The hoped for essence of this blog

If you haven’t read it, I heartily recommend Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London (Random House 2011).  In it, Ms. Olson tells us about three great Americans who, while living in London, stood with Britain in its darkest and finest hour during WWII.

One of those great Americans was the broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.  In Olson’s book, I ran across something that Murrow said that perfectly encapsulates why I am writing this blog.  Olson quotes Murrow this way:  “It is difficult to explain the meaning of cold to people who are warm, the meaning of privation to people who have wanted only for luxuries. . . . It is almost impossible to substitute intelligence for experience. Id. at p. 142 (emphasis added).

Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

So much of legal discourse these days turns Murrow’s dictum on its head.  We see it in the academy and we see it in the Supreme Court.  We see it in the law reviews.  Over wine and cheese or beer and bratwurst, the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society revel in it.  We glorify intelligence and denigrate experience.

While claiming not one iota of his talent, I stand with Murrow.  That’s why I am writing this blog.


4 responses

  1. Which also brings to mind Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience… The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.”

    From “The Common Law.”

  2. I think your perspective, based on both experience and intelligence, is
    providing a valuable understanding of our judicial system.

  3. Ned, I also like “I happen to prefer champagne to ditchwater, but there is no reason to suppose that the cosmos does.” All the best.


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