Nick's Journal
Ad 2:
2007-10-09 17:48:11 (UTC)

Strategy for Argumentation

i embarrassed myself again in class the other day. our
teacher was saying how a student went up to him and talked
to him about how he had heard that the teacher normally
provides "constitutional law chats" for extra questions.
please hold your nausea, i have to actually be in this class
with these losers.
the professor went on how he normally only provides that for
larger classes of 60 or more (we have 18 people in ours) as
he thought our class discussions were intense enough (i.e.
he didn't want to do it and was hinting strongly against
having to see us a fifth day of the week).
reluctantly he resigned himself to a referendum.
"how many of you want this chat?"
i kept my hand down thinking that noone would want it and
had picked up on his less than subtle hints that he didn't
want to spend another second with us.
i was the only one without my hand up.
well now i felt like a slacker.
he stared at me and then chuckled.
"i think nick should pick the time we meet."
"how about during our regular class time?"
that has to have been one of the wittiest things i've ever
said at a spur of the moment.
he chuckled again.
the time we meet is friday at 9. all chuckling stopped. we
meet at 9 every morning monday - thursday already. i hate
law students.
so after about a year or so of law school i can say that
i've finally found an argumentative tactic that works quite
well. i don't know if it's quite the "bait and switch"
accussation that is sometimes hurled at me, but i find it
quite useful, especially when arguing against liberals.
you see liberals are the last to admit to anything. "i'm
not racist, i don't like the death penalty, i don't, i
can't, i won't, i shouldn't."
where as conservatives are always like, "i do own guns, i
will kill you, and god WILL help me."
the death penalty.
it's one of few views i hodl that i find generally
irreconciliable with my over-arching moral principle. i
just "feel" (horrible word in a lawyer's mind) that it's
right. i just feel that there is some sort of moral fabric
(juli absolutely cringes at my use of this term) which most
be repaired whenever broken by some heinous act.
the death penalty is our way of repairing the tear in our
fabric. it is our way of bestowing the ultimate punishment.
yet everyone against the death penalty i talk to firmly
rejects this moral fabric and theory of punishment for
righteousness, erring on the side of rehabilitation, making
sure that mass-murderers aren't cruely subjected to only
cable with no hbo in their cells.
but then i found a way to blow that stupid ass argument out
of the water.
everyone and i mean everyone (well almost) identifies pure
evil with the nazis. the nazis are the most convenient
example of our history of true evil. get past the fact that
there are many other regimes as violent if not more than the
nazis, but combine the meticulousness of the nazis, their
documentation, their cruel logic and efficiency, and of
course their skin-color combined with their western heritage
and we have a picture-perfect mirror-image of our satan.
and i have not found ONE and i mean not ONE person who is
all against the moral fabric and ideal of punishment who
would say that the nuremberg trials and the sentences
imposed by them weren't necessary.
furthermore, what i find kind of interesting (and somewhat
appalling) is that there's a certain, "they deserved it for
what they condoned" mentality whenever i see the subject of
the brutal rapes and retaliations against germans in the
eastern annexes after the world war.
really? why?
true that the feeling that punishment is warranted for
certain crimes doesn't necessarily make the leap that the
punishment should be the death penalty, but at least now i
have a basic tenet of my argument and i can move from that.
another area i found this argument really useful was when i
argued with this guy about racism in tort law (as if it
isn't obvious in the next few sentences he is black).
we argued about the "reasonable racist" which is an assault
on my theory that it is quite possible for someone who
believes that he is in imminent danger of death or bodily
harm that he will apply whatever heuristic (right or wrong)
to make his next move.
it just so happens that our media portrays black males as
people who rob and mruder a lot. the shop-keeper in our
hypotehtical killed a black man who looked much like he was
about to rob the liquor store with a shotgun (he was actuall
holding an umbrella).
anyhow, the argument against me is that, while people use
such heuristics that doesn't make them reasonable. which is
a fair argument but i don't buy it in reality, to use
justice holmes' quotation, "one can't expect reasoned,
objective decision-making in the presence of an up-turned
so anyway, the guy was going off about how black males are
potrayed like this and it's not fair and then i seized on
something he said a few weeks earlier about how the police
are always (or mostly) out to get the black youth.
therefore the black youth were quite justified in resisting
arrest and jury nullification to fight back.
well that's just a variation of the argument he was making
against me.
if you can group police officers for something less
threatening, why can't you group another class in something
more threatening?
people just kind of see this tunnel-vision and apply the
facts as is convenient. this really works to your advantage
if you can see avenues which intersect with their narrow
view which they conveniently try to block out.