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Comment Re:Just a thought... (Score 0) 274

Just as an aside, it isn't reverse discrimination. There is no such thing, logically speaking.

Inasmuch as the phrase 'reverse discrimination' more precisely describes a phenomenon than the more general 'discrimination' speakers will employ it.

As "logical" as you approach might be, it functions only by decontextualising discrimination. And by positing various discriminations as abstract and equal, "just as racist|sexist" one blind oneself to any systemic cultural biases which might operate against subaltern groups. It is not as though the prevalence of the biases that exist in a culture represent merely the sum total of individual decisions to be biased in any particular direction, any more than the prevalence of English use in anglophone countries can be explained by the sum total of individual choices made by speakers.

In contradistinction to this neat decontextualised logical analysis, an empirical study should turn up actual systemic discrimination where such discrimination exists. But it might turn up more. In a culture where it has become possible to appreciate systemic bias within that culture, individuals (and here we are more likely dealing with the deliberate and reflective decisions of individual members) may decide to (over)compensate for the systemic biases they perceive to operate. That particular form of discrimination, as distinct from others, is 'reverse discrimination' and one needs to account for the possibility that it is affecting observations.

Thus while it may not make much sense purely in the abstract, in real-word situations it has obviously become necessary to discriminate be 'discrimination' generally and 'reverse discrimination' in particular.

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

Perhaps, but the current method guarantees the opposite.

Not really. Simplicity and clarity, where they can be achieved are very much in the interest of practising lawyers. But anyway ...

The point of my original post was that in our rush to hate lawyers (which not surprisingly is characteristic of nations with levels of litigation) we forget what the lawyers have done, and continue to do, for us. Just yesterday I read this in Anna Funder's Stasiland.

The German Democratic Republic paid lip service to the institutions of democracy. There were district attorneys, whose job it was to administer justice, and lawyers, whose job it was to represent clients, and judges, whose job it was to pass judgment. There were, at least on paper, political parties other than the ruling Socialist Unity Party. But really there was just the Party, and its instrument, the Stasi. Judges often got their instructions from the Stasi which, in turn, passed them on from the Party --right down to the outcome of judgment and the length of the sentence. The connection of the Party, the Stasi and the law went from the ground up: the Stasi, in consultation with school principals, recruited obedient students, with an appropriately loyal attitude, for the study of law. I once saw a list of dissertation topics from the Stasi Law School at Potsdam, which included such memorable contributions to the sum of human knowledge as 'On the Probably Causes of the Psychological Pathology of the Desire to Commit Border Infractions'. There was no room for a person to defend themselves against the State because all the defence lawyers and judges were part of it ...
... [referring to a lawyer hired for her husband] If he had done nothing for Charlie while he was in prison, she said, he could at least find out how he died.
'Do I look insane to you?' the lawyer said, very cold. 'Do I? You don't truly think I am going to trot down there ans ask what happened, do you? For that you had better find yourself another fool, young lady.'
Miriam is upset again. Here, across the desk, was the face of the system itself: a mockery of a lawyer, making a mockery of her.

I understand it's hard when getting sued, especially if you are unrepresented, to be grateful that we live in a system where lawyers, not mockeries thereof, flourish.

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

You seem to think [law] a technical subject like engineering that should only be handled by trained professionals.

It is a highly technical subject. Whether by formal education or autodidactically, acquiring the requisite level of expertise to be effective lawyer, for example to be a judge on the Supreme Court (to name a position from you proposed to ban lawyers), is non-trivial. Simplicity and clarity are devoutly to be wished for, but It's jejune to imagine that the law facilitating a society and an economy as complex as ours might be encompassed by a set of rules "simple and clear enough that everyone can understand them."

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

That would just ensure that only lawyers would understand the laws.

Understanding the laws is what lawyers are for. You wouldn't hire a hairdresser to design a bridge. When particular public offices --such as judges, attorneys general, government attorneys, prosecutors head of statutory quasi-prosecutorial bodies &c. --require understanding the law, (require in effect being lawyers), it should be remarkable to hire anyone other than a trained lawyer.

