Lawyer Mind, Judge Mind

Several recent discussions on a variety of unrelated topics with different people have gotten me thinking about two different attitudes towards dialectical processes. They are generalized versions of the professional attitudes  required of lawyers and judges, so I’ll refer to them as lawyer mind and judge mind. 

In the specialized context of the law, the dialectical process is structurally constrained and the required attitudes are  codified and legally mandated to a certain extent.  Lawyers must act as though they were operating from a lawyer-mindset, even if internally they are operating with a judge-mind. And vice-versa. Outside of the law, the distinction acquires more philosophical overtones.

I want to start with the law, but get to a broader philosophical, psychological and political distinction that applies to all of us in all contexts.

The Two Minds in Law

The lawyer mind allows you  to make up the best possible defense or prosecution strategy with the available evidence. Within limits, even if the defense lawyer is convinced his client is guilty, s/he is duty-bound to make the best possible case and is not required to share evidence that incriminates the defendant or weakens the case.  I asked several questions about this sort of thing on Quora and got some very interesting answers from lawyers. If you are a lawyer or judge and have opinions on these basic questions, you may want to add them as answers to the questions rather than as comments here.

The legal system is designed so that lawyers are under an ethical and legal obligation to try and win, rather than get at the “truth” in any sense. So a defense lawyer with a flimsy case, who is convinced of his client’s guilt, but who wins anyway because the prosecution is incompetent, is doing his job. S/he should not pull his/her punches.

What’s more, there is a philosophy behind the attitude. It is not letter over spirit. It is letter in service of the spirit. If things are working well, the lawyer should not suffer agonies to see justice not being served in the specific case, but find solace in the fact of the dialectic being vital and evolving as it should.

The lawyer, by pulling out all stops for a legal win, regardless of the merits of the case, is philosophically trusting the search for “truth” to the dialectic itself, and where the dialectic fails in a particular instance, s/he (I expect) views it as necessary inefficiency in the interests of the longer-term evolution of the legal system. It’s the difference between “not in my job description” small-mindedness and “trusting the system” awareness of one’s own role and its limitations.

The judge’s nominal role is to act as a steward of the dialectic itself and make sure it is as fair as can be at any given time, without attempting to push its limits outside of certain codified mechanisms. The judge is charged with explicitly driving towards the “truth” in the particular case, and also improving the system’s potential — it’s dialectical vitality — so that it discovers the truth better in the future (hence the importance of writing judgments with an eye on the evolution of case law, which is supposed to be a run a few steps ahead of legislation as a vanguard, and discover new areas that require legislative attention).

When Does This Work?

Now, if you think about it, this scheme of things works well when the system is actually getting wiser and smarter over time. If the system is getting dumber and more subverted over time, it becomes harder and harder for either the lawyer or the judge to morally justify their participation in and perpetuation of the system (assuming they care about such things).

A challenge for a judge might be, for instance, an increasing influence of money in the system, with public defenders getting worse over time, and rich people being able to buy better and better lawyers over time. If this is happening, the whole dialectic is falling apart, and trust in the system erodes. Dialectical vitality drains away and the only way to operate within the system is to become good at gaming it without any thought to larger issues. This is the purely predatory vulture attitude. If a legal system is full of vulture-lawyers and vulture-judges, it is a carcass.

A moral challenge for a lawyer might be, for instance, deciding whether or not to use race to his/her advantage in the jury selection process, effectively using legal processes to get racial discrimination working in his client’s favor. Should the lawyer use such tactics, morally speaking? It depends on whether the dialectic is slowly evolving towards managing race more thoughtfully or whether it is making racial polarization and discrimination worse.

This constant presence of the process itself in peripheral vision means that both lawyers and judges must have attitudes towards both the specific case and about the legal system in general. So an activist judge, for instance, might be judge-minded with respect to the case, but lawyer-minded with respect to the dialectic (i.e., being visibly partisan in their philosophy about if and how the system should evolve, and either being energetic or conservative in setting new precedents). You could call such a person a judge-lawyer.

