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April 23, 2015

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Stan

He also compared it to global warming too, Steven.

Stan

Is your disgust with the denial itself, or just the academic comparison? Is that disgust as thorough as SCU's deceptive employment statistics? Glass houses and all I mean.

[M][@][c][K]

Is there anything quite as disgusting as a law school admissions director who has been excoriated for shall we say, shading some facts - selectively referencing someone he has clashed with and ignoring the sentence:

"It should be unnecessary to say that lying to a lot of college graduates and leaving them worse off economically and psychologically than they would have been if you hadn’t lied to them isn’t as bad as genocide or slavery or wrecking the world’s environment. On the other hand, “it’s not as bad as the Holocaust” isn’t what one would call a spirited defense of a social practice, plus we must all cultivate our own gardens etc."

Anon

Anything he can do to distract attention from his national embarrassment on the pages of the New York Times where he demonstrates his inability to do "long division" as Prof. Leiter noted.

Steven Freedman

@ mack

I did not ignore that sentence at all. Campos begins with several paragraphs detailing holocaust and slavery (and global warming) denialists, clearly suggesting our defense of legal education, while not exactly the equivalent, belongs in the same category. He qualifies his statement that we are "not as bad" as people committing genocide or slavery. Gee, what a qualifier.

It's similar to saying Obama is like Hitler, but not quite as bad. Or better yet, Campos is like a pile of excrement, but not quite as bad. The intent is clear in both cases, an effort to engage in ad hominen attack of the worst kind. [Note that I only include the Campos attack to illustrate my point.]

Sorry, but myself and my colleagues should not be compared to racists and anti-semites with the qualifier that we're not quite "as bad" as that.

jess

There are people who say the Holocaust is a myth. There are people who say obesity is a myth. I am not saying the obesity deniers are QUITE as bad as the holocaust deniers...

Stan

Steven, I am serious when I ask this, do you legitimately believe that Campos' words on a blog (as irritating to you as they may be), come anywhere near the real and tangible harm that bottom tier law schools inflict upon their students every year?

Again, your post appears to be umbrage about tone, not substance. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

[M][@][c][K]

Steve -

You are a law school admissions dean - used car salesmen are better regulated (and these days regarded as more honest.) Campos made it clear that he was talking about denialism and not putting you in the same category. As a member of a group with a history of blatant dishonesty and denials, you might want to exercise care in your selective outrage and quotation.

Steven Freedman

@ Stan, et al

I legitimately believe that Paul Campos' post is a despicable ad hominem attack against me and many of my colleagues who disagree with his critique of legal education. I am legitimately offended by the weakly qualified comparison between me, my colleagues and the racists and anti-semites who support holocaust and slavery denialism. That's my point.

To all the Campos defenders, please take your head out of the sand for one moment. An attack such as Campos' does not further the movement to reform legal education, it harms it. It ends conversation, it stifles discussion. I and my colleagues cannot have a rational discussion, or listen to reasonable critiques when the critics are comparing us to holocaust and slavery deniers. If you want to push us towards reform of legal education, my suggestion is to stop defending self-aggrandizing bomb throwers like Campos and start engaging those of us in legal education who are willing to listen and willing to change.

[M][@][c][K]

Steve:

A simple question. Do you think there is no "denialism" among law school defenders. Have you been following the debate over at Prawfs that Campos post refers to - the one where various professors are maintaining that there was no deception in law school statistics because an applicant could have googled, found the BLS definition of unemployed and realized that the law school statistics did not mean employed as say most law school applicants would understand it.

It was and is an unmitigated ******** disgrace that at this point any of the shills would still be making these arguments.

I think that before you dial up the outrage you might want to address the denialism at issue.

Stan

Steven, that you are offended has been documented. I am asking you about harm and you - - shocker - - are not answering.

Ill try again: Do you personally believe that Campos' inflammatory blog post is anywhere near the real and tangible harm that bottom tier law schools inflict upon their students every year?

