Compassion Redux

Can you really feel compassion for a venomous invertebrate?

Mark suggests that in order to develop compassion it might be good to start with “venomous invertebrates.”

That’s probably right, but brutal.  Mark, you want me to feel compassion for these guys?

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

11 thoughts on “Compassion Redux”

  1. You know, its funny… I read articles all over the news, and, despite some modest Republican gains over the past couple months, the Democrats still have the overwhelming advantage right now, and, by all accounts, should keep a decent advantage going forward after the November elections. However, then I come to read Jonathan's posts over the past couple weeks, and, if I wouldn't have known any better, I would've thought Obama had just defected to the Tea Party and the Republicans held a 2:1 majority in both the House and Senate. Just a little thought on perspective.

    In all seriousness, though, I do admire the passion shown in these posts and the commitment to an ideology, despite some political setbacks. If our politicians on both sides of the aisle showed this same resolve, instead of constantly worrying about Election Day, maybe this country could actually get some things done.

  2. Hendrick Hertzberg, at the New Yorker website, reminds me where the "41-59 majority" line originated: the Village Voice headline reporting Scott Brown's victory.

  3. Like invertebrates, these individuals have indicated no signs that they possess the mirror neurons required to show empathy.

  4. TomF:

    "… the Democrats still have the overwhelming advantage right now …"

    Indeed. Now, if they could only figure out how to USE said advantages. They've only held the majorities and associated control of the legislative process since January of 2007, so I guess they're about half-way through the correspondence course on "How To Be A Leader". Right now they're working through the chapters on "dealing with uncooperative team members" and "coping with setbacks".

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