A lawyer who writes legal thrillers on the side, with a dispassionate, apolitical eye on process evolution, might be called a lawyer-judge. A lawyer with political ambitions might be a lawyer-lawyer. I can’t think of a good archetype label for judge-judge, but I can imagine the type: an apolitical judge who is fair in individual cases and doesn’t try too hard to set precedents, but does so when necessary.

The x-(x’)-X-(X’) Template

Because of the existence of an evolving dialectic framing things, you really you have four possible types of legal professionals: lawyer-lawyers, judge-judges, lawyer-judges and judge-lawyers, where the first attitude is the (legally mandated and formal-role based) attitude towards a specific case, and the second is the (unregulated) political attitude towards the dialectic.

When the system is getting better all the time, all four roles are justifiable. But when it is gradually worsening beyond the point of no return, none of them is.  When things head permanently south, a mismatch between held and demonstrated beliefs is a case of bad faith. Since all hope for reform is lost the only rational responses are to abandon the system or be corrupt within it.

To get at the varieties of bad faith possible in a collapsing dialectic, you need to distinguish between held and demonstrated beliefs at both case and dialectic levels to identify the specific pattern.

So you might have constructs like lawyer-(judge)-lawyer-(lawyer).  This allows you to slice and dice various moral positions in a very fine-grained way. For example, I think a legalist in the sense that the term has been used in history, is somebody who adopts a lawyer-like role in a specific case within a dialectic that’s decaying and losing vitality, while knowing full well that it is decaying. Legalists help perpetuate a dying dialectic. You could represent this as lawyer-(judge)-judge-(lawyer).  I’ll let you parse that.

This is getting too meta even for me, so I’ll leave it to people who are better at abstractions to make sense of the possibilities here. I’ll just leave it at the abstract template expression I’ve made up: x-(x’)-X-(X’).

The special case of the law illuminates a broader divide in any sort of dialectical process. Some are full of judge-mind types. Others are full of lawyer-mind types.

The net behavior of a dialectic depends not just on the type of people within it, but on its boundary conditions: at the highest level of appeal, do judge-minds rule or lawyer-minds?

Within the judiciary, even though there are more lawyer minds, the boundary conditions are at the Supreme Court, where judge minds rule. So the dialectic overall is judge-minded due to the nature of its highest appeal process.

In other dialectics, things are different because the boundary conditions are different.

Governance Dialectics

The watershed intellectual difference that separates conservative (more lawyer-like) and liberal discourses (more judge-like) around a particular contentious subject is framed by the boundary conditions of the governance dialectic itself.

Politics exists within the dialectic that in principle subsumes all others: the governance dialectic. “In principle” because if the governance dialectic loses vitality, the subsumed dialectics can devour their parents.

You could argue that in a democracy where the legislative branch has the ability, in principle, to amend the constitution arbitrarily, the overall governance dialectic is one where the lawyer mind is the ultimate source of authority, since the top body is a bunch of formally lawyer-mind types. There are no judge-mind types with any real power, especially in parliamentary democracies. Nominally judicial roles like the Speaker are mostly procedural rather than substantive.

The theory of an independent judiciary does not in practice give judge-mind people equal authority. The check-and-balance powers of the judiciary are based on seeking to make the law more internally consistent rather than improving its intentions or governing values. Of course, if the legislative arm is slow in keeping up with the landscape being carved out by case law, the judiciary gains more de facto power. That’s a subsumed dialectic devouring its parent.

So in a democracy, lawyer-minds are structurally advantaged, since the most powerful institution is set up for lawyer minds. Bipartisanship (judge minds operating in a legislature) takes a special effort to go beyond the structural default through an act of imagination.

Among the other institutions in a free-market democracy, theoretically the judiciary, executive and free press are nominally judge-minded at their boundaries, while the market is lawyer-minded (more on that in a bit). So there is structural lawyer-mind bias in the top-level institutions (the legislature and the market) and a structural judge-mind bias in the secondary institutions (the judiciary, the press and the executive branch).

