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Monday, October 04, 2004
  Whose advocate? : I have previously posted on the fact that law school has warped my thinking. Today in class I was reminded of this yet again. It was a La Follette (Public Affairs) class, "State and Local Finance," in which we were discussing the merits and the minuses of contracting government services out to the private sector.

One of my classmates said somethgin that I've heard many times, but on this occasion it struck me as very genuine and made me think. She began one of her statements with: "Just to play the devil's advocate..."

Interesting. You don't hear people say that at law school.

Should I have been prefacing myself that way every time I played the devil's advocate? With concern I raced back in my mind and thought over the things I'd said during the course of our discussion in this non-law school class that I found myself in. Sure enough, I had played the devil's advocate a few times just to draw out a point, as any good law student would. We law students are used to finding every argument we can, regardless of which directions it cuts in.

I leaned back and listened awhile (--interjection, because I'm in a confessional mood: something I should do more often). Almost all my classmates were articulating points with a level of sincerity that I hadn't picked up on before that moment. Rather than trying to find every argument they could, most of them were engaged in the exercise of trying to figure out how they felt about the issue and articulate their view. People had a sense of ownership about their ideas. I deeply admired it.

But I also began to wonder if it wasn't stifling at the same time. Why take that on while still in the process of learning about something? Plenty of time later on to stake our claims on these ideas as "our own" later.

Stifling? Admirable? Tomato? Tomaato?
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