Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Cult of Blaming the "Economy"

Certain, certitude: If you had asked the entire world before the era of Copernicus: "Did the sun rise today? Did it set?" Everybody would have answered you: "We're absolutely certain of it!" They were certain, and they were mistaken. —Dictionnaire philosophique
One of the puzzling things about human nature is the constant "reframing" of new facts into their pre-existing beliefs. I recall the believe-it-or-not story of a cult whose leader predicted the world would end on Jan 1, 19**, due to the sins of humanity and the wrath of Gawd. On January 2, however, there was no apocalypse. One would think the cult would be ashamed or abashed due to their false apocalyptic prediction, but alas! They were as happy as an academic grossing six figures during a 12-month "sabbatical" in Provence. When asked about their false prediction, the cult members gladly explained that their prediction was true at the time, but Gawd felt merciful after hearing their prayers and so gave Earth a reprieve. Hallelujah! Their faith was strengthened as they felt saved by their own prayers from their own prediction

People act like those cultists when they try to dress new evidence into old clothes, no matter what the fit. The journalists writing about the scam keep referencing "the economy" to explain declining job prospects of law grads. As we know, the opposite is true: the problem is  "Structural, not cyclical". Yet even the best weapon against any scam, media exposure, continues to name-drop "the economy" in every article. It is as if the human instinct is to grab for the safe, feel-good-no-cognitive-dissonance-here explanation of things. It is like blaming the weather for being rained upon instead of the guy who sold you a broken umbrella.

It goes thus:
Pre-existing Belief (Myth): Law School is awesome, and nondischargable-until-death student-loan taxpayer-funded-yet-unregulated-tuition payments-the-cost-of-a-medium-sized-house are awesome too.
New Facts (Reality): No jobs for half the graduates, and declining careers for the other half, getting worse year after year.

Self-serving Reframing (Cult/Nutter view): Well, I could not possibly be wrong about how awesome Law Skooll is, so it must be the economy, stupid! So no one is at fault, because lawyers do not control the overall economy, and things will turn around again, even if we do nothing. We win! No anxiety or guilt here! It feels good to be irrational.

Honest Interpretation (Mature Adult view): Well, I probably was wrong: law school must not be working if it graduates twice the number that the market demands. [Researches further] Maybe Law Schools are structured inefficiently and run for the benefit of the academic owners instead of the overall legal profession, the students, and society? Are false job placement promises turning good students into debt slaves? It's not the economy, stupid, it's the system itself! It's a scam!
And there we have it—the cultish self-serving "reframers" who keep repeating and blaming the "economy" confuse cause with effect. There lies their error, and with it dies their claim to "lawyerly reasoning". The economy is merely the state of demand for legal services. The economy doesn't cause legal unemployment—too many law schools do.

Note: And too many seats in those schools as well, since each school has no motivation to limit their enrollment, so long as it doesn't hurt their ranking. Georgetown University Law "Center" alone every three years spits almost 3,000 lawyers onto the dead-in-the-water DC legal market! (Counting both JD's & LLM's) Talk about selling overpriced badly-seasoned sausage to farmers at a pig farm in Germany during the slaughtering season: See also, "Not surprisingly, DC ranks as the most densely concentrated population of lawyers having 1,356% more lawyers per capita than New York."
Read my book-length satire/exposé of law school, Smarter Than Socrates: The End of the Law School Era.


  1. Which leads to another strange occurrence in the universe. The Academic Sabbatical. Are you telling me that your job entails thinking so hard, you need a break from your job teaching law to travel around Europe for two months? I met a law professor in London once, who was on sabbatical and travelling through Europe with his family. He had earned it as a tenured professor.

    1. A boomer entitlement "I've earned it" perk. Sabbaticals are nothing more than paid vacations - clearly very necessary after the strain of working mere hours per week for huge salaries!

      The entire academic establishment is seething with leechers and boomers and scammers.

    2. The Sabbatical does make some sense in certain cases. If a professor has a 4/4 or 5/5 teaching load and needs to take some time to do their research, or if a professor teaches something like Classics over here in America, they might need extended time to do research in Italy or Greece or Turkey or whereever.

      Neither of these things applies to law professors; who unethically use it as paid vacation. Because seriously, if your teaching load is 1/0 and you teach Evidence or something in America, what else would you use a sabbatical for?

    3. Well said, 5:06. A sabattical makes sense if the professor does actual work for a living.

      LawProfs are out, practically by definition.

  2. Campos followers are a cult, too.

    In retrospect, every prospective student in 2005 based their entire decision to go to their law school on some employment statistics in at the bottom of page 94 of the brochure. They did not look at US News and just say -- this school is ranked number 70, the other is ranked 110, I will go to the one ranked number 70.

