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Argentine Lawyers: The Doctors That Aren't

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When you do things by the numbers you always play by the book, or you write it if you can, and that's what lawyers and judges - who were lawyers too at some point - usually end up doing. This causes that things that weren't there appear like magic, and that's what happened with the degrees that law school graduates did in Argentina some time ago.

Taken individually, among lawyers, judges and so on there are good and bad people like in every walk of human life; however law-related professions are usually questioned because the ethics behind them are rather difficult to understand for the common people. This, combined with the power that such professions usually entail facilitate the protrusion among lawyers of really mean individuals who can only be differentiated from gloves-off criminals just because they know all the appropriate legal amenities to get away with their crimes.

With all this the common human being has his or her hands full and it is better not to cross in the path of a lawyer because at the very least that would prove to be rather expensive, a fact that makes us laugh a little bit bitterly about justice and equality. But the survivors that inhabit currently the lands of Argentina have one worse and more bizarre, as usual: What would you say if I tell you that a whole profession is presenting itself as something that it really isn't? Well, that's the case of Argentine law school graduates because they call themselves "Doctors" despite the fact that they have only a B.A. or baccalaureate degree in law, right after they get of college. About 99% of them never got any sort of postgraduate education and even less got a PhD. or equivalent degree.

Of course, there are norms that somehow say that lawyers can call themselves "doctors" like medical doctors or PhDs just because their forefathers were kind enough to bind fiction and norms so well. But it is like having a Lieutenant receiving his commission at Sandhurst and turning him or her into a Field Marshal just because he or she happened to be there instead of West Point. Of course, H.M. the Queen of England - Sandhurst is under her jurisdiction - or her Prime Minister could approve norms stating that their lieutenants become marshals just like that, but would you trust them the leadership of an army at war?

Well, if fights are among equally blind people, equally retarded, incapacitated or paralytic, it might just work, and that is exactly what happens among "legal experts" in Argentina because only those graduated from a law school within the country can practice the law there: They are generally at the same level both theoretical - they are "Doctors"- and real - they aren't Doctors -, and so fights go on fairly well, for them, because the rest of the country suffers the consequences and so it should not surprise anyone that the whole legal system there is as credible and respected as Koch's bacillum.

A true doctor has been a medical doctor in really ancient times, a "doctor of the church" (four or five notable philosophers of Christian tradition), or more recently, someone who has received a specific kind of postgraduate education leading to the successful presentation of a thesis involving a high degree of research. In other words, you have to be a scientist with far more learning than a baccalaureate in anything to deserve the title of Doctor.

It is sad to say all this about a whole profession, but in Argentina "law people" make their own rules, literally, and that leads to such latitude in corruption and incompetence as the coutry has the world accustomed to: Judges can rule on the constitutionality or lack of it of laws and decrees and there is a remarkably high proportion of lawyers occupying public offices instead of experts in each field. Recently, a lawyer who was assigned the environmental agency of the country appeared questioned and facing charges of corruption that goes from nepotism to the use of public funds for her private purposes; there are also many complains against lawyers that work for the government and abuse people using state powers and lawyers implicated in corruption scandals come to the light on an almost weekly basis. At the very least this indicates that law schools do nothing to screen off bad candidates and teach nothing about true ethics, and if we take the performance of the Argentine government as a standard, there is no need to say much more: Every single president of the country since 1983 has been a lawyer. In other words, facts indicate that even military dictators seem to have been better managers.

You can, of course, modify the rules to call yourself whatever you want if you are able to, and lawyers have some clout regarding laws and regulations indeed, but that doesn't make them better: Many philosophers have called lawyers in various unflattering ways such as "poison with a diploma", "souls for hire" and so on; needless to say, there are good and bad people even among lawyers but let's go back to the basics: What could you say about a whole profession and a system that makes the rules and where people call themselves by using titles that they never really earned, just for the sake of vanity?

This reminds me about how the title of "Sir" was adopted vulgarly and today you could call like that a true English knight or a Kiwi plumber, What the heck! If these dudes are considered true doctors because someone wrote that on a paper then I just might visit one of those fringe religious schools located in the United States and have myself styled as Pope, Ayatollah or Prophet... I wonder if "God" is a title on sale?

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