Lawyers are almost always looked at with suspicion. We note certain defense attorneys arguing in favor of a man who is obviously guilty, and we, in turn, look at the attorneys as being obviously guilty as well. Their crimes? Defending guilty men. But, this view is ignorant of the lawyer’s purpose.
Most people don’t realize it, but “playing devil’s advocate” is not merely a cheeky metaphor that has become popularized over time. There used to be an actual office within the Roman Catholic Church called the “devil’s advocate.” His job was to challenge the canonization of a saint (in the Catholic sense of the word). That is, he was supposed to argue against candidates of sainthood that they were not worthy of sainthood. Any miracles that had been done, he was to challenge them. Any virtuous actions of the candidate were put under intense scrutiny. But, was he honestly against the saints? Was he against the church? Was he against God? Absolutely not! If anything, his role was extremely valuable; he was for the saints, he was for the church, and he was for God. No “fake” Christians were given the status of sainthood. He facilitated the reign of truth.
Just like with the devil’s advocate, lawyers are supposed to argue every position available. Are they supposed to be for the guilty? Are they supposed to be for crime? Are they supposed to be for evil? Absolutely not. The lawyer’s purpose is for him (or her) to make sure every aspect of the case is known. No relevant field is to be ignored. Everything is to be brought up; everything is to be examined. Why? So that truth might reign, and justice might be done thence. Lawyers simply “take sides” so that points of view might be known, so that all realms might be explored. Whether that be through private pleas or arguing before a court, the lawyer is to make sure his client’s position is argued and heard.
This is the same root idea that shapes a democracy. Citizens are to argue and debate. Let me repeat that: citizens are to argue and debate. Without healthy discussion, no topic will be explored in-depth. Positions will be held with closed minds. Truth will not reign.
Sadly, this is the case nowadays; truth does not reign. Though we hold democracy as an ideal, we ignore its necessary basis for practical implementation. We look at lawyers with suspicion because they argue various positions. We look at raging debates as if they are “unloving” because any opposition to my beliefs is intolerant.
We are living in a time with greater and greater political division; the gap extends day by day. Liberals hate all conservative ideas. Conservatives hate all liberal ideas. They both refuse to listen to opposing thoughts. What happened to the moderates who were able to objectively review the positions set forth? Sure, they are out there, but they are few and far between.
Take the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Almost every single one of my conservative friends hates it. Almost every single one of my liberal friends loves it.
Take homosexual marriage. Almost every single one of my conservative friends hates it. Almost every single one of my liberal friends loves it.
I could go on and on. Fewer and fewer people fall in the middle, between conservative and liberal ideals, and part of the reason is because people refuse to reason. We don’t debate anymore in a loving and kindly manner, analyzing the positions as best we can for the sake of truth. We simply assert our positions as true already. God help those who disagree with facts and logic.
We live in a time with more and more political division, with more and more closed-mindedness, with more and more arrogance. Maybe that man you assumed was guilty because of the way he looked (whether that be because of the color of his skin or the uniform he wore) was actual innocent. How would you know?
The lawyer’s purpose has been lost. Democracy cannot succeed otherwise.
This blog has become a page of rants. And there is a lot to rant about.
– The Odd Thinker