    In 2009, applications to law school were not surging because college grads could not get another job, but because of some employment statistics at the botttom of page 85 of the brochure.

    1. That would be clever if the employment statistics were actually in hidden fine print and not in bold size 48 font on the front cover.

      Additionally, nothing that you write is mutually exclusive. The employment numbers could help someone determine to go to law school in the first place, and the US News rankings could help someone determine which school to go to. You could theoretically rely on both. Same with paragraph two. The failure to get an alternative job is a cause for going to higher education. The bogus employment numbers make law school x a more attractive option than business school y.

    2. The root of the problem is not that some people are dumb, make bad decisions, are whiners or quitters or have a sense of entitlement. All are true.

      The problem is: for years, schools widely reported incredibly high rates of "employment", often of 90 percent or more, worded in a such a way that suggested they were talking about the jobs most people go to law school for. There was no alternate, credible source of information.

      If people have accurate information and decide to ignore it, and then get into trouble, that's their problem. But in this case, people did not have and could not obtain, accurate information about legal employment prospects. Most individuals are not in a position to conduct a nationwide employment survey.

      Now schools are being forced to offer more accurate data, and applications are plunging. If, three years from now, people come out of law school saying "I had NO idea things were bad," then it's their problem.

      People who made the decision a few years ago, did not have proper information to make their decisions.

    3. If "statistics and perceptions" of the ROA of law schools don't matter as you suggest, what exactly is causing law school apps and enrollment to plummet?

  3. "It feels good to be irrational."

    ...or, a gangsta.

  4. big la times article on the CA law school lawsuits. Lots of comments:

    1. This needs to be covered here. Any writers got a few minutes on their hands today?

    2. There's another one here that makes a good point about a switch to a two-year program: " ... in the year of transition, a switch from three to two years of school would also unleash an additional 40,000 graduates into the market, on top of the 40,000 already in the three-year pipeline, swamping them in a flood of new competitors."


  5. http://thisisindexed.com/2013/04/what-does-college-cost/

  6. This is an insightful piece and does illustrate the idea that the last thing people are going to give up is their preexisting belief that law school (and college in general) is "good".

    Like me, trying to fit into my jeans from last year. Have I got fatter? Nah. My jeans must have shrunk in the wash or something. Jeans do that - everyone knows it. It has nothing to do with the ice cream and booze I've been pounding over winter to cope with depression from having no legal work. But deep down, I know that I'm getting fatter.

    Same with law school. It's got too fat, and it's still trying to tell itself (and everyone else) that it's a problem with an external factor, and that there's nothing wrong with the law school system with its gold plated offices and salaries and retirement plans and jobs for spouses and fancy sabbaticals and research grants and so on.

  7. Sounds more like a commentary on the cult of Obama to me. Unemployment could go to 50 percent tomorrow - you know his disciples would claim that without him, the number would be more like eighty percent. And the frightened whites who LIVE to assuage their "guilt" (from owning slaves, apparently) will actually sell themselves that mountain of bullshit. If Obama went on television tonight and smeared his own shit all over the American flag with the cameras rolling, half of white America would claim that the video had been manipulated - the other half would express the opinion that he'd improved it with his decorations.

    And don't even get me started on the global warming imbeciles - with their straight-faced claims that most cities on the coast would be underwater by 1988. Just like the doomsday cult members who double down and claim that they averted the same Armageddon that THEY promised us.

    It's cute when little kids play make-believe. When adults do it, it's certifiable and pathetic.

    1. ...or the cult of people who see an apolitical article and decide to ramble about Obama.

      Jesus, the satire - it practically writes itself.

    2. You had me until you dismissed global warming as fiction. The US is the only nation on earth where climate change is politicized and denied (by the Right, who make money from carbon based energy and thus want to discredit the mountains of solid scientific research on thus subject).

      I'm as left as they come and I agree that Obama and company are guilty of fitting facts to the existing message. But don't pretend that the right is any better. Iraq? Afghanistan? WMD? Resisting any form of gun control, bank reform of healthcare reform?

    3. @1022,

      It certainly does. I, for example, imagine you kneeling before some profane altar that is curtained off from view. The curtains slooowly pull aside to reveal -

      - an ENORMOUS black derrière that takes up most of the wall! And what's that oozing out of it? Why it's sweet, sweet manna for oo, 1022.

      I call them as I see them. The author of this piece is taking *distinctly* political behavior - and trying to say it somehow applies to a nonpolitical field such as law school.

    4. @1047,

      Yes, because DUBYA was never, ever blamed for anything whatsoever. Because black America is so consumed with guilt that THEY will always find someone else - ANYone else - to blame before turning on a white president like Bush.

