• Stephen Andrews

    Another idea — only somewhat tongue in cheek — given the popularity of NASCAR, how about all politicians having to wear the banners of those companies/industries that give them donations. Any received by individuals that is below a certain limit does not need to be acknowledged, but the value of corporate and lobbyist gifts and services (including flights, etc.) is tallied and then designated by patches and banners that have to be worn while the politician serves in any official capacity — the largest donor goes on the hat, the next, on a disc on the chest, etc.

    So when a politician opposes regulating the drug industry, they have to do it while wearing a Pfizer hat and wearing a jacket emblazoned with “Lilly” on it.

    If campaign donations and cash are free speech, then the donors should be happy that their “voice” is going out as clearly as possible.

  • Dave

    First and foremost, eliminate the ability to attach rider bills. This forces people to vote for the bill (or not) instead of making every bill a negotiating point. This has worked in some states and should be applied to the federal government. While it won’t stop the “I’ll scratch your back” effect, it will put more of it in the open as people won’t be able to hide their vote behind a rider.

  • JN

    Full public financing of campaigns is absolutely vital.

    Any other reforms will likely engender more loopholes & more labyrinthine systems of kickbacks.

    It’s eminently worthwhile to pay taxes to fund democracy.

  • http://dubiousgeorge.net/w/ Christiano Seppala

    My proposal would be to limit campaign contributions to individual citizens only, and exclude corporations, unions, PACs and the like. Instead each citizen gets an account from the federal government of x dollars per year/election cycle. Say it is $100. The total of these accounts is the sum total of money which can be used by campaigns and candidates.

    The citizen can earmark a portion of this account to go to whatever party or candidate they choose. For example, thirty bucks to my presidential hopeful, ten to my senatorial candidate, and so forth.

    What I think this would achieve would be that the politicians would begin to pander not to the deep pockets, but to the the needs of the citizen body. With no debts to special interests, they would not be as constrained to produce legislation good only for their contributors.

    I am sure there must be lots of holes in my idea, but I wanted to contribute something while I am between contract gigs, as I never seem to get around to it otherwise!

  • EN

    The only problem with your idea, Christiano is that corporations are recognized by the government as people. After the Civil War blacks could sue to be recognized as people instead of property. Corporations went to court to have their entities known as people under that same law and have all the rights of a citizen forthwith. From that point on a corporation was legally recognized as a person.

    A disturbing account of what a corporation is can be found in the selfsame movie “The Corporation”. The book the movie is based on is fascinating too.

  • http://www.cpeterso.com Chris Peterson

    * Wikipedia for Legislation: make all proposed legislation available online as version-controlled documents create a “paper” trail of which legislators add loopholes and mysterious riders. Plus this gives internet users a chance to watch their opponents changes for said loopholes and alert their representatives before the legislation is voted on.

    * Public financing of campaigns will just ossify the existing two-party political environment. If the government finances all campaigns, they control who gets money and how and when. That is, the Republicans and Democrats currently in office will now hold the purse strings of their opponents campaign budgets! Third-party candidates will never make any progress..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407325626 Maria

      Viking, that is very sensible aprpaoch,if you can avoid then it is better to stay away from bribes. I haven’t had here too many business transactions beside personal issue (buying house etc) and i have always avoided any payments whatsoever. My experience says that for normal person (except hospitals) you can avoid bribes if you don’t expect special treatment. My impression also after talking to people who do serious business here is that they are pretty common in certain situations, although the amounts actually are smaller (mostly) than are standard practise in countries that are not even far away (especially towards south west). Personally biggest surprise was one major english speaking continent where the amounts were signficant indeed. Seeing same people publicly comdemning bribes while sending you their fees was quite an experience.

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  • Ross

    Generally I’m opposed to capital punishment, due to my lack of trust in the fairness and accuracy of our justice system.
    However, I’m willing to make an exception for POLITICIANS.
    Let’s try public executions of those politicians convicted of accepting banned or illegal money, those meeting with lobbyists and who block disclosure of their activities together(hello Mr. Chaney, are you listening?).
    That would get their attention as nothing else seems to have.

    just a thought

  • Bob

    If we could have a Democracy (as in people being involved in the information they use to evaluate their political choices, independance of medias from power intrests) instead of the puppet democracy we have (goes for all current democracies), campaigns would be seen as a historical oddity which mixed politics with advertising.

    Democracy should be a way to mesure public consensus. Non-violent politics sound reasonable to any of you ?
    Until we take the power games out of politics we”re just bickering about how we want to be rapped.

    bob

  • http://www.pirate-party.us Andrew Norton

    Perhaps one of the easiest reductions to corruption of the political process, is based upon a closer examination of the role of the politicians. The role of a politician is to represent their constituency, to their elected body. Therefore, contributions have to come from their constituants.

    Congressmen already don’t respond to emails from people not in their district, so why should money be any different?

