party affiliations of law profs
RJLipkin at aol.com
RJLipkin at aol.com
Wed Aug 31 05:53:23 PDT 2005
One response and then I promise I'm out of this discussion. But how many
members of the faculty at your law school would affirm the following:
(a) redistribution of wealth through taxes and other means must be
effective as it is not presently. In short, taxes must be raised substantially.
(b) workers have a proprietary rights in their jobs, and thus employers
cannot hire replacement workers in strikes.
(c) health care must be guaranteed as in Canada.
(d) proscribing hate speech is constitutionally permissible and
political and morally required.
(e) blacks and perhaps other minorities require compensation for
slavery, discrimination, and so forth.
(f) members of the community must be represented on corporate boards.
(g) if marriage is state-sanctioned, it must extended to same-sex
(h) marriage oppressors women.
(i) mass amounts of resources must be used intelligently to provide
better schools. A real program of "no child left behind" requires class sizes of
no more than ten students, and so forth.
(j) An absolute limit on income say, as I think some legal scholars have
suggested, $500,000 per year.
(k) corporations and other institutions must be democratized, including
direct public involvement in decisions that affect the community.
I can go on and on even without calling any friends who are truly
left-wing for more ammunition. The problem with our discussion of Right and
Left is that it takes place in such a radically conservative context that Left
is typically defined as simply a little more than a kinder, gentler Right.
Ted Kennedy, Hilary Clinton, and even the late Paul Wellstone are not
exemplars of what the real left is about. Earl's questions reveal a framework that it
so conservative that authentic leftists must snicker at the suggestions that
faculty members answering Earl's question in a certain manner are leftists.
Both Right and Left in our discussion are both fairly conservative political
positions ignoring the real Left as that position is expressed by such
writers as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and even the early Michael Harrington. Oh
yes, I know the response. "Those guys are left-wing crazies." Or "we're not
talking about leveling, socialism, or communism, we're talking about "liberal
left-wingism," whatever in Heaven's name that is. Well, that reply is part of
the problem with our discussion of whether law professors are mostly
lefties. There is a body of leftist positions that many leftists in other parts of
the world take for granted that don't even come up for debate among law
And now I promise to not to participate again if this reargument
Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
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