If you meant having lawyers as legislators would "ensure that only lawyers would understand the laws," I think rather it would ensure (or make it more likely) that the legislator understood the laws they were enacting. No matter who passes the laws (and no matter whether they understand the laws they've passed) it's lawyers (as judges are) who are going to be doing the understanding of those laws.

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

Actually it's more like prohibiting bank CEOs from become SEC chairman.

So long as they are ex-CEOs there is no necessary conflict of interest in that. But again, given the function of the SEC I would have thought that qualifications and experience in finance and securities law would be most appropriate to that role. Rather than prohibiting lawyers from holding any public office it might be desirable to require a law degree as a minimum qualification for many of them.

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

if you really have rights, you shouldn't have to pay unregulated agents to get those rights.

Unregulated agents? I thought we were talking about lawyers? Seriously, I don't know where you are, but here in Australia, lawyers are the most heavily regulated professionals of the lot.

Montesquieu, a lawyer himself, believed that under a just government no man should live in fear of another - which was progressive thinking for its time, and we've made great progress in this direction.

Yes! It was my point that we have achieved this by means of law.

I think, after more than two centuries of universal education, that we may be ready for every man to know their (true) rights and how to obtain them, on equal footing ...

So make everyone a lawyer. ;)

Your true rights are those rights you can get enforced, in your favour, in a court of law. Other "rights" are vapourware (until you can get them incorporated into the law such that the preceding applies).

... without having to buy the most talented and expensive agents to enjoy their rights through arcane tricks and manipulations.

They only appear to be "arcane tricks and manipulations" to those not on an equal footing. You are correct however that money still speaks too loudly in claiming "the most talented" lawyers.

Maybe you should consider going to law school you that you can "know [your] (true) rights and how to obtain them." Or you can save yourself the effort and hire someone else to do the job for you should the need arise (hopefully not).

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 1) 287

See another reply re: New Zealand and how they are stumbling toward lawyer free nirvana.

They're not and they won't. It's simply that in the arena of personal injury they have opted for a universal tax-payer funded compensation scheme, which idea has much to recommend it. You're dreaming (as was OP) if you think that eliminates lawyers from the field.

It's not the concept of the law that is a problem, it is the manifestation of its agents

Or at least some of them. Which is why I wrote, if you want rights ... "you'll have to put up with lawyers I'm afraid."

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 2) 287

I theory I agree, but the cost of lawyers has made it impractical the average person to get justice. Many people get little or no access to a lawyer ...

Socialist gloss: That's a problem of social equity rather than law or legal practice. What we need is a fairer distribution of social resources. Capitalist gloss: Obviously the supply of lawyers is unable to meet the requisite demand, ergo, we need more lawyers, not less! ;)

That is largely a problem of social equity rather than law or legal practice.

... Even if you can afford a lawyer you often risk going into serious debt to defend your rights.

In most common law jurisdictions the default order is that the losing party meets the winning party's costs. That deincentivises the abuse of process whereby wealthy litigants without real prospects of success litigate merely to inflict financial pain on their victims. I understand this is not the case in the U.S., why not, I cannot fathom. Where I live, I believe, a lawyer is still prohibited from filing a claim or defence where there are "no reasonable prospects of success."

Also the fact that some firms work on a no-win/no-pay basis or tax-payer funded legal aid for the poor (which urgently needs more funding where I live) can mitigate against the evil you highlight.

I believe every person has the right to their legal rights defended to the same degree no matter what their financial status is.

Abso-fucken-lutely! That is what Law is meant to offer, the realities of existing in a world of vast financial inequality notwithstanding.

Comment Re:Should it? (Score 3, Insightful) 287

Should lawyers be eliminated? Hell yes, by any means necessary.

Such as the institution of the explicitly lawless (and lawyer free) society envisaged by Orwell in 1984 (and approached by countless C20th dictatorships where there was (is) at best a simulacrum of law)? Or by the Hobbesian brutality we witness in those places where all state authority breaks down? Barbarism or The Rule of Whim are the known alternatives to the Rule of Law.

