February 21, 2008

"Draft Lessig" reasons

With "Draft Lessig" in full swing, to advocate for Larry Lessig running for Congress, I find myself in the uncommon position of being on the side of the crowd, yet for rather distinct reasons. Note there's no ambition on my part, as since I live on the other side of the country, I'm not ever going to be something like, e.g., special legislative aide in charge of DMCA-fighting. I'm not going to ask people to idealistically believe that I would be immune from being bought. But rather, in full cynicism, observe that there's nothing at realistic price levels which could even reach the status of an attractive offer.

That being said, consider: For many months, I've been commenting and even writing a column to Lawrence Lessig on "corruption", in sum, stay away from the data-miners and digital-sharecroppers, the conference-clubbers, the whole collection of hypsters and hucksters and marketers who operate via exploitative bubble-blowing. Instead, reality-check, subject theories to rigorous testing, and talk to people who deal with problems on ground level. So now Lessig considers a run for Congress. THIS IS GOOD (for him). It's the ultimate real-world test.

I've seen both Richard Bennett and Gabe Wachob" make cogent arguments that Lessig wouldn't be the best possible choice for elective office, not being especially suited for politics, and his opponent is a better choice for the district on the merits. But I think there's merit in Lessig making his case in a campaign, even if the other side proves correct.

Which bring me to Shelley Powers point:

Which then leads us back to the whole Change Congress platform. Here we're talking about an organization populated by neophytes who got a hankering to "change Congress", without once considering that some of most important changes must occur at the local and state level, and in the executive branch, as well as Congress. Populated by people who seem to think that all one needs is a weblog, the right social network (and associated tools), and a leader who is wired.

And nothing puts that to the test that like an actual election. Which is why I think it's a good idea to try and see what happens.

[Update - All academic now (pun unintended), since Lessig has decided not to run]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in politics | on February 21, 2008 09:53 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Seth, I meant to post a response to your prior Lessig entry but couldn't (the comments box seemed to be missing) so I ended-up posting it to the entry before that an explaining. I just wanted to make sure you are aware of it. D.

Posted by: Delia at February 22, 2008 12:55 PM

Sorry, I had to close that comment-box because spammers kept hitting that article (the spam-programs seem to focus on specific articles for various reasons).

Sure, there's a "cult-of-personality". But that's part of politics. In fact, that aspect is partially what this post is about - basically, saying that I see that persoality cult aspect, but I think Lessig's run is still a good idea.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at February 22, 2008 01:59 PM

I see that kind of non-sense as dangerous no matter *where* it pops-up but a particularly bad fit for politics and academia.


P.S. I lost respect for people like Lessig when I saw what having someone bankroll an "academic based advocacy center" did to academic freedom at Harvard. (I don't think this sort of thing should be allowed at all -- it's completely incompatible with academic principles) Sounds ludicrous to hear *him* talk about corruption of all things... D.

Posted by: Delia at February 22, 2008 04:56 PM