Albrechtsen plagiarises Goebbels

In today’s “The Australian” (2 November 2005) Dr. Janet Albrechtsen makes comments about judges and the anti-terror laws that are very similar to those made by Dr. Josef Goebbels in a speech in 1942 as he tried to stamp-out any remaining judicial independence.

Albrechtsen writes: “It is curious that so many seem to assume that judges make better policy choices than elected representatives. That judges, lawyers and legal academics hold that view is hardly shocking news. After all, law students are trained from their first day at law school to treat judges and their decisions with reverence.”

“Unburdened by that myopic world-view, the rest of us have a sneaking suspicion that outside their narrow areas of technical expertise, judges’ egos outstrip their ability. ….judges are out of touch with what the rest of us think is the right balance between individual rights and national security.”

Goebbels, as related by H. W. Koch (“In the Name of the Volk”) put a similar view:

“Since its very beginning, he (Goebbels) said, the judiciary had been the object of public criticism. Even today, judicial decisions were criticised and dismissed as alien to the spirit of the people.”

“What was at stake here was something fundamental, that is to say the wrong attitude of some judges who were unable to liberate themselves from old patterns of thought. The blame for that, Goebbels told his audience, lay to a considerable extent in the wrong conceptual training received by German law students at German universities. It was an essentially one-sided education and later, when they were judges, they lived their enclosed professional lives without any real contact with the outside world. In short, judges possessed too little practical experience of life. However, decisions felt to be alien to the people had a particularly bad effect during wartime, so everything would have to be done to bring about a change ….”