America, welcome to your new national nightmare: a country run on the thinking instilled by Harvard Law School.
Noam Scheiber’s brilliant article in the New Republic takes the first stab at capturing what this turn of events could mean for the direction of the country. After pointing out some obvious differences between the Bush 41-Clinton transition and the Bush 43-Obama transition, Scheiber explains:
But part of the explanation also lies in the elite institutions that socialized them–namely Harvard and Yale, their respective law schools. The two schools stand on opposite sides of a cultural chasm in the academic world. Even more than that, they stand for different theories of governing.
Obviously, Scheiber makes his argument by using broad generalizations about the two schools’ methods of education. Yale is portrayed as intellectually curious if a bit absent minded and unstructured. Harvard is austere and disciplined and a place where happiness goes to die.
Individual experiences will certainly vary. As John Matteson offered in the Sunday Times:
I can’t tell whether Barack Obama suffered into self-knowledge at Harvard Law the way I did. Whereas I never discovered an academic comfort zone in Roscoe Pound Hall, he became president of The Law Review — a feat of intelligence and dedication I can regard only with awe.
The generalizations about the two law schools have particular import though. Remember, Obama is seemingly bringing the entire HLS faculty with him to Washington.
Additional thoughts after the jump.