Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why This Man Gets a Link From the BBC Blog

"All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half."
–H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), "Breathing Space", The Baltimore Evening Sun, 1924 Aug 4. Reprinted in A Carnival of Buncombe.

I don't have anything against lawyers. But I did get fired once as a column writer for suggesting that "Republican lawyers should be banned from serving in the Texas Legislature." Of course I was immediately hired as a freelance writer, and continued to turn in stories on deadline for the editor of a newspaper that I had spent 3.5 years writing for, editing, typesetting, pasting up and delivering to the printer. Paste-up is no longer a function in modern-day newsrooms, thanks to (or not) desktop publishing and modernization of the printing process.
I once read an argument that lawyers should be the only people elected to serve in government posts. The logic of the persuader was that only lawyers could accurately interpret the U.S. Constitution and other laws that exist in our country, as only they can understand them. I would counter that by saying it has been lawyers and judges who have interpreted us into the current state in which we exist, which is that we barely exist. And there are elected officials who are not attorneys.
I hope I don't get sued for saying that.

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