When I took International Law at Virginia, it turned out to be a course not about law but about the legal methodology of Myres McDougal. I hated it. No, I mean I hated it. Incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. So imagine my amusement when I ran across this tidbit in Henry Manne's oral history:
I went [to Yale Law School on a post-graduate fellowship] and discovered a man named Myres McDougal, who was one of the more famous law professors of the era. He and Harold Lasswell, the famous political scientist, had devised a schemata for using the social sciences to approach law. It was called Law, Science, and Policy. All graduate students were required to immerse themselves in this, if you’ll pardon me, garbage. I say “garbage” because I think there’s only one rigorous social science and that’s economics, and Law, Science, and Policy had no economics in it whatsoever. What they thought they were doing, I don’t know. Today there are no remnants of it around.
Henry's a lot smarter than I am (I take solace in the fact that he's a lot smarter than pretty much everybody), so if Henry thought it was garbage I find myself in the best of company.
Update: Tony Arend responds in his typically civil and intelligent manner, concluding that:
So, while I don’t recommend McDougal and Lasswell as bedtime reading, I do find their work to have continuing relevance in international law. But if you have not read any of their writings, I recommend beginning with John Norton Moore’s “Prolegomenon to the Jurisprudence of Myres McDougal and Harold Lasswell.” It is the Rossetta Stone for their work!