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A Republic - If you can keep it.
March 3, 2014 3:34 PM   Subscribe


 
Lessig's doing good work and he is spot on about money in politics being the first issue. I wish more people were active around it. The problem it has is that, as a systemic issue, it's just not as emotive as economic or environmental issues. But of course, those issues cannot be solved until this issue is addressed.
posted by yoz420 at 5:38 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible.

I appreciate what Lessig is trying to do, and what he's advocating for, but this is utterly untrue and disingenuous, and its gross misrepresentation of what is actually happening makes me pessimistic.

I'm not even sure how smart it is as a purely instrumental/rational choice to be so utterly, undiscriminately centrist about something like this. Are moderates really the core constituency who will rise up and demand change?
posted by clockzero at 6:07 PM on March 3


>Are moderates really the core constituency who will rise up and demand change?

No, but it has to appear at least inoffensive to radicals or else there is no hope in hell it'll ever make it through the gridlock in the world we currently live in.

It has to be the safest, least objectionable issue ever and not look like the pet issue of a disaffected, communitarian coastal academic.
posted by pmv at 6:56 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Lessig's doing good work

ROFL. Good work like Eldred v. Ashcroft? He created an invincible precedent in favor of his opponents. With friends like Lessig, who needs enemies?
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:54 PM on March 3


Lessig's four solutions at the end of the book don't inspire confidence. Partially because he gives all of them a 10% chance or less of success. I would give them even less.

But even if that wasn't the case, calling a constitutional convention (his most favored idea, both in terms of attachment and estimated % of success) is a terrible idea. Yeah, maybe we need a new convention (and maybe a convention would be a good idea in the future), but what makes him think that the same corrupting forces that control the political process now won't also exert their influence on the forming of a new constitution? I don't want Goldman Sachs, Chevron, et al deciding whether the First Amendment gets the boot.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:33 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Eldred v. Ashcroft is on the supreme court not the lawyer who tried to point out that perpetual copyright terms are unconstitutional.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 10:49 PM on March 3


The guy's a talker, not an organizer. Talk is cheap. Thousands of people work hard every day to make this country more democratic, and they've been doing it way longer than Lessig's never-ending publicity tour. Every time he gives a talk, writes a book, or sends online petition spam, he's saying "fuck you" to real, on-the-ground, door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor, caravan-to-the-statehouse, actual organizers. I mean, a Ted Talk for one thing, and one that starts with an overly-complicated analogy for a simple reality that ordinary people can understand: "rich people control our elections." If his intended audience is Very Clever People, well hooray for him. But if he thinks he can make a difference with a majority of voters, or organize new voters, with this dog and pony show, then he should shut up and get out of the way. He's a self-promoter and a distraction.
posted by univac at 11:08 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I'm not even sure how smart it is as a purely instrumental/rational choice to be so utterly, undiscriminately centrist about something like this. Are moderates really the core constituency who will rise up and demand change?

It's not in the slightest bit centrist. He's saying the right are so untethered from reality that it's now impossible for them to make rational arguments.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:33 AM on March 4


Are moderates really the core constituency who will rise up and demand change?

The moderates are the ones who have largely given-up hope.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:25 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Eldred v. Ashcroft is on the supreme court not the lawyer

No. Lessig admitted he gave a bad argument that inadvertently supported the opposition.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:34 AM on March 4


Speaking of Lawrence: Lessig Wins Damages For Bogus YouTube Takedown
posted by homunculus at 9:27 PM on March 4


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