on November 6, 2003
For a man as educated and intelligent as Mr. Dershowitz, this was a surprisingly uninteresting and dull account of a very important issue. While I agree with Dershowitz's main tent -- our society has become less responsible in many ways, and that our law is a reflection of that -- his essays were, to put it mildly, insipid and boring. I realize that the mediums that he choose to broadcast his message -- newspapers -- constrain his ability to express his sentiments in all the proper nuance. (For instance, George Will, a respected columnist, writes for general audiences but never hesitates to express his comments in the language such comments deserve).
Also, after you have read one single essay from Mr. Dershowitz, there is absolutely no reason to read another one. Each essay talks about the same subject in almost the same fashion: that the abrogation of responsibility will ultimately result in the end of the rule of law (which requires that we be responsible for our actions) and democracy (which posits that elected officials are ultimately responsible for their actions). I would encourage careful readers to instead look at James Q. Wilson's "Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten our Legal System." Wilson's book goes into far more depth on this issue, offering theoretical and practical support for his arguments. Plus, Wilson is far more interesting. : )