“There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.” Lawrence Lessig
Lessig’s talk is snappy, hard-hitting, and make a compelling case that no matter what you think the most important issue is, you’re just not going to get it until this problem is addressed. Like many pundits, Lessig feels a need to decorate his speech with a bit of “both sides do it” (in this case, saying that real small government Republicans are also losers because the system provides little incentive for politicians to let go of the levers that give them some power over the money men) without owning up to the fact that the left (otherwise known as the positions, economic well-being, and security of a large majority of Americans) takes the brunt of the damage in this rich get richer system. Why is there no pressure from the right for this kind of reform? Because the system as it is rewards the right.
Even so, Lessig’s arguments are entertaining, his facts sobering, and his ultimate position—that this problem is far from insurmountable—is cheering. Being told you’re living in an ex-republic is not fun, but the path back to democracy might not be as stony as those who benefit from the current system want you to think.