December 9, 2009
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
"As the amount of knowledge increases, so too does the relative amount of ignorance, for each person can know only a decreasing fraction of what can be known; that knowledge, as it becomes more specialized, also tends to become more potent, more capable of being used for good or ill. . . . It is to avert a Hobbesian outcome--a war of each against each in which everyone uses the knowledge he possesses for his own advantage, and pays a terrible price for the knowledge he may lack--that societies urge those occupations that impinge on the vital concerns of human being to tie their expertise to honorableness." Walter P. Metzger, "A Spectre Is Haunting American Scholars: The Spectre of 'Professionalism,' " Educational Researcher 16(6): 10-19, at 18. In reading this passage I found myself wondering whether there is a huge disconnect between expertise and honorableness in the legal profession generally, and legal academia specifically. At the risk of being the kettle calling the skillet black, I would probably answer in the affirmative.