Richard Posner, moreover, is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a law professor at the University of Chicago who turns out books and articles with annoying frequency and facility. Surely, under deadline pressure, he is tempted every now and then to resort to a little clipping and pasting, especially since he cuts members of his own profession a good deal of slack on the plagiarism issue. In the book he readily acknowledges that judges publish opinions all the time that are in fact written by their clerks, but he excuses the practice on the ground that everyone knows about it and therefore no one is harmed.Is ghostwriting plagiarism? The clerks are ghostwriters. It's true everyone knows about it, but that doesn't mean it's not bad.
Anyway, in "The Little Book of Plagiarism," Posner seems to give judges a pass. But then he's hard on the professors who are soft on plagiarism (by other professors). The reason: Politics! All those lefties in academia:
[T]he left, which dominates the professoriate these days, is soft on plagiarism because the left is uncomfortable with ideas of individual creativity and ownership. (Surprisingly, he fails to take a whack at French theorists like Barthes and Foucault, who argued that in the strictest sense there is no such thing as an “author,” because all writing is collaborative and produced by a kind of cultural collective.)Academic lefties don't preen over their own creativity and fawn over the creativity of writers they admire? I haven't read the book -- it's not even out until the 16th -- but it seems to me that professors are soft on plagiarizing professors because they feel a natural sympathy toward one of their own.