Thursday, February 18, 2010

Law School/Formal Education

"Thus, in proportion as men become more alike and the principle of equality is more peaceably and deeply infused into the institutions and manners of the country, the rules for advancement become more inflexible, advancement itself slower, the difficulty of arriving quickly at a certain height far greater. From hatred of privilege and from the embarrassment of choosing, all men are at last forced, whatever may be their standard, to pass the same ordeal; all are indiscriminately subjected to a multitude of petty preliminary exercises, in which their youth is wasted and their imagination quenched, so that they despair of ever fully attaining what is held out to them; and when at length they are in a condition to perform any extraordinary acts, the taste for such things has forsaken them."
Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America - Chapter "Ambition in the US"

I've noticed that there is a propensity for those exiting college or graduate school to manifest far less idealism than when they entered it. Inasmuch as college quashes impulses to improve the world which would otherwise succeed (as opposed to merely tempering idealism with needed practicality and training), this trend appears net negative. It would be better for aspiring youth to enter the public, non-profit, or private sector right off and begin trying to change the world before the obstacle of college. It would also be better to detach the requirement of a degree from many positions and instead rely solely on occupational qualifications and skill sets. A better system might be to have education and training as you go, or midway through a career, rather than all scrunched up at the beginning when you're pining to make an impact.

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