Ed. note: The following is satire.
I’m very excited to announce my article in the Harvard Law Review: “Consenting to Murder.” The article argues it is wealth-maximizing to allow people in poverty to consent to be hunted by rich people willing and able to pay for that activity.
The article, despite its law and econ underpinnings, is quite interdisciplinary. It draws on the psychology literature that suggests CEOs tend to be psychopaths. However, CEOs also have high levels of disposable income. It is a natural extension of their psychopathy to want to hunt humans, not just wild animals.
Then, using economic theory, the article notes the great disparity in income levels. While economics doesn’t usually address distribution, it is possible to maximize wealth and address income distribution here using this unique solution.
Using insurance law, we can calculate the value of the hunt based upon the age of the consenting participant to determine a market price.
The article will address criticisms. One criticism will be that no rational person would consent to be murdered for the sake of their family. Here, I draw on behavioral economics and Gary Becker’s “rational addiction” article.
Some might say the purpose of legal academia is to make the world a BETTER place through discourse and policy prescriptions. I say to them: Where was the article placed? How often was it cited? How often was it downloaded?
This article placed in Harv. L. Rev. It is already a good article, by definition. And once my friends download it 1,000 times, there will be no question that my article arguing that rich people should be allowed to hunt and kill poor people adds value to the world.
The idea was inspired by the sound principles of conservation efforts. Recently, declines in hunters have threatened how we pay for conservation. It makes sense, then, to increase the number of hunters of humans to be able to better care for the population of deserving humans.
- Does publication of such an article in a top law review make the article better than if it were published in a lower-ranked journal? Please do not fight the hypothetical here. If you think it is impossible for such an article to be in a top law review, maybe start by checking out this delightful, pro-eugenics defense of Buck v. Bell: J. Miller Kenyon, Sterilization of the Unfit, 1 VA. L. Rev. 458 (1914).
- Should the article be written at all? Should articles be written that do not make any contribution to society? Does this proposed article make a contribution to society?
- Suppose there is academic pushback on the article, but such pushback is placed in lower-ranked journals. Does that suggest that the piece carries greater merit? What about the fact it is cited more than the pushback pieces?
- Would you be more outraged about such a piece placing in a higher-ranked journal than in a lower-ranked journal? Why?
- Would any outrage about the piece be overblown because very few people read law review articles?
- Suppose the piece used eugenics as support for the proposition that poor people are inferior. Given the anti-intellectual nature of that foundation, would a law review be justified in pulling the piece if the editors accepted the piece before discovering that notion?
Academic freedom means that ideas may percolate that are contrary to popular opinion. Such ideas are important to advancing our understanding of the world. But I can’t help but wonder how the anti-intellectual hierarchy that we see in the legal academy helps to stimulate demand for click-bait articles and thoughts, rather than ones that make the world a better place. And then the academy becomes outraged as we see more of this.
Afterthought: As I wrote this, a tweet from Al Jazeera came across my screen. “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” — Malcolm X
I wonder if law review fetishism causes ideas to become true that aren’t and cause those that are untrue to ring true. I wonder what articles were written because they would sell and what articles were never to be because of the system.
LawProfBlawg is an anonymous professor at a top 100 law school. You can see more of his musings here. He is way funnier on social media, he claims. Please follow him on Twitter (@lawprofblawg). Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.