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December 20, 2011

New York Times makes room for three interesting debates

A helpful reader alerted me that the New York Times via its "Room for Debate" series has prompted discussion on these three topics that all should be of great interest to SL&P readers:

"Should Teenagers Get High Instead of Drunk?":  Cocaine, tobacco and alcohol use are waning, just as a record proportion of high schoolers use marijuana on a near daily basis.  Is that progress?

"Are Presidential Pardons Fair?":  Some critics consider the selection process too subjective and opaque. How should presidents decide whom to pardon?

"Rethinking How the Law Is Taught": Does the Socratic method still have a role in law school?

I hope to find time in the days ahead to review all the commentaries that the NY Times has assembled on these topics, and I will aspire to highlight and highlights.  Readers are encouraged, of course, to do the same via the comments to this post.

December 20, 2011 at 02:31 PM | Permalink


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I don't think teens should be drinking excessively or smoking "weed" almost everyday. We are not progressing forward at all. Smoking "weed" or drinking everyday has far more severe consequences especially for a teenager who is still growing and learning.

Posted by: Sandy Burton | Dec 20, 2011 8:19:36 PM

The Socratic method is a style of teaching. It is intimidating, and bullies students into the criminal cult indoctrination. If I were subjected to it, I would sue for a refund of tuition spent on the time the students speak.

That is not the biggest problem of legal education. The biggest problem is the content. It is almost all garbage. 95% of the content must be trashed, as atavistic, supernatural, Medieval garbage. That garbage explains the failure of all self-stated goals of every law subject. Contract law is worthless if the dispute is under $million and should be replaced with an Ebay rating system that is 95% effective. The criminal law is ridiculous. Torts threaten our economy and have never improved a product or service. Family law is destroying the American family. Name a subject. Toxic garbage taught by mental cripples.

Then students graduate, find they are totally unprepared for completely different garbage they never heard of in school.

We need some garbage men to empty out these criminal cult indoctrination camps.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 20, 2011 11:57:08 PM

The main problems with alcohol are inherent in the substance: it is highly addictive, it can be toxic if taken in excess, and it can result in severe impairments in judgment. The main problem with marijuana is external: the police want to jail people if they get caught with it, parents want to lock kids away in "rehab" if they use it, and politicians want to turn users into a lower caste of human being. That being said, teenagers should not be using any intoxicating substances, and our resources would be well-spent trying to figure out an effective way to teach kids to abstain, but to choose wisely if they choose not to abstain.

On a side note, I'd be curious to find out how many teenagers under the age of 18 are admitted to drug rehabilitation programs for alcohol use, compared with the numbers that are there for illegal drugs.

Posted by: C.E. | Dec 21, 2011 12:13:54 AM

C.E. --

"The main problem with marijuana is external: the police want to jail people if they get caught with it..."

If you had ever been a prosecutor, you would know that next to nobody gets a jail sentence for simple possession. My experience (18 years) is that they aren't even arrested. They're given a ticket, like a traffic ticket.

"...parents want to lock kids away in 'rehab' if they use it..."

I never heard of a parent who WANTED to "lock" his kids away, in rehab or anything else. A parent who finds his kid engaging in illegal and unhealthy behavior is concerned, you bet. What, they should just be complacent? But the concern, justified as it is, results in custodial rehab in only the tiniest sliver of cases. What is your source for thinking otherwise?

"...and politicians want to turn users into a lower caste of human being."

Except that politicians, including presidents (and on down), not to mention Supreme Court justices, have publicly acknowledged trying pot when they were young. Where do I sign up to get in that "lower caste?"

Incidentally, when I went to Stanford Law School -- not a place where they have a lot of future members of the "lower caste" -- if you DIDN'T do pot, you were considered a bit of a nerd.

Was this just your day for exaggeration, C.E.?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 22, 2011 2:43:16 PM

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