[W]ould the world be a better place if we had less lawyers and more writers?
I’m not persuaded that it would be. At the very least, we need half our lawyers to keep the other half busy. (According to the old joke, the only lawyer in a one-horse town was almost starving to death until a second one hung out his shingle.) And do we already have enough writers? “Everywhere I go, I’m asked if the universities stifle writers,” said Flannery O’Connor. “My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.”
What we do need, I think, are people skilled with the pen (or the keyboard), but who don’t necessarily think of themselves as writers. (In other words, someone like me, except with talent.) One of the happier byproducts of this whole blogging thing is that people are getting the sort of drill they used to get in English comp. Over the course of twenty-two years online, my style has gone from “well-nigh unreadable” to “not especially sucky,” which is more of an improvement than you’d think. I am not much of a storyteller I’m certainly not in Sya’s league but I do have some small facility for the short, pointed sub-essay.
Then again, my eyes glazeth over within mere seconds of cracking a law book.