Traditional Imperial China was the opposite. The legal system ultimately derived its authority from a judge-mind figure, the Emperor. The lawyers were second-class citizens.

Other Dialectics

The notion of “free press” is currently being radically transformed due to the fundamental tension between journalism and blogging.

Journalism, at least nominally, is driven by a judge-mind dialectic. Journalists nominally aspire to a fair-and-balanced (without the Fox News scare quotes) role in society.

Blogging is driven by a lawyer-mind dialectic. Bloggers trust that the “truth will out” in some larger sense, and feel under no moral obligation to present or even see all sides of an issue. If the opposed side has no credible people, well, tough luck. The truth will just take a little longer to out. This gradual transformation of dialectical boundary conditions has been particularly clear in the various run-ins between Michael Arrington and newspapers like the Washington Post. This too is a case of a subsumed dialectic devouring its parent, since the government basically has no idea what its role in the new media world should be.

Science is another important dialectic. I won’t attempt to analyze it though, since it exists in a feedback loop with the rest of the universe, and is too complicated to treat here. Religion used to be dialectical in nature, but isn’t any more. But science is unimportant socially because it is very fragile, and in a world that is socially messy, it is easily killed. It never rules primarily because it takes a certain minimum amount of talent to participate in the scientific dialectic, which makes it similar to a minority dialectic.

Religion used to be a real dialectic. Now it is mostly theater in service of political dialectics.

Capitalism is another dialectic with the capacity to devour governance, just like the judiciary. But it is lawyer-like, not judge-like. The idea of a “fiduciary duty” to maximize shareholder wealth in the US is a lawyer-like duty towards society. The trend towards “social” businesses (B-corporations in the US) is an attempt to invent companies with more judge-like duties towards society. For the former to work, the market has to be closer to truly competitive, and getting better all the time. The invisible hand must be guided by an invisible and emergent judicial mind.

In an environment where pure competition has been greatly subverted, it is hard to justify this “fiduciary duty.” The rise of B-corporation philosophy, indicates a failure in the governance dialectic, since emergent judge-mind attitudes that should exist at the legislative level are being devolved to the corporate level.

In the US, the legislature has abdicated the spirit, if not the letter, of its responsibilities. Fiduciary duty may be a terrible idea, but the better solution would be to shift to a different, but still lawyer-mind model. This is because the market has a far lower capacity to manifest an emergent judge-mind. Since it is the governance dialectic that controls the nature and future of money, the principal coordination mechanism for the market, the market is ultimately subservient in principle, just like the judiciary.

Since the top-level emergent judge-mind requires a culture of bipartisan legislative imagination to exist, a legislative branch that cannot define imaginative visions on occasion enables a takeover by the structurally advantaged lawyer minds that comprise it, which leads to polarization and a power vacuum, which in turn leads to the devouring by nominally subsumed dialectics.

This is not an accident. By its very nature, you cannot structurally advantage judge-minds at the ultimate boundary of a social system. If you do, you are essentially legitimizing a sort of divine authority. The top level has to be lawyer-minds arguing by default, with an occasional lawyer gaining enough trust across the board to temporarily play judge.

Societies fail when their governance processes fail to demonstrate enough imagination for sufficiently long periods. We are living through such a period in the US today, as well as in many other parts of the world. Governance processes across the world have lost their vitality and there is a lot of devouring by dialectics it is supposed to subsume.

In the past during periods of such failure, violent adjustments have occurred. War is after all, the social dialectic of last resort.  Both world wars and the US Civil War represented such adjustments. In each case, the governance dialectic was revitalized, but at enormous cost in the short term.

Empathy and Passion

When you approach all reality with an intrinsic lawyer mind, you fundamentally believe that no matter how powerful your perspective-shifting abilities, you cannot adopt all relevant points of view. Not even all human points of view. With a judge-mind by contrast, your starting assumption is that you will eventually be able to appreciate all points of view in play. It is a somewhat arrogantly visionary perspective in that sense, and requires exhibition of a sufficient imagination to justify itself.

