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February 10, 2014

On The Unjust, Illiberal, Innumerate, And Darn Near Illiterate Case For Socialized Law

Last week, Noam Scheiber wrote at the New Republic a column advocating for the socialization of law so as to prevent the wealthy from "buying justice." His column was explicitly founded in the claim that "the 99 percent" had a right to the same quality of legal representation as the wealthy. Recognizing that it would be impossible to provide expensive legal aid to every litigant, Scheiber proposed the obvious, but atrocious alternative: if we can't give top tier legal representation to the 99 percent, we should simply deprive the 1 percent of top tier legal representation.

Scheiber employed the rhetoric of rights to suggest that depriving the wealthy of legal representation somehow makes everyone more of a citizen. This was semantic gobbledygook, envy simply re-dressed in the language of liberty. This strikes me as deeply wrong, as I explained over at the Federalist this morning.

A taste:

“Too long, didn’t read” is an entirely reasonable response to such rubbish, relying, as it does, on a sketchy recitation of history, a steaming pile of class resentment, a fundamental misapprehension of the purpose for and effect of a legal system—not to mention the constitutional distinction between civil and criminal proceedings—and a shamelessly flippant redefinition of the word “liberalism.”

However, having thought it over for a few days more, I have to confess I was wrong. Scheiber’s article can be quite succinctly summarized: Scheiber doesn’t care a damn thing about justice in this country at all.

Throughout the ages, most religions have rightly condemned envy as a terribly destructive motivator, harmful both to the individual and to the community. The Bible warns of it repeatedly and the thinkers of the Middle Ages elevated (lowered?) it to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins. And yet the modern leftists' embrace of class resentment is nothing more than envy dressed up in the language of virtue.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:54 PM

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