      Is THAT how it works both ways?

      Funny that you would respond to a post about a "mountain" of bullshit by citing a "mountain" of "solid scientific research." Those mountains look remarkably similar. I've never yet heard the climate scammers (who are the REAL fucking scammers - law schools have nothing on them) present actual proof - their "proof" is usually nothing more than simply noting that some high priest of the scientific community SAYS so. Blind faith, people, is the key to salvation.

      If you really can't see the truly malignant way that airheaded whites make excuse after excuse for Obama, or the way that climate scammers are never held to account for THEIR end of the world prophesies (I notice they wised up and stopped promising doom on specific years), then you are a fool indeed.

    5. I think some poor village is without its idiot.

    6. Not biting, 11:11. Coming from a research background, I have little time for those who have clearly formed an opinion without reviewing the literature themselves. Move along...

    7. Our neocon friend sounds a lot like a sober Painter.

    8. @1214,

      Did you even READ my comment? The climate scammers are the ones demanding that people accept unproven opinions without verification. I'm not the one demanding blind faith here - you are. I'm just asking questions here - "researcher."

    9. 1211,

      I know, I just wish I was smart enough to worship the giant black booty with you and the other disciples.


    10. Yes, those evil "climate scammers", trying to protect their...what exactly? Their low paid government and science jobs?

      And those trustworthy, ethical big corporate oil climate science deniers, with their fortunes invested in oil, they have no interest in discrediting climate science at all.

      Yawn. This is not like believing in god, which has no proof. This is about being able to look at facts and come up a sane conclusion. Climate change denial is a very right wing American issue. The rest of the world accepts the facts, but US big oil still continues to peddle its lies on Fox, convincing obama hating dummies like you.

    11. Well, I'd say that Al Gore has made out pretty well from the scam - wouldn't you?

      There's no more hard evidence to support your incompetent doomsday prophesy than there is to prove the existence of God. Your "evidence" is nothing more than a collection of bullshit opinions from credentialed academic asshats. Tell me, do you also think that the existence of the individual books of the Bible "prove" that what they say is true? There's definitely a consensus among those books.

      You are truly a marvel: a perfect synthesis of backwards ignorance with lazy know-it-all complacency. In the Age of Obama, those two traits together make you a model citizen.

    12. Guys, ignore this moron.

    13. If *I'm* the dummy, why are you afraid of the questions I'm asking? You sure aren't answering them.

    14. Ok yes you are right. Global warming (which is actually a misnomer for climate change) is obviously a secret sinister plan by Al Gore to make money for himself, and he has recruited thousands of the world's most highly educated scientists to help him in his secret plan by fabricating evidence and making up lies.


    15. You are the tool here. Blind faith is your bread and butter. As "independent-minded" as you are, I'm guessing that you probably have TWO J.D.s - if not three.

      No proof. Just "Derr, da science priests say so, derr!"

    16. @750,


      Hmm, do you also have blind religious faith in the gorgeous pearls of wisdom that spill from the lips of law professors?

    17. Honest question: does our friend with the "research background" - have any actual evidence for global warming that he'd like to share - or does his entire argument consist of nothing but straw men, ad hominem attacks and blather about "corporations"?

  8. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/06/wake-up-fellow-law-professors-to.html

    On June 13, 2010, Brian Tamanaha posted an excellent Balkin entry labeled "Wake Up, Fellow Law Professors, to the Casualties of Our Enterprise." Check out this portion:

    "This dismal situation was not created by the current recession—which merely spread the pain up the chain into the lower reaches of elite schools. This has been going on for years.

    The law graduates posting on these sites know the score. They know that law schools pad their employment figures—96% employed—by counting as “employed” any job at all, legal or non-legal, including part time jobs, including unemployed graduates hired by the school as research assistants (or by excluding unemployed graduates “not currently seeking” a job, or by excluding graduates who do not supply employment information). They know that the gaudy salary numbers advertised on the career services page—“average starting salary $125,000 private full time employment”—are actually calculated based upon only about 25% of the graduating class (although you can’t easily figure this out from the information provided by the schools). They know all this because they know of too many classmates who didn’t get jobs or who got low paying jobs—the numbers don’t jibe with their first hand knowledge."

    The academic thieves simply love to pass the buck. Not only do these bastards and cockroaches not have any skin in the game, they are not held accountable for their lies and deceptive actions.

  9. I voted for Obama and for the Democrats all across the board in the last election, and I was completely sober.

    But it looks like youse people all have got to deal with the "neocon" troll now.

