A Parable of Horribles

There was a three-year boot camp of particular awfulness. Most new recruits were miserable, but at least, they were constantly told, the brutality was necessary for making soldiers out of them. Over time, however, the drill sergeants gradually decided that shouting wasn’t the best training method. The country needed soldiers who could make good decisions under pressure, not just snap perfectly to attention whenever spoken to. So they started changing what they told the recruits to do, and how they said it.

But then a strange thing happened. The recruits still prided themselves on the precision of their salutes. They formed their own “drill groups” to run repeatedly through the parade-ground maneuvers that were taught in the first few months of the three-year program. And strangest of all, the same soldiers-to-be who were competing fiercely with each other to run the obstacle course the most times in the rain objected to being put in situations that resembled (however imperfectly) actual combat. “What are our orders, sir?” they asked, time and time again, even when the premise of the exercise was that they were cut off behind enemy lines.

Perhaps law school is a bit of a bottom-up boot camp?