Don't forget what law is. It does not always look like it, but law is the technology by which our culture protects its individual members from the arbitrary exercise of power (whether that of the state of or powerful individuals). If you want rights and you want the individual liberty that law bestows, you'll have to put up with lawyers I'm afraid.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 2) 197

If there is no natural right to property then you do not own your body and organs and freedom because your natural right to property starts with yourself and extends to the fruits of your labour, as they are expression of your time on this planet.

And again, your rights to your own body and organs are those which the law bestows and nothing more. Thus for example NSW law (as I believe does the law of the several states) prohibits the sale of human tissue including one's own (e.g. blood, semen organs), which are all donated.

The idea that one has inherent ownership in one's body (and thus arguably the Lockean conception of property as the admixture of Labor and Nature generally) falls victim to a famous contradiction. Throughout the British C'th till 1833, and for some time thereafter in the US, there existed an entire class of people who famously were not owners of their own bodies, but rather owned. Now when the law sought to prohibit the trade in humans it thereby deprived everyone of one of the most important property rights: the ability to alienate that property. In short the contradiction is this, if by Nature or the Will of God, one was possessed of full proprietary rights to one's own body, one should be able to sell oneself into slavery, but where slavery is permitted to exist there are people who are born with no right to the property in their own bodies.

But again, a right is a protection against a government oppression

Which is again a nonsense, since many rights exist which are enforceable against non-government parties. These include property rights of all kinds, which you are unwittingly arguing do not exist.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 197

A right is protection against government abuse and oppression, nothing else.

"Nonsense walking on stilts!" How are the various rights appurtenant to copyright ownership, for example, "a protection against government abuse and oppression?"

A right is that which you can successfully enforce against another party in a court of law. Of course that is the legal positivist view of what a right is, the natural law folks, among others, entertain different illusions. ;)

Thus (lawful) occupancy of land, for example, grants rights (enforced ultimately by the state, but for whom no rights could exist), inter alia the right to exclude from the property other parties (including, but subject to the terms of the lease, the non-occupant owner).

As it happens the standard (short-term) lease in NSW (and this is a matter for the states not the federal government), at least, gives the landlord and tenant the opportunity to come to an arrangement regarding subletting, as it give the landlord a right of refusal providing that right is exercised "reasonably" (see Clause 32)

Comment Re:Where's the link to the draft? (Score 1) 138

I would definitely prefer a technology that is less risky and less centralised.

Who wouldn't? But risk management always involves trading off relative risks. One's attitude to the risks of nuclear energy should to be informed by the risks of human induced global warming. If Germany can deliver a 40% emissions cut by 2020 while carrying out a government mandated phase-out of nuclear power (and bearing in mind that in 2010 nuclear accounted for around 22% of Germany's grid), how much more could be achieved if nuclear were permitted to remain in the mix? As Fukushima shows, the damage wrought even by such a black-swan event is negligible in the face of the damage global warming can be expected to wreak.

I prefer setting realistic costs for natural resource usage, if via cap-and-trade or via fossil fuel taxes, to direct subsidies. If we let government pick winners ...


Maybe nuclear power plants can be safely operated by modern first-world countries (maybe not). But do you really want to see Nigeria, Burma, Iran, Somalia, Colombia, Iran, North Korea and the Principality of Sealand [] build breeder plants?

That does not seem the most persuasive argument in favour of 1st world countries shutting down their plants (potentially off-shoring them to poorer neighbours).

Comment Re:Where's the link to the draft? (Score 1) 138

That's actually a good capitalistic approach. ... Of course, in my not-so-uninformed opinion, a nuclear industry wouldn't even exist if not for government-sponsored X,Y &Z.

So are you advocating a market based approach or a government sponsored approach? We can combine both, or course. It is the outcome, after all, that counts. Is your adherence to free-market purity such that you could not conscience any government sponsorship in reducing carbon emissions?

Whether or not nuclear energy requires additional government stimulus, it's an important, (some would argue necessary) source alongside other non-carbon energy sources. I do wonder though, if coal, gas and oil were priced entirely eliminated from the equation, how the cost of nuclear would look.

For those looking to proven real-world solutions, the example of Ontario, (Niedersachsen, even if its local requirements might be met by wind, still burns coal) shows that we can eliminate the burning of coal using a mix of today's technology.

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