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David Lange found his LLB unchallenging

(Stupidity is a Sex-War Issue (3))

© Peter Zohrab 2005

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David Lange, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, died recently. He was the best Prime Minister I have ever known -- because he made lots of good jokes ! It was a pleasure to hear him speak, for that reason. I make a lot of jokes myself -- some of them similar to the types of jokes he made -- but I won't be offended if someone says his jokes were better than mine are!

Anyway, on TV3 on 17 August 2005, I saw his last political interview. He was asked, at one point, why he didn't do well at university, seeing that he was obviously intelligent. He replied that he found his first degree -- an LLB -- unchallenging.

Well, join the club, David Lange !

(I note here, in passing, that he only decided to study Law because his father (a doctor) had been accused by a female patient of sexual assault, and his father had to go through a trial and some time in gaol before being found not guilty. If only he had seen the link from his father's experience to Men's Rights as well as to the Law ! False accusations by women are common and usually unpunished.)

There is something very wrong when people who actually have brains (I assume that David Lange actually did have brains, as people say) find Law degrees unchallenging. This indicates that the standard of the intake and output of Law degree courses must be lower than is desirable -- given the huge power that the legal profession enjoys.


Butterworths Family Law Journal

The Men's/Fathers' Movement has been having running battles with the legal/justice system, and the latter has always been in a position to claim that the men were stupid, misguided, ignorant, or otherwise wrong. However, in this series of articles, I am putting together a case to suggest the possibility that the legal/justice system is not just anti-male -- it is actually not all that bright.

As I pointed out in my article Sexual bias, fathers’ rights, domestic violence, and the Family Court – a reply to Wendy Davis, which was a reply to an article by Wendy Davis in Butterworth's Family Law Journal:

"the most fundamental thing one can state about Davis’ article is that it demonstrates the centrality of fundamental incompetence in legal thinking in New Zealand today. This incompetence has to do with knowledge of what the Law actually is, and with knowledge of the fact that statements need to be supported by evidence. Her article exhibits gross deficiencies in these two basic types of knowledge.

The most striking aspect of her article, which laments the political influence that fathers’ rights groups have gained in New Zealand and elsewhere, is the fact that the excerpt which was reproduced in a large, bolded and italicised font and placed in a box for emphasis has nothing to do with the Family Court or the Law as it is today, but a lot to do with political ideology, unsupported by evidence. The excerpt in question states the following:

Gender bias can prejudice both women and men, but it is not symmetrical. Unlike gender bias against men, gender bias against women occurs in the context of women’s generally disadvantaged position in society and, historically, under the law.

In a journal which is purportedly about Family Law, it is nothing short of incompetence for such a passage even to appear – let alone to be highlighted as the main message of the article. What is even worse is that this sort of incompetence is the norm in the culture of Family Law theory and practice in the Western World today. The word law occurs in this excerpt only in a historical context, which is irrelevant to an article about the law as it is today. The rest of the passage is a claim about women’s allegedly disadvantaged position in society, which is a political, rather than a legal claim. Not only is it political, but it is ideological, because it relies on this catechism having been instilled into us with our mothers’ milk, absolving the author and publisher from the need to provide one shred of evidence – either for the claim about legal history or for the claim about women’s current position.

Legal issues involving sexual bias, fathers’ rights, domestic violence and the Family Court can only be rationally discussed in a context which is free of the guilt-feelings which some stakeholders expect males to feel with respect to historical or non-legal matters.

Moreover, the excerpt from Davis’ article that is quoted above is incoherent and arguably false. It is incoherent to mention “women’s generally disadvantaged position in society” without including the implied phrase “by comparison with men’s position”. It makes no sense to claim that women are disadvantaged without claiming that men are less disadvantaged – yet men are routinely not mentioned in such statements. If men were mentioned, that would naturally open the door to asking what disadvantages men suffer from, and then one might mention their life-span, conscription, workplace accidents, imprisonment rate, suicide rate, health care, and so on and so forth. In terms of legal history, as well, one might want to mention the ways in which women have been free of many of the legal liabilities that men have had to bear.

