Ponzi Scheme of Evil

I don’t know if y’all saw this over at Pith, but I was discussing how it turns out that the lead lawyer for the assholes trying to stop the Murfreesboro mosque is also the president of the assholes trying to stop the Murfreesboro mosque.

It seems legal but hinky. I mean, lawyers have to eat, just like everyone else, so I get why they would take on unsavory clients. But being your own unsavory client? And then taking the money assholes give you and spreading it around to your friends so that they can do such important things as read websites into the court record?

It just seems like a scam.

But what has really stuck with me since writing this is wondering about the dynamics of the people who give money towards this nonsense. How do you know when you’re a misunderstood Superman and when you’re just a fool standing outside in his long-johns? Is it harder to admit you’re just a fool in his underwear once you’ve given money?

And there’s a weird ego thing going on with the idea that you, small group of Tennesseans, would somehow have secret knowledge that everyone else for the past 1500 years has been too stupid to realize.

But my favorite thing is that basically their whole case, so far, seems to boil down to “There are groups, such as ours, who really hate Muslims and don’t want them to be able to do anything, therefore Muslims shouldn’t be able to do anything.”

They really think that for some reason they can’t quite articulate, probably even to themselves, they should get the deciding vote in how their communities develop.

It’s stunning to watch them willingly hand their money to charlatans who promise to help them defend that right.

3 thoughts on “Ponzi Scheme of Evil

  1. I’m going to bypass your comments about fools in long-johns claiming to hold trump cards. That seems right on, even if formulated mostly as questions. Instead I want to say something about “being your own unsavory client.”

    Seems to me there is a pattern (maybe not new at all) of training lawyers precisely for the cause. It might be easier to just have your own lawyers than to hire them. So if activism is for some, in large part, about changing the law itself, then you find people with certain values and support them through law school to then return and fight for you. The Home School Legal Defense Association works this way. Falwell’s Liberty University has poured serious money into their debate program precisely to get their graduates into reputable law schools to create a cadre of Christian lawyers. Even the ACLU is kinda this.

    I’m not sure this is exactly a Ponzi scheme or even presents a moral problem. Although, I am increasingly concerned that public perception of judges (and not just lawyers or legislators) is as motivated by their own causes and biases. That presents a serious problem for legitimacy and thus for society.

  2. I have a brother whose first year of law school was at Regent University. When he attended I was still thinking about becoming a lawyer myself so I looked into their program.

    They were VERY OPEN (17 years ago) about being a training ground for ~ “Christian Lawyers who will fight to uphold the right way of life in modern times” ~ They used to even run ads during the 700 Club (Regent is Pat Robertson’s University) about soliciting donations for the school on this basis. Like it was Jedi Training Camp for people who wanted to go head to head with the ACLU.

    I’m not saying that the more left-leaning parts of society DON’T have such schools and clubs. I’m just talking about the ones I’ve had personal experience with.

    That whole business with Regent was one of the reasons I backed so quickly off the practice of law. I was always drawn to the law because of it’s simonpure rightness. I liked the idea of there being a concrete source to determine the validity of an argument. When it seemed like the Law in real life was just as subject to peer pressure and money pressure as anything else, I rapidly lost interest.

    So I think–no, I KNOW–that there are people who go to law school specifically to train for these types of fights.

    I also know that there is a serious glut in the lawyer market. There are about 150% more lawyers than we actually need. That’s a rough estimate of an ABA statistic from 6 years ago. i can only assume it’s worse now. So you’ve got a ton of lawyers who’ve moved into other fields, like HR, sports/talent agenting, school administration, corporate upper management. Then you’ve got a ton more lawyers who are forced to create their own work. Whether it’s advertising lawsuits on basic television and making a car accident look like a lottery win if you hire them OR forming cause associations who sue. The whole Cause Association thing is the newer wrinkle on Ambulance Chasing.

    As far as I can tell, it actually started in the more left-leaning camps with Environmental Law. You’d have a lawyer start a Cause Association to “Save the Spotted Widget Hawk” and then sue to stop a major development. The whole purpose of the suit in many cases was to get the major developer to actually pay you a shit-ton of money to shut up and go away so they could make three shit-tons of money building condos. Gentlemen’s blackmail.

    The same school of thought then moved into suing Wal-Marts. It’s a win-win to sue Wal-Mart. You get the prime donations from those who want to see Wal-Mart go away…and then eventually you get “go away” money from Wal-Mart themselves. A small team of lawyers can remain employed as much as 4 years on ONE local Wal-Mart case.

    And now here we go with the Mosque. It’s really just a Wal-Mart case turned on its ear. Guy starts the fuss and collects donations to sue. Then guy is given money by whomever to go away. I can’t imagine the Moslems have a lot of go away money for him. So maybe he’s hoping he’ll make it big on the donations side.

    Either way. Consider it the lawyers’ version of self-publishing.

    I’m not saying it’s a good idea. I’m actually rather jaded about the whole thing. But that’s the main reason I’ve not written about it or given it any attention beyond a cursory investigation. Because making a stink about it is free publicity for the lawyer and his little pet case. Of course I think some places (like news organisations) are duty-bound to make a stink about it. You can’t just sit back and let the asshole run away with the cash.

  3. There are about 150% more lawyers than we actually need. That’s a rough estimate of an ABA statistic from 6 years ago.

    Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but what the ABA means by this is not “there are about 150% more lawyers than we actually need,” because there is no way to compute how many lawyers we actually need, but “there are about 150% more lawyers than we need to fit into the slots for lawyers we have in our heads and to make sure that all the lawyers who fit into those slots make a base salary of $X each year.”

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