With a lawyer-mind for instance, if you are white, you don’t presume to understand the black point of view. With a judge-mind, you assume you can. Your emotions can also be lawyer-like (polarized passion) or judge-like (dispassionate).

If you are aware of, and unconflicted about, your role in a given dialectic, you don’t try to either suppress or amplify your emotions. You try to be mindful about how they influence your intellectual processes and control that influence if you think it is counter-productive. Up to a point, passion improves a lawyer mind and lack of passion improves a judge mind. Too much passion, and a lawyer-mind becomes emotionally compromised. Too little passion and a judge mind becomes apathetic. Both pathologies lead to procedural mistakes.

Passion cannot be conjured up out of nothing, nor can it be created or destroyed independently of intellectual reactions. So if you need more or less passion for your role, you have to either change your role via a true intellectual shift, or borrow or lend passion. This requires empathy.

Depending on whether the passion is on your side or the opposite side, empathy can make you more lawyer-minded or more judge-minded. Empathy for a friend makes you more lawyer-like. Empathy for a rival makes you more judge-like. This is how dialectics get more or less polarized. A dialectic with vitality can swing across this range more easily. One that lacks vitality gets locked into a preferred state.

So there is a sort of law of conservation of passion in a given situation, with passions of different polarities canceling out via cross-divide empathy, or reinforcing via same-side empathy.

There is a certain irreversability and asymmetry though. Judge-minds being fundamentally dispassionate cannot absorb passion and become lawyer-like as easily as lawyer-minds can absorb opposed passions and become more judge-like. This means judge-minds are more stable than lawyer-minds. To lower polarization, all the minds in a dialectic must mix more and let passions slosh and cancel out somewhat via empathy. This means breaking down boundaries and creating more human-to-human contact. To preserve or increase polarization on the other hand, artificial barriers must be created and maintained. Or you need a situation where material dialectics, like war and natural calamities, happen to be highly active.

This is fundamentally why the labels conservative and progressive mean what they do in politics.  This is also why conservatives are typically better organized institutionally. They have walls to maintain to prevent contamination of their lawyer minds.

And finally, this is also why the governance dialectic is structurally set up to advantage lawyer-minds at the highest levels: they need the structure more. It is up to judge-minds to transcend existing structures and imagine more structure into existence.

Knowing Your Place

With a lawyer mind in improving times, you conclude that your job is merely to do your absolute best with the perspectives you can access directly or via empathy, and trust larger processes to head in sane directions.

The lawyer mind is therefore an open system view that is more robust to unknown-unknowns. It trusts things it does not actually comprehend. It is intellectually conservative in that it knowingly limits itself. The judge mind is a closed system view that is less robust to unknown unknowns. It is intellectual ambitious in that it presumes to adopt a see-all/know-all stance. It does not trust what it cannot comprehend and is limited by what it can imagine.

Paradoxically, what makes a judge-mind closed is its capacity for imagination, while a lawyer-mind is open by virtue of its lack of imagination.  The ability to adopt many conflicting perspectives dispassionately fuels imaginative synthesis, but this synthesis then imprisons the judge mind. The reverse paradox holds for lawyer minds.

These paradoxes suggest that each type of mind contains the seed of the other, yin-yang style. I’ll leave you to figure out how. The fundamental delusion of a frozen judge-mind is the belief that this yin-yang state can exist in one mind all the time. The fundamental delusion of a frozen lawyer-mind is the belief that it never can.

In the Myers-Briggs system, where J(udging) and P(erceiving) represent what I’ve been calling the lawyer and judge mindsets respectively. Ironic that the labels are somewhat reversed.

Psychologically, I am a P (a fairly strong INTP), but intellectually, over the years I’ve become increasingly lawyer-minded rather than judge-minded. Perhaps it is the effect of blogging.  Perhaps it is a growing sense of the limits of my own abilities.

