ISBN is

978-0-19-513083-6 / 9780195130836

Jurismania: The Madness of American Law (Studies of the German Historical Institute, London)

by

Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." --Henry IV, Part I

Or, suggests Paul F. Campos, at the very least, let's put them out of their misery. In Jurismania, Campos does his best to demonstrate that the behavior of the legal mind, with its insistence on the "rule of law," is a "culturally sanctioned form of obsessive-compulsive behavior." In his more charitable moments, he is willing to concede that it may be suffering not from delusion, but from religious fervor. About the nicest thing he has to say about the American legal system is that it is a tremendous waste of financial resources.

The problem, as Campos sees it, is an irrational belief in the power of rationality to solve all our problems, which leads to the elevation of "social coordination and dispute processing," which is what Campos identifies as the purpose of "law," to sacrosanct procedures that are inadequate to the tasks they are being asked to perform. Nor is this state of mind limited to lawyers and legal academics; consider, suggests Campos, that many voters believe in the balanced budget amendment, "which boils down to the belief that the best way to ensure legislators pass legislation that balances the federal budget is to pass legislation requiring legislators to pass legislation that balances the federal budget." There are some situations, the author argues, for which "more law" is not the answer. Readers may find Campos's style--which references Nietzschean ethics, college football, materialist rationalism, and Ann Landers as part of the same overall argument--off-putting, but Jurismania is like a voice crying in the wilderness, describing a crisis our increasingly litigious society continues to ignore at its peril.

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