November 10, 2012

YESTERDAY A READER EMAILED asking me to send a link to what I regard as the best law review article ever. I thought I’d go ahead and repost it, too. It’s Arthur Allen Leff’s Memorandum From The Devil. It’s a review of Roberto Unger’s Knowledge and Politics, which ends, “Speak, God.”

Here’s a bit: “I am something of a connoisseur of these attempts by scholarly humans to find and describe some meaning in their personal and species existence, and when nonironic divine address comes out of Langdell Hall these days, attention must be paid.”

Oh, okay, one more irresistible passage: “But having opted for ‘mankind is the good,’ you just couldn’t stand it. It is not hard to see why. For if human nature were to be the good, then there was nothing for you or anyone else to do to change it in any way. Indeed, even as a matter of scientific curiosity, there wouldn’t be much call to find out what human nature was, for whatever it turned out to be would be what it ought to be. Now that is a loathsome idea. Under its reign, a man like you, rightly appalled at the world, would, have no role at all. That was too dreadful a possibility.”

If you like this, you might also read Leff’s Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law.

And give Unger credit for growing in office, or something. Though he’s one of Obama’s old professors, he recently said: “His policy is financial confidence and food stamps.”