In terms of more artistic archetypes, the fox and hedgehog reflect lawyer and judge minds.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Vikram Hegde says

    I’d be a lawyer-lawyer who’s actually a lawyer. I don’t practice law at the moment as I’ve been trying to become a part of the administration of India. I agree with you about the lawyer having the upper hand in a democracy. My question is regarding a setup where a bureaucrat assists a elected minister. Here the bureaucrat makes some suggestion after processing the issue with a judge mind (ideally) however the minister who carries some sort of mandate is supposed to function as a lawyer. The situation from a courtroom where a lawyer presents a case to a judge who decides is reversed here where the judge presents to a lawyer. You’ve already identified the closed nature of the judge mind. In a scenario like this, is the bureaucrat a lawyer or a judge?

    Now the politician could either be a Jawaharlal Nehru (lawyer-judge as a Prime minister, a lawyer-lawyer in the courts before he became PM) or an Indira Gandhi (a lawyer-lawyer as a Prime Minister). I bill them thus based on the respect they had for the checks and balances. I think it is safe to say that the nature of the prime minster colors the nature of the legislature and the legislature too would fit these descriptions during their respective regimes. As you have mentioned, it is undesirable for a judge to be at the ultimate boundary of a social system. Could we say that it is also dangerous to have a lawyer lawyer at this ultimate boundary?

    How about voters in a democracy? Are they by default lawyers? or can an individual voter also be a judge? While the general expectation from voters is that they are lawyers, I think there are voters who are judges. I raise this point only to raise the larger question of whether collectives can be categorized as lawyers or judges and further whether this collective can have a character different from that of it’s constituents. Imagine a constituency which is full of voters who are individually judges with closed minds. The collective and especially their elected representative (if he/she is doing his/her job right) is a lawyer.

  2. Without undermining your meta-narrative, which I find stimulating and, at least with respect to myself, somewhat accurate (I am a lawyer with a lawyer-mind mindset); you oversimplify certain aspects of the lawyers’ roles in the adversarial process of criminal justice. Prosecutors are more truth-oriented than you surmise, particularly because they are ethically bound to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defendant whilst the defense attorney has no corresponding duty to disclose inculpatory evidence to the People (and indeed has an ethical duty to refrain from violating his or her client’s confidentiality in this respect). While the trial process is more likely to produce “truthiness” rather than truth, lawyers are ethically bound not to introduce evidence that they actually know to be (as opposed to suspect to be) false. You can omit certain truths but you cannot practice active deception. Also, case law forbids racial discrimination in jury selection. If more than one prospective juror of a particular race is excluded, it is fairly typical for one side to demand a hearing on the underlying rationale. In that situation, the lawyer who has excluded the person must give a racially neutral justification or the judge will either reseat the excluded person or eliminate the whole panel and begin jury selection anew. If an appellate court determines after the fact that racial discrimination tainted the jury selection process, the defendant will be granted a new trial. Finally, the influence of money on the success of criminal defense is not really focused so much on the quality of the lawyer (public defender versus retained attorney) representing the defendant, but the investigative resources that can be brought to bear to develop exculpatory evidence or hire very expensive expert witnesses. More money typically means more evidence of higher persuasive value. Public defenders’ investigative budgets are notoriously underfunded and overstrained.

    • I had that prosecution/defense asymmetry pointed out in one of the Quora answers, so that’s the reason I was careful to use the defense lawyer as the archetype. But yeah, the asymmetry weakens the argument somewhat.

      Things like racism in jury selection…. I tend to the cynical view that it just goes underground and good lawyers probably learn how to play the race card without it being provable that they are doing so. But if I am overly cynical, that’s probably a bad example of a moral conundrum for a lawyer. I can’t think of a good alternative example though.

      Illuminating point on the role of investigative budgets.

  3. It seems that you presuppose that judge-mind is a peer to lawyer-mind rather than (generally) a more advanced accomplishment (i.e. a higher hierarchical state). I’d counter that a well-developed judge-mind necessarily must progress through lawyer-mind as part of its development.

    My following argument is loosely argued from a Spiral Dynamics perspective: A judge-mind can downshift as necessary to lawyer-mind, but a lawyer-mind cannot upshift to a judge-mind unless the latter’s journey through lawyer-mind is nearing completion.

