Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Christian homeschooling mom recommends teaching kids to think through policies

Here is a neat post from Lydia McGrew, Ph.D, a homeschooling mom.

Excerpt:

As we Protestant conservatives view with great dismay what seems to us the hair-tearing foolishness of a new generation of young, “emergent” evangelicals spouting the platitudes of the left and getting their priorities all messed up, either abandoning or downplaying the pro-life movement, voting Democrat, and embracing left-wing economics, we need to think of something that cannot be said too often: What the left wants is not what is best for the poor, the weak, the little guy. In fact, we can sometimes even go farther: The left does not want what is best for the poor and the weak. Viz. the Obama administration’s willingness to shut down Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities, and anyone else who won’t toe the line on his HHS mandate. Viz. the Obama administration’s cutting off the Catholic bishops’ funding for anti-trafficking, because they wouldn’t refer for abortions. Viz. the left’s shut-down of adoption agencies that won’t place children with homosexual couples. The list goes on and on.

And there is more: The actual economic policies advocated by the left mean fewer jobs, higher prices, and small businesses pushed out by high regulatory costs, all of which is very bad for the people who need jobs the most. We’re seeing this right now with the economic burden of Obamacare, but that’s only one example. The actual environmental policies advocated by the left are radically anti-human and will result in grave economic harm both to our own country and, even more, to developing countries. I have just been reading a book I hope to write more about later, Merchants of Despair by Robert Zubrin. In it he chronicles case after case after case of leftist policies that have harmed the poorest of the poor in Third-World countries, from coercive population control to crackdowns forcing Third-World countries to eschew the advantages of more nutritious modified grains.

When our young people are growing up we Christians and conservatives often teach them biblical principles, and that is very good. But we also need to teach them economic principles. We need to teach them that there is no free lunch. We need to have them read books like Zubrin’s and like Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed. We need to talk through with them the ways that policies that sound oh-so-kind to “make things free” or “force employers to pay more” or “give health insurance to everyone” actually harm the people they are meant to help. We need to expose to them the viciously anti-human underside of the environmental movement, as well as its empirical fecklessness.

This one is a must-read! Please click through and read the whole thing, especially if you have Christian children.

Lydia’s group blog “What’s Wrong With the World?” is also good reading.

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Law schools are not preparing law students to practice law

The New York Times explains why law school may not be worth the money.

Excerpt:

 The lesson today — the ins and outs of closing a deal — seems lifted from Corporate Lawyering 101.

“How do you get a merger done?” asks Scott B. Connolly, an attorney.

There is silence from three well-dressed people in their early 20s, sitting at a conference table in a downtown building here last month.

“What steps would you need to take to accomplish a merger?” Mr. Connolly prods.

After a pause, a participant gives it a shot: “You buy all the stock of one company. Is that what you need?”

“That’s a stock acquisition,” Mr. Connolly says. “The question is, when you close a merger, how does that deal get done?”

The answer — draft a certificate of merger and file it with the secretary of state — is part of a crash course in legal training. But the three people taking notes are not students. They are associates at a law firm called Drinker Biddle & Reath, hired to handle corporate transactions. And they have each spent three years and as much as $150,000 for a legal degree.

What they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training. Law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, with classes that are often overstuffed with antiquated distinctions, like the variety of property law in post-feudal England. Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship, like law review articles with titles like “A Future Foretold: Neo-Aristotelian Praise of Postmodern Legal Theory.”

So, for decades, clients have essentially underwritten the training of new lawyers, paying as much as $300 an hour for the time of associates learning on the job. But the downturn in the economy, and long-running efforts to rethink legal fees, have prompted more and more of those clients to send a simple message to law firms: Teach new hires on your own dime.

“The fundamental issue is that law schools are producing people who are not capable of being counselors,” says Jeffrey W. Carr, the general counsel of FMC Technologies, a Houston company that makes oil drilling equipment. “They are lawyers in the sense that they have law degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.”

[...]Consider, for instance, Contracts, a first-year staple. It is one of many that originated in the Langdell era and endures today. In it, students will typically encounter such classics as Hadley v. Baxendale, an 1854 dispute about financial damages caused by the late delivery of a crankshaft to a British miller.

Here is what students will rarely encounter in Contracts: actual contracts, the sort that lawyers need to draft and file. Likewise, Criminal Procedure class is normally filled with case studies about common law crimes — like murder and theft — but hardly mentions plea bargaining, even though a vast majority of criminal cases are resolved by that method.

[...]“We should be teaching what is really going on in the legal system,” says Edward L. Rubin, a professor and former dean at the Vanderbilt Law School, “not what was going on in the 1870s, when much of the legal curriculum was put in place.”

This is one of the reasons why I give the advice I do about studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Universities are politicized. They are run by people who want to push a secular leftist ideology. For such people, the more isolated you can be from feedback from the real world, the better. And that is why it is often (but not always) useless to study anything that isn’t STEM. If you’re going to the university at all, study STEM areas. That is, if your goal is to actually make money so you can support a family.

So you have two choices, in my view. Trade school/apprenticeship right out of high school. Or study STEM areas in university. That’s it.

A friend of mine who is a software engineer was thinking of doing an MBA a while back, and then decided on a Masters in securities and investing. I think that’s the right way to go. Stay as far away from anything that can be politicized as possible. Don’t give people who are embarked on perpetual adolescence any of your money (than they already get through taxpayer-funded research subsidies).

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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