Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Late Blooming Radicals and Other Privileged Oddities
The other day a colleague explained his actions but saying it's because he is a liberal. I thought, how can a political philosophy compel anything? You do what you want to or what you feel is right and then you find your views are consistent with one ideology or another. But please, hopefully, there is not an owner's manual you consult and then say "I did this because it is want to do what liberals (or libertarians or Marxists) do."
Unfortunately, that does go one -- checking to see how you should behave before just behaving in the way that moves you. It is especially interesting to observe students who sometimes, when confronted with a novel question, stop to think how they "should" feel given their desire to stick with one philosophy or another.
But none of that is what I really mean by Late Blooming Radicals. What I mean is this: Law professors can be divided into two groups: Those were total conformists as students and those who were not but had rich mommies and daddies to bail them out. Then, when they become law professors, many bloom politically as in announcing they are liberal or libertarians or have strong political feelings about one thing or another. The new courage only comes, though, only when they are in risk free positions of authority. That is when it is costless.
Basically, as students and attorneys most were suck ups, don't rock the boat, types. No visible evidence of conviction other than pleasing those who could get them in the fraternity. Most just stay that way and I am fine with that.
It's the late bloomers I find irritating. Their courage now that they have become the establishment is not convincing to me. They still quake in their boots before stating a controversial position out loud. But they love to pretend. Maybe grow a beard, wear a funny hat, etc. They are so disappointing.