    He should be right at home with the awful OLSS commenters that make remarks about Jesus getting his cock sucked in Vegas, and about Christ on a tampon (Law School Truth center wrote that) and with the horrible personal cowardly anonymous attacks of a sexual nature of Brian Leiter and Deborah Merrit.

    I might be a flake, but even I have my limitations.

    I even sent Leiter an email and told him that I am not a part of the anon cowardice that is going on here.

    1. Latch those wrinkled lips of yours onto the Great Almighty Sacred Black Booty, little Paintroach - there might be some crap roach-treats coming your way shortly.

      Glad to hear that you voted for it - I guess one good roach deserves another. I'd say you deserve what you get from now on, n'est ce-pas?

      Of course, you illustrate my larger point nicely - until the end of time, that glowing sacred black booty will be the last thing that you EVER blame for your little predicament - along with yourself, of course - you miserable flaming shit-tard.

    2. P.S. for Roachie: YOU are "right at home" in your parents' house. Still.

      I guess unlatching yourself from them would be against those "limitations" of yours.

    3. Painter, why are you here?

      And troll at 3:23pm, same question to you.

      This is getting confusing. Painter is a Leiter tro puppet, and 3:23 sounds like one too. Are we witnessing some advanced philosophical experiment from the mind of the great Leiter? Two fake trolls fighting in a fake environment? Do they exist? Can we read these posts? What's the deal, trolls?

    4. @404,

      CAN you read the posts? Um, are my comments appearing on top of the post and blocking it out?

      I actually think I made a pretty relevant observation about applying the author's observation to the cult of Obama, but it's probably nowhere near as on topic as your bellyaching about seeing comments you don't like.

    5. Yes, the cult of Obama. And there's never been a cult of Bush that got us into two of the most disasterous wars ever...

      Go away, troll. You come here about once a week to cause trouble. Last week, you were the person who was here causing the comment count to rise and making this blog rise in Google rankings as a result.

      So great way to promote our message.

      Keep trolling, troll. You just boost pur publicity.

    6. Yes. The Cult of Bush. See my comment at 11:11.

      Sigh - rinse and repeat.

    7. @754,

      Good! I want 0Ls to be aware of the risks of attending law school. One of those risks - as your posts make clear - is that hard-working 22 year-olds will be transformed into whiny entitled parasites whose only objective in life is to rape the taxpayers.

    8. God, this site is full of nutbuckets today.

  10. I forgive the troll, who is full of hate and doesn't have the courage to say who he is.

    A troll is anon last I heard.

    And I am not anon.

    But I am here because when I am brought up by someone anonymous without my having commented at all I am going to respond.

    That is why Campos dealt with the whole situation by deleting all references to me.

    And I just do not like seeing someone like Leiter being unfairly attacked by a pack of anon wolves, and I know how he probably feels by now.

    And I would defend my worst enemy that way too.

    A lot of you forget yourselves in that there is a right to confront an accuser, and even if I am considered a roach by someone very cowardly out there, Leiter IMHO certainly has the right to know who his horrible critics and accusers are.

    Granted the blogging is not legal procedure, but the spirit is the same and if some of you had the guts to stand up for your words, like Nando has, things would have maybe improved by now insofar as what the complaints about the law school scam are.

    Otherwise you are just a bunch of cheap imitators and really just a bunch of anon cowards writing for a tabloid internet throwaway rag that is a disgrace and embarrassment to the efforts of Paul Campos.

    I feel sorry for the more serious and legit writers that do not have enough life experience to realize that they are hooking themselves up with a menagerie.

    Please everyone, just say who you are.

    1. Yeah! Let's all give an internet psycho our real names so he can come into our homes and rape us!

      Get lost, Paintcunt.

  11. The fact that there are not enough jobs is also the reason why shills like to proclaim the versatility of the law degree. Because, to be honest, if law school graduates were in fact getting cushy jobs in consulting, government contracting, business, and the like then it wouldn't matter if there there were 47,000 law school graduates and only 25,000 legal jobs.

    There is just one problem though, law degrees are not versatile and law school graduates are not in the running for aforementioned jobs.

    Graduate degrees are never versatile, they are specialized for the discipline that they are supposed to train you in and are for training to be a member of the profession or *rarely* for the student's edification (And I am not sure about how much edification one gets in a law program; hide the ball, just one exam, Socratic 'method', and detachment from usefulness seem to militate against enjoyment).

    Either 100 law schools need to be shut down or law should be a 4 year undergraduate program.
    Getting rid of the third and forth tiers of American law schools would make the number of law school seats more in line with the number of actual legal jobs. In the alternative law as an undergraduate program allows actual versatility in the curriculum and hiring managers do not expect a BS or BA to align fully with what a person chooses to do after college.

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