A good case could be made that men are and have been just as disadvantaged as women both under the Law and generally in society, but I do not want to make that case here, because this issue is not relevant, as I have already pointed out. The interested reader is referred to my book, Sex, Lies & Feminism , and to the plethora of other books on the subject. Moreover, the rise of the Men’s/Fathers’ Movement must surely be an indication that this particular emperor might have no clothes.

It is simplistic to assume, without proof, that the fact that men occupy/occupied most positions of power results/resulted in more discrimination against women than against men. Chivalry has been a powerful influence in favour of women and detrimental to men’s interests. Paradoxically, it is arguably precisely this simplistic assumption, combined with traditional male chivalry, which produces the bias against men in the Family Court that men have been protesting about."


Mooting at Victoria University of Wellington

Here is another example of the anti-male bias in the legal/judicial system that is induced by the above simplistic assumption: As a Law student at Victoria University of Wellington, in 2003 I had to do a moot (a pretend-trial presentation), on a Public Law theme. The person acting as Moot Judge was Mr. Quang Trinh, a Solicitor from the firm of Chapman Tripp.

Since the party I was supposed to be acting for was in conflict with a female, I attempted to use, as one of my arguments, an argument to the effect that there was, or could be, sex discrimination against a male or males. The Moot Judge remarked, in his formal feedback to me, that you couldn't allege sex discrimination against a male! His point was not that the argument was not appropriate to the particular facts involved -- his point was that there was no such thing as sexual discrimination against a male ! Needless to say, he didn't have any evidence for this claim, so I gave him a copy of my book to read (as I recall).

It is gross incompetence, which is apparently endemic in the legal profession, for people to state as legal principles notions which are not even legal -- let alone legal principles ! As we saw above, the notions that men are never discriminated against, and that only women are discriminated against, are ideological tenets, and many lawyers seem to have learned these tenets at Law School in the unthinking, rote way that students seem to study there.


Client interviewing

In about 2004, I participated in a Client Interviewing competing which was run by the firm Russell McVeagh at Victoria University of Wellington. I hadn't ever been taught how to interview clients, so it is not surprising that I didn't do well in it !

What I found amazing, however, was that the key to getting a good result in that competition was to be able to guess what secret issue the "client" (an actor) was hiding from you. In this case, the client presented with an issue to do with the purchase of goods, but the "real" issue that we were supposed to find out was that he was a foreigner whose visa had run out, or was about to run out.

We were never taught Applied Psychology at Law School, and I have never heard of that subject being taught at Law School. So how it is that practising lawyers are assumed to be competent at guessing issues that clients are hiding from them is hard to imagine. Lawyers are very focussed on creating an appearance of omniscience and omni-competence, and my guess is that they sometimes start to believe their own Public Relations stance !


"Academic" Writing

Tony Shaw, the Human Rights lawyer, was stimulating and unconventional as a lecturer. However, the following short anedote illustrates how thin the veneer of intellect is at at least one Law School. In his class on the Bill of Rights Act, he recommended to us that we read a paper by a graduate student called David Niven. He called it "an A++ paper". I read it, and then asked Tony Shaw if we could discuss it in class, because I thought I had found a big hole in Niven's argument. He said we would discuss it if we had time, but that discussion never eventuated.

Shaw's described the paper as "an A++ paper", he refused to let us discuss it in class, and Niven's paper "just happened" to interpret the Bill of Rights Act in a way that supported Shaw's activist approach to that Act. All these facts support a picture of a Law School where intellect was rare and politics predominated.

Tony Shaw left his lecturer's position there under a cloud, and my view is that his main mistake was to take Human Rights in New Zealand at face value: He could see Maori lecturers and Feminist Law lecturers using their lectures to promote their political views, so he thought that he could do it too. He did not realise that corruption by politicisation was not an option for White Males like him. It was not allowed. Since then, there has been a reaction against Maori activism, so maybe it's only Feminists who can corruptly use their academic and bureaucratic positions to further their political views nowadays.




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

6 August 2015