Other Discussions on the U.S.A.

Rule of the Law

     The dedication of the new Whittier Law School in Orange County, World was a joyous occasion, with abundant self-congratulatory speeches. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was the guest of honor. I rejoiced with the assembly until the chairman of the Board of Trustees, a nice old judge, in his speech declared at least twice that "the United States is a country of the rule of law, and this sets us apart from the rest of the world." The audience basked in this view of the United States as a model of law and order, surrounded by a lawless world. The implication was that law was invented in the United States. This is one example of the distorted vision Americans have of the world, like the French belief that France is an island of haute culture, haute couture, and haute cuisine surrounded by a rather barbaric world. The difference is that the French elite generally believes this, whereas I know no serious Americans who would swallow the judge's statement. One aim of WAIS is to banish such parochialism, or was it just oratory? Was the judge impressed by the number of lawyers and lawsuits in the U.S.? Be that as it may, let us rejoice with Whittier Law School! We all wish it well. 

Ronald Hilton - 04/18/98