Schools for Misrule cover art

Just out from Encounter Books, the cover art for my forthcoming book:

Apropos of which, one theme the book treats at length — the consequences and possible origins of today’s overwhelming liberal/Left ideological dominance in academic law — is the subject of Above the Law’s latest odd-trio matchup of Richard Epstein (at Ricochet), John Yoo (in comments there) and Elizabeth Wurtzel (on Twitter). Epstein:

…on average I would say that there are more left-wing democrats than center-left democrats [in legal academia]. I define the difference as follows. The former are those who have sympathy for programs of redistribution on such key areas as education and health care, but are by and large supportive of market institutions on the production side of the line. There is an effort to make good on the earlier social democratic tradition. The left democrats are in favor of a larger public sector and are deeply suspicious of markets more or less across the board. To put the point most vividly, the center left group is uncomfortable that Obama is too far to the left. The left liberal group is uncomfortable that he is too far to the right. There is a lot of difference there.


…conservatives, for good reason, tend to hide their political beliefs when they are on the job market and when they are untenured. They suspect, perhaps reasonably in light of this study, that there is a bias against them. I know conservatives at other schools who try to avoid writing on anything remotely controversial — this is bad for scholarship and teaching, because it discourages our best minds and fullest debates on the most important subjects.


Re liberal bias in academia: Shouldn’t the fact that intellectuals tend to be drawn to liberal ideas tell us that liberal ideas are smarter?

Well, no, as Hayek and many others have noted, it might just be that liberal/Left ideas unlike conservative ideas flatter intellectuals with the assurance that they deserve to run the world. Certainly — as I argue at more length in the new book — many of the liberal/Left ideas in circulation today promise to make legal academics a much more powerful and influential bunch.


  • Of course our so-called elite law schools are liberal to leftist in orientation. First, nearly all of the faculty are graduates of the Ivy League, in most cases on both the undergraduate and law school levels. Very rarely, as students, did they ever encounter a conservative professor. However, they certainly encountered lots of leftist professors and lots of leftist oriented courses such as critical legal studies, womens’ studies and the like. Second, most of the faculty (and students) come from the most liberal parts of the country, namely within 300 miles of NYC, LA or San Francisco. How many Texans, Floridians, Southern Baptists or Georgians( the state, not the country) are Ivy League law school or undergrad professors? Location does matter. In fact, I’ll bet that very few students or faculty members have ever had a two-way conversation with a conservative Southerner or, for that matter, any conservative. I remember the hostility that conservatives faced during my law school days at a prestigious tier 1 law school I attended in the northeast during the late 1970s and the evidence is strong that this hostility is worse today. Political correctness is the McCarthyism of the left and there is little doubt in my mind that anyone who is openly pro death penalty, anti gay marriage, against slavery reparations, opposed to affimative action quotas and wants to stop illegal immigration could never get a position at an elite law school.

  • Just a mundane question here….. is there a release date?

    Amazon seems to be hinting at February 2011. Would that be accurate?

  • Publishers always have leeway to alter these things, but unless anything appears to the contrary, I assume February will stand.

  • Hayek’s other argument was that law professors simply don’t study or understood how the social system produces social coordination and with it wealth and peace.

    Their massive lack of knowledge and understand explained their failure to comprehend the role of law in the making of a good society.

    Hayek says this plainly. He didn’t mince word. The law profession was dominated by the ignorant.

    Note well that Hayek held a law degee and his first professional job was in the field of international law.

    Hayek says this plainly. He didn’t mince word. The law profession was dominated by the ignorant.

    Note well that Hayek held a law degee and his first professional job was in the field of international law.

  • […] A much-needed forthcoming book about how law schools foment excessive lawyering and litigation (Overlawyered) […]

  • Hm. I consider myself something of an intellectual. I was smart enough to work in industry where I produce something for the benefit of mankind.