One reason why democracy doesn’t seem to be working very well is that the public is becoming increasingly ignorant about what makes it work at all. Evidence of this trend comes by way of a provocative study by the Pew Research Center, which polled the public regarding which professions it believes contribute the most to society.
What this means, essentially, is that those polled don’t have a clue what these professions really do, and understand the law least of all. Do lawyers contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being? Without lawyers crafting, explaining, enforcing and executing the laws, society would degenerate into chaos. Only 18% of the public thinks that preventing that is a significant benefit to society.
The appreciation of other professions, like artists and business executives, is absurdly low as well. Even those professions with comparatively high ratings (except for the ranking of the clergy, which is wildly inflated)—the military, doctors, scientists and engineers—don’t crack 80%, suggesting that about a quarter of our fellow citizens live in a fantasy world.
Let’s eliminate the military and observe the results. Let’s close down the medical schools, and see how that works out. And apparently 82% of the public thinks that Shakespeare’s famous ironic plea from Dick the Butcher in ”Henry VI,” Part II, *wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all. What good are lawyers, really?
My question is this: if teachers are so beneficial to society, why is the public so ignorant about how a successful democratic society functions?
* For some reason, I originally and erroneously attributed the quote to “Measure for Measure.” I apologize to Will, Dick, and my literate readers, and yes, I blame my English teachers…
Pointer: ABA Journal
Source: Careerist, Pew