    In many ways, the entire legal system can be modeled as yellow (integrative) enlisting blues (authoritarian order) and greens (collective order) to run a system that functions under heavy red (power, fuck you) and orange (in it for the $$$) participation.

    When you say that “Religion used to be a real dialectic. Now it is mostly theater in service of political dialectics”, you’re correct. But you’re correct from where you (and I) sit. For the people most primarily enmeshed in such things, there never was and never will be such a distinction!

    In much the same vein, your assertion that “[…] science is unimportant [and] … [i]t never rules […] because it takes a certain minimum amount of talent to participate […]” is, in my opinion, flawed. Perhaps science is socially unimportant because it fails to communicate on wavelengths uncomfortable to it– wavelengths familiar to people that need mythic-level reassurance like “Jesus died so that your homo-erotic thoughts are forgiven”.

    In closing, I suppose I could draw an analogy to the “fail fast” tech fad. What better way to fail fast than to give the people with the most financial incentive to cause your system to fail (defense lawyers and defendents) maximum leeway and moral justification to bring it about. A societal “hack this… if you can” ??

  4. Venkat,
    Sounds like you’re presupposing an adversarial legal system vs an inquisitional one in your setup of the lawyer and judge roles?

  5. “This is not an accident. By its very nature, you cannot structurally advantage judge-minds at the ultimate boundary of a social system. If you do, you are essentially legitimizing a sort of divine authority. The top level has to be lawyer-minds arguing by default, with an occasional lawyer gaining enough trust across the board to temporarily play judge.”

    Ummm… divine right of kings? Is the past 600+ years of European history to be forgotten to cavalierly?

  6. Aren’t you, in your commentary, making judgements about whether or not a system is “getting better” or “getting worse”… Aren’t they just … ‘changing’?

    So by doing so – you are a ‘lawyer… ?

    • I think you’re missing the point.

      A person having an opinion about a system that they’ve dedicated their lives to (lawyers/judges), or a member of the general public having an opinion about a cornerstone of democratic society does not brand them a lawyer.

      • Well. It was a leading question actually….
        What I meant: aren’t you falling into your own definitions by making a judgement of the state of a system? And wouldn’t doing so predispose you to assuming your own perceptions are correct?

        (ignoring the roles at this point, it just seemed that the existence, definitions and balances of the roles pivots on the judgement of state of the system.)

        • To judge a system, you must judge a system, right? To perceive such a judgement as correct, you must believe in your perceptions, right?

          Let me ask you something: what’s the difference between Venkat’s nuanced and multi-perspective judgements / perceptions vs “lol fukin lawyers r scum fuk u ‘n ur gang membar fuk u all get death penelry”?

          Simply put, a multi-level, multi-perspective, empathetic judgment of a system is simply better than one lacking in any of these qualities. To claim otherwise is to reduce very high empathetic / judgemental / perceptive achievements onto the same playing field as “lol ur a fag”. That benefits no one.

          There are many avenues of attack on Venkat’s core arguments, and I attempted such with my 3/30/12 comment above, but I believe that this particular argument is a dead-end (although hopefully a dead-end that spawns more pointed arguments from you that I can argue with in the future).

  7. I like the framework–so let me give it a try…

    Judge mind is the precondition for ensuring that lawyer mind striving leads to improvement for the whole. The exception is in phases of failing governance, where judgement makes no attempt at living synthesis in the moment, but resurects syntheses past as a priori truths. In this case, the experimental vitality of the current dialectic is subsumed by an inferior synthetic position, reducing the lawyerly testing of persectives to a war of irreconcileable positions which no one can win.

    Without a creative playing field provided by an imaginative judiciary committed to preserving the spirit of the law, law is reduced to plays on the meaning of its letter, and judgement becomes a game of power.

    At this point, a society would seem to have two options. It can either seek recourse to an authoritarian judiciary, reducing judgement to truth and so escalating the conflict. Or it can invest in a new synthesis through an act of collective creativity an will.

    There is a current attraction in many countries to truth-based law and order governance over emergence through rules and process. We now need judges more than lawyers to preserve democracy. The dialectic would then be one between two kinds of judges, good government democrats and truth-seeking fundamentalists, with lawyers watching to see which playing field they will become active on.

