Reflections on a Career in Retirement from Bill Lockhart

Sep 14, 2011 | Stegner Center

[Preface:  This was to be a “reflection” on my 47-years at the College of Law.  The following may qualify by “reflecting” the driving concerns of those years in a Mitty-like prospectus on a satisfying retirement.]

No paychecks have recently arrived, so my new “Emeritus” title is confirmed:  the University has officially “retired” me.  Typically, that demands reveling in newly-liberated fantasies of bikinis (or not) on beaches in Goa or Cancun, or less titillating philosophical gaping at Galapagos tortoises and iguanas. But any pleasure in these presumptive pursuits continues to be sapped by the blathering of voluntarily-ignorant or soulless politicians and their PR allies—lackeys  whose constant sloganeering and pimping for unregulated “growth” promotes escalating eco-destruction —  while the world literally, burns.   So, deferring other retirement fantasies, and with apologies for the simplicity of my goals, my preferred fantasy – and hope –is to shed my Clark Kent garb and take on the following three simple tasks.

(1) Broaden my understanding by applying my knowledge of India’s environmental law to help strengthen environmental protection in that country while raising doubt about its single-minded commitment to “growth.”

(2)  Directly challenge the received wisdom that US and expanding global populations must accept serf-like fealty to policies promoting continuous economic “growth” with its unsustainable expansion of resource demands, inevitable cycles of boom and bust employment, and disregard of greenhouse gas emissions. Generate foundations for  — perhaps even legal concepts for  – economic and environmental policies supporting “steady state” national and world economies that yield more equitable and sustainable distribution of resource use, employment and wealth.

(3) Support these efforts by promoting a movement for “honesty in rationale.” Demand that all policy makers, particularly judges, admit their own policy agendas — or lack of larger vision. Promote recognition of the need for results to be grounded in acknowledged broader insights and policies compatible with constitutional values and liberation of the human spirit.

That’s it for this retirement. One can’t do everything, after all. And despite their retiree promoter, there might be hope some students could see this as practice for a life.