AnonProf

Why is an admissions dean even blogging here? I thought this blog was for law professors.

John Jacob

I'm sorry, there's no defending the Campos post. Period.

Still not sure why Campos' post was even worth linking to ....

Paul Campos

I'm sorry Steve Freedman's feelings got hurt by my discussion of the psychology of denialism, although I'm more sorry that somebody on a university faculty doesn't know what ad hominem means.

Denialism as a cognitive style manifests itself in all sorts of contexts, from the morally neutral or trivial (for example, people who deny that Shakespeare is the author of the works attributed to him), to the morally momentous.

Just where law schools dissembling about the employment outcomes for their graduates belongs on that moral spectrum is up to all those participating in or affected by those practices to decide for themselves. But all this of course is a distraction from the substantive issues. And it's equally obvious that the point of complaints about tone is to avoid, to the extent possible, discussing those issues.

Speaking of which, Michael Simkovic seems like a bright enough fellow, and it's a sad comment on the distorting effects of partisanship and self-interest that he's been reduced to making laughably absurd arguments of the sort he's making regarding the supposed justification BLS statistics provide for the deceptive reporting practices of law schools.

Anon

I'm sorry that someone on a university faculty believes it is not only appropriate but commendable to compare his opponents to holocaust deniers, before backtracking to say "let the reader decide." Nice try, but your true opinion shows through...

Steven Freedman

@ Paul Campos

I'm sorry, but the subtlety of your argument must have been hidden behind the large photo you posted of disgraced holocaust denier David Irving.

anon

Paul Campos,

Millions of real people died, and millions more suffered, during slavery and the holocaust. Using them as rhetorical devices is disgusting, and should be beneath even your dignity.

David

If I stipulate that Paul Campos is history's greatest monster, will you tell us why it makes any sense at all to stop checking what kind of employment--and if that employment utilizes a law degree in any way--would make law school employment statistics more useful for people contemplating six figures of debt in exchange for a law degree? Once you're done being extremely offended and outraged, of course. Take your time.

anon

The point here is that there is no point other than the fact that law faculties have proved themselves to be a very nasty bunch.

I've seen law profs dish it out in striking terms: often anonymously. Some have been sanctioned in very tangible ways by their colleagues for incivility, and yet continue with seemingly not the slightest remorse.

Here, Campos seems to be saying that conduct that harmed others should not be denied. His point about questioning the author of Shakespeare's works is a diversion; his point clearly assumed two facts: 1.) there was widespread misconduct by law schools that 2.) injured persons, and therefore, to deny this is similar to others denying conduct that hurt others.

I don't think that Campos would say that the magnitude of the harm was comparable to the comparisons he drew. Yet, those targeted by his post perhaps rightly say "Don't compare me to those people!" THis is the old "don't say anyone is like a Nazi" argument.

I have always found the forbidden comparison to the conduct of the Nazi to be too restrictive: in fact, the Nazi party was supported by a huge country and did in fact employ tactics and techniques - and I do not speak here of the genocide -- that were neither new nor abandoned forever by all mankind in 1945. It is perfectly fair to say: this is just what they did! But, no one dares (mostly) because of convention.

Campos probably stepped over that line. Should there be a line like that? Maybe not. But, the comparison wasn't really perfect and all Campos really meant was "don't deny that you did what you did and all the harm you caused."

why not just say that?

Steven Freedman

@ David

Don't think it's relevant to this discussion, but I'll call you on your bluff. I think it makes perfect sense to track outcomes of college graduates of all programs, including law graduates. The more information, the better. And that includes defining employment merely beyond employed/unemployed. It's expensive and difficult to do, but it's certainly a worthy effort. Good news - the ABA has been doing just such a thing for law graduates with the After the JD project. I encourage you to read their findings and reports, they're quite interesting.

Now it's your turn, what did you have to say about Paul Campos?

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