  8. Poisoning the well of Dialectic Synthesis


    The collapse of good faith political dialog in America

    now in exile

    Political – vision – imagination – courage – leadership

  9. That’s interesting, so at first blush the judge mind is about seeking objectivity by stepping outside of your personal alliances and familiarities, similar to Rawls’ “veil of ignorance” that allows you to consider abstract justice, ethics in general etc.

    Whereas the lawyer mind is about zooming into specific sets of those alliances with maximum strategic and tactical skill, advocating for a specific position.

    But there’s more to it than that as you basically point out; the lawyer mind and judge minds implicitly recognise one another, and depend on each other symbiotically; so the lawyer relies on other people creating stability so that he cannot go too far in his advocacy, and the judge attempts to embody his ethics through other people’s fights of advocacy.

    Weirdly, in the pure case, both are actually offloading the job of ethics to each other, in that the judge cannot advocate for justice directly as he sees it (that would be more like lawyer mind) but must instead stabilise the process so that the lawyers can indirectly reach it via advocating for different sides; he has to seek moral progress through stability, and the lawyers have to base their normal ethical status quo of “doing a good job” on the stability of the court system while enforcing it by pushing as hard as he can in a specific direction.

    So they are not just alternate positions but symbiotic ones defined by their division of labour. Tidy!

    Interestingly, it seems that if you try to half-twist those categories, you can get another pair to describe another big part of the british democratic system:

    You have those people who seek continuity, stability, for the sake of their personal relationships and daily life, or for the sake of continuity, practicality and stability itself, and you have people who thoroughly advocate for justice, change and other ideals in an overly idealistic and impractical way, even though they may negatively effect them when the details are worked out.

    This can come out in an aggressive way with revolutionaries vs vested interests and their security apparatus, but it has at times also been represented by the houses of parliament on the one hand and the house of lords, and civil service on the other:
    Rather than holding to a constitution, people slowly push against a massive weight of traditions that embody the standard relationships and power differentials of the society, based on the manifestos and campaigns that got them into power. At the same time those with power work to point out flaws in specific pushes that particularly effect their own interests.

    The civil servants, lobbyists and house of lords need the “democratic legitimacy” of the parliament to keep their positions, the revolutionaries need the parliament to get their changes accepted by the vested interests, so both has an interest in perpetuating the structure.

    This division breaks down when the politicians start giving up on manifestos, and present themselves as managers, or tribal advocates, and so start to start to link their careers to being the advocate of a specific group rather than a specific program. Conversely, if the civil service or other parties get too on board with the program, or try to indirectly subvert it rather than explicitly slowing or adjusting it, they can lead to poorly thought out changes or sabotaged bills being pushed through.

    To put this back into lawyer/judge terms, the system of democratic campaigns encourages people to turn their specific advocacy of a cause into a generic set of principles and ethics, still pushed by the same enthusiasm but made to appeal to everyone/be generic etc. Depersonalised advocacy via the formalism of political platforms. Whereas the other people tie personal relationships to generic practical stability concerns by appearing as independent experts or specialists, they can happily talk about how it influences their own business because they are speaking as “practical people”, “voices of reason” etc.

  10. You hit on two concepts (I’ve quoted them below) that I instantly recognized from other avenues that I assume you are aware of: 1) those often afflicted with “analysis paralysis” are usually of the judge-mind (and sometimes because they are playing the role of the judge-lawyer)and 2) your statement about adopting conflicting perspectives is in concert with a quote often found on MyersBriggs results credited to F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
    “The ability to adopt many conflicting perspectives dispassionately fuels imaginative synthesis, but this synthesis then imprisons the judge mind. The reverse paradox holds for lawyer minds.

    These paradoxes suggest that each type of mind contains the seed of the other, yin-yang style. I’ll leave you to figure out how. The fundamental delusion of a frozen judge-mind is the belief that this yin-yang state can exist in one mind all the time.”

  11. I agree with IW.