the surgeon is incompetent, the patient may die or have the wrong leg amputated. But if a lawyer is incompetent, he fits right in with most of the other lawyers and judges, so there is generally no penalty.

Even if an attorney graduated from Harvard or Yale, due to affirmative action, grade inflation, and widespread cheating, there is little reason to expect him to be competent. Look at Obama. Case closed.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Liberal Gets Uneasy About Obama's Leftism

Stuart Taylor is a respected liberal legal scholar and author who has supported Obama out of a belief that Obama was "one of us." By "one of us", Taylor meant that he thought that Obama was really a "good liberal", and not a wild-eyed leftist like those right wingers were claiming. But even a "baby leftist" can start to wake up. Being taken for a chump is not easy to admit, but Taylor may be beginning to comprehend how easily he has been led down the path.

I have taken certain liberties with the excerpted text below, from Taylor's timid "mea culpa." Text inside the square brackets is editorial comment from Al Fin.
_Al Fin

Having praised President Obama's job performance in two recent columns, it is with regret that I now worry that he may be [crafting] what looks more and more like a depression and may engineer so much spending, debt, and government control of the economy as to leave most Americans permanently less prosperous and less free.

Other Obama-admiring centrists have expressed similar concerns. Like them, I would like to be proved wrong. After all, if this president fails, who will revive our economy? And when? And what kind of America will our children inherit?

....But with the nation already plunging deep into [gratuitous] debt to [drown] the crippled financial system and stimulate the economy, Obama's proposals for many hundreds of billions in additional spending on universal health care, universal postsecondary education, a massive overhaul of the energy economy, and other liberal programs seem grandiose and unaffordable.

With little in the way of offsetting savings likely to materialize, the Obama agenda would probably generate trillion-dollar deficits with no end in sight, or send middle-class taxes soaring to record levels, or both.

All this from a man who told the nation last week that he doesn't "believe in bigger government" and who promised tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans.

The president's suggestions that all the necessary tax increases can be squeezed out of the richest 2 percent are [devious and ] deceptive and [designed] to stir class resentment. And his apparent cave-ins to [leftist revolutionary] interest groups [will] change the country for the worse.

Such concerns [will] help explain why the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 17 percent from the morning of Inauguration Day (8,280) to its close on March 4 (6,876). The markets have also been deeply shaken by Obama's alarming failure to come up with a clear plan for fixing the crippled financial system -- which has loomed since his election four months ago as by far his most urgent challenge -- or for working with foreign leaders to arrest the meltdown of the world economy.

Stuart Taylor

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