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Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law Hardcover – January 12, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law main body consists of eight chapters:
1. The Boundaries of the Law
2. The Freedom to Take Risks
3. The Authority to Be Fair
4. The Boundaries of Lawsuits
5.Read more ›
1. Sometimes the ability to anticipate and prevent a bad outcome should not be enough to establish liability for that outcome. The social value of an activity in which a risk inherently resides may outweigh the cost of that risk. For example, the few but inevitable accidents on school playgrounds have lead to lawsuits, which have compelled many schools to ban running at recess or eliminate playground equipment altogether. Kids should not be deprived of healthy and developmentally necessary play to prevent accidents that are few and far between.
2. Due process, once used to prevent the coercive power of the state from being abused, has been extended to institutions like schools and businesses, eviscerating the authority that individuals need to run their institutions. Teachers can no longer maintain order in most public schools, as their ability to discipline students is highly restricted and students know they won't be held accountable.
3. Objective rules cannot replace discretion and judgment. Most of human life is just too complex to be reduced to rules and regulation. There must be room for intuition and creativity, and in every institution some individuals must have the authority to make judgments. Out of fear and distrust of authority we have attempted to eliminate all discretion with rules, which instead has lead to stultifying bureaucracy and a decline in personal responsibility.Read more ›
I recommend that you read Howard's "The Death of Common Sense" in order to understand how the U.S. Judicial System has been complicit, if not instrumental in the highjacking. You may conclude with me that tort reform drains energy from a more fundamental reform that should demand judges who judge, arguing that individual responsbility and accountability is more important than class extortion.
There are two main points in the book. One, is that there are too many rules prescribing how to do things. These rules derive from the assembly-line mentality that arose from the Industrial Revolution. While some rules are necessary in any complex endeavor, such as a business, government, or school, our society has gone overboard with rules and organization. Too many rules stifle individual initiative and decision making. Howard presents many examples of this in the public schools. Teachers in New York City are forbidden from calling on students who raise their hands during the first part of class. A mother of a third grader, who arrived with a supply of birthday cupcakes, was turned away because there is a rule against parents in the classroom. Teachers write out detailed course plans every week that no one ever reads. Loudspeakers constantly blare out announcements, interrupting classes and making it impossible for teachers and students to concentrate. No Child Left Behind made things worse by focusing on standardized testing. Teachers' union contracts dictate hours worked, limit teacher duties, and make it virtually impossible to fire incompetent teachers.
The second main point is that since the 1960's individual rights have trumped concerns over the common good. "Let any individual who feels aggrieved bring a legal claim for almost anything" (p. 23). This mindset arose from a desire to remedy abuses due to racial and gender discrimination.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitely a good book. Well written. But, draws wrongs conclusions in relation to furthering judicial authority. Judges have too much authority and zero accountability. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Scott Wallis
All books written by Philip Howard deserve to be read and deserve 5 stars. Congress decrys the problems we have but denies their role in creating them.Published 13 months ago by Owen H. Lucas Jr.
Death of Common Sense was a better book, in my opinion. This book was interesting but some of his ideas are in conflict with each other, such as wanting to eliminate as much law... Read morePublished on July 22, 2014 by cccbooks1234
At a "town hall" conducted by my state senator a few years ago, I told her that the state legislature would be much improved if every member had an engineer (like me, of... Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by Jim Bruner
Refreshing yet rightfully troubling read on what has become our society. The notion that our laws are written of, by, and for lawyers is driven home in spades in our politics,... Read morePublished on May 31, 2014 by t. keith gurnee