OF MORLOCKS AND ELOI
Louis D. Brandeis’ life bridged the Civil War (b.1856) to World War II (d. 1941). Yet, the battles he fought and wars he won are very relevant today. His recent biographer stated that the headlines of 1905 would be scarcely different from today. “Officials of corporations with huge cash reserves had been treating the company’s coffers as their own private piggy banks, using the funds for personal indulgences and illicit campaign contributions.” Melvin I. Urofsky, Louis D. Brandeis, A Life, Pantheon Books, Page 155 (2009). Insurance/money scandals gripped the nation then and now.
In 1905 Brandeis set out his philosophy as a lawyer and reformer in a speech at Harvard. He stated that lawyers too often supported only the large corporations, to the detriment of reform and the public. H.G. Wells looked far ahead at what could result from this dilemma in his 1895 novel, The Time Machine.
The hero in The Time Machine was beamed forward to 802,701 A.D. There he found Morlocks , humanoid creatures, who had adapted by dwelling only in the underground. But, first, The Time Traveller encounters the Eloi. The Eloi appear to have an idyllic life. They are clothed and fed by the Morlocks as the Eloi loll lazily by the pool. The relationship was happily symbiotic.
Slowly, the Time Traveller began to realize that the Morlocks slightly resembled the downtrodden of his 1895 world. The Eloi may have been the wealthy of his era who got too used to the easy life.
Then the Time Traveller saw the truth. The Morlocks did indeed occupy the lower world, cleanly out of sight, but in actuality controlled the Eloi who had become too soft to defend themselves. Eventually, the Morlocks controlled the Eloi like cattle.
Having dwelled so long underground, the Morlocks became very resistant to the cleansing power of sunlight. With their eyesight thus impaired, the Morlocks became cannibalistic having first fed on rats and when other rodents became extinct, the Eloi.
Louis Brandeis had four careers. He started as a corporate lawyer and the insurance scandals mentioned above, turned him into a reformer. By 1912 he had become known around the United States as ‘The People’s Lawyer’. His Jewish background led him into a secular Zionism, then he became a judge. These four views of the world enabled him to be an advocate for pragmatic change and reform.
We have a few years left before the present corporate lawyer winds up being eaten up by Morlocks, so the time is ripe for the corporate lawyer, and Bar leadership, all of whom are without understanding, to examine reform -- Beautiful legal reform of our entire dysfunctional legal system and its replacement by a modern legal system.
Obedience without understanding is blindness.