January 01, 2014

From the Bench: Encysted Ideas

The substitution of systems for thinking is rampant in the law.

Hon. John L. Kane

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“It is one of the misfortunes of the law that ideas become encysted in phrases and thereafter for a long time cease to provoke further analysis.” Hyde v. United States, 225 U.S. 347, 391 (1912) (Holmes, J., dissenting).

More than 35 years ago, Marshall McLuhan predicted that a global village would be built on an electronic nervous system. In its present stage, that system is the Internet. The Internet feels nothing, creates nothing, and imagines nothing. It delivers data. We permit it, however, to govern nearly every aspect of our lives.

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