Neil deGrasse Tyson on Why Lawyers Shouldn't Be in Congress

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson: You know what my concern is about Congress? I checked these numbers: 57% of the Senate, 38% of the House cite "law" as their profession. And, when you look at law, law is … well what happens in the courtroom? It doesn't go to what's right, it goes to who argues best. And there's this urge, the entire profession is founded on who the best arguers are.
  • Maher: Right, a courtroom is not about the truth, it's about … the theory, if I get what you're saying, is that each side argue their version and then the truth somehow emerges.
  • Tyson: That's the *premise*; however, the practice, which, for example, is bred in debating teams, for example, where you know the subject, but you don't know which side you're going to be put on to argue. And so the act of arguing, and not agreeing, seems to be fundamental to that profession, and Congress is half that profession. And I realized this when I was a kid. I was 12 and I said, "I wonder what profession all these Senators and Congressmen were." Law, law, law, law, businessman, law, law. And I said, "There's no scientists? Where are the engineers? Where's the rest of life represented?" And so when I look at the conflicts, the argumentative conflicts, I just sit back and say, ya know, "Can I buy an engineer, please? Or scientist?" Put somebody … a businessman … a business person, who knows how to make a hard but significant financial decision because at the end of the day they've got to make their books work. I'm screaming, I'm sorry.