  • Todd K

    IMO, efforts to make government un-corruptible will ultimately not work because they fail address the root cause of the problem. Trying to keep officials from trading on their power and influence is futile- we need to drastically reduce the amount of power and influence government officials have. If bureaucrats don’t have the power to trade- if it is not easy to create laws and spend government funds, they won’t be able to do much harm and corporations and other special interest groups won’t come a’knockin’ on their doors in the first place.

    Another great benefit to reducing governmental power is that it will result in attracting better public servants. Presently high government offices are positions of considerable power which one can abuse to enrich oneself. Thus isn’t no great surprise that these positions attract those that seek considerable power which they can use to enrich themselves. By reducing government power we change the job description from ‘power broker’ to ‘public servant’ and will attract those that seek such a position.

  • Steve Unger

    Some good ideas above. I particularly like the JN suggestion for full public financing of campaigns, and the Christiano Seppala proposal to limit campaign contributions to individual citizens only, and exclude corporations, unions, PACs and the like.

    Both might implemented. I don’t think there would be any constitutional problem in excluding contributions from corporations. Just because corporations have been recognized as people for some purposes, doesn’t mean that they can’t be distinguished from people in other respects. This is done in the case of a number of laws. For example, corporations are treated differently from people with respect to tax laws.

    Public financing of election campaigns does not mean that government officials are given the power to decide who gets funded. This can be built into the law, by awarding campaign funds to every candidate who meets certain basic requirements such as receiving some number of small contributions from members of the public. This is what is done in Arizona and Maine. I have written about this issue at:
    http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~unger/articles/campFin.html

  • Greg NZ

    there is some interesting things happening here in New Zealand around campaign finance – have a read of “The Hollow Men” by Nicky Hager (maybe try Amazon or fishpond.co.nz for a copy). Currently there are numerous discussions on reforming political finance laws, including whether to have state funding or not. If you are interested then you can email me and I will provide as many materials as I can.

  • jake3_14

    The root of corruption lies with those who have the power, and in modern capitalist societies, that’s corporations. To corral corporations, you must first revoke their legal status as persons. Then legislate that the senior officers of a company, as well as the board of directors are personally liable for the actions of the company. Finally, re-write the laws concerning the obligations of the publicly-held corporation. Current corporate capitalize inverts the obligations that a corporation has to society. A corporation’s loyalties should be as follows:

    1. Its customers, since serving them is the only valid reason for being in business.
    2. Its employees, since a company without workers can’t function.
    3. The communities in which the corporation operates, since they give rise to its employees.
    4. The physical environment of those communities, because communities suffer when they are toxified and degraded.
    5. Its debtholders, since they provide the company with working capital to run the operations of the business.
    6. Its shareholders, who are nothing more than gamblers in the casino of the stock market.

    A lot of political problems will disappear once we do this.

  • lucychili
  • D.Stafford

    We have this wonderful thing called the internet. It could easily allow direct democracy for MANY elections. Once proper securities are put in place to allow only 1 vote per person (poor can go to free internet access at public libraries) we can directly vote for individual bills, no riders allowed. Weekly votes can be held. Getting the power away from ‘government’ and discouraging 3rd party spending will increase the effeciency of our government, and allow better informed purchases to be made.

  • Slampal

    A constitutional amendment that states: “Only the Supreme Court of the United States may render legal decisions that may be considered precendent over decisions made by all the lower courts”.

    That might clear some things up.

    Otherwise, and along the way, the lower courts have all been making up the rules. Get rid of stare decisis. Please.

    Follow that up with a mandatory 2% of the Federal Budget assigned to funding campaign finance. All comers get an equal share – whatever that amounts to be.

    As far as “corporate giving” to campaigns, you cannot limit that ability of the corporation to finance campaigns until you remove the corporation’s rights as a person under the Constitution. I believe that decision CAN be reversed if some court should suddenly decide that campaigns don’t need all that money (unlikely). Again, we end up with a Constitutional remedy. The SCOTUS will NOT reverse the ‘juristic person’ status of a corporation – I’m not certain that many courts have eliminated the corporation as a ‘natural person’ beyond not having freedom of religion (not that the argument has ever come up). So…

    The amendment might read “Entities legally protected by the Constitution include private persons individually but not collectively, except where collective rights are previously provided and protected” (Such as the right to peacefully assemble)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407325158 Santyahh

      Its a great idea, coupled with acitve refusal to give/encourage any form of bribes…it may be possible to see some change atleast when the younger generation take on the mantle…If there is a March in my town, I’d definitely take part…

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  • W.S. Beck

    First, read The Cheating Culture by David Callahan. Maybe he has some ideas on the subject of corruption in politics.

    Bills coming from congress must be about ONE thing and should be named in plain English, not in Orwellian doublespeak. I know this will be thought of as naiive — legislation is like sausage, yada yada–but how are we supposed to know what someone really voted for or against if we don’t have a clear up and down vote on clear issues.

    We should have an easy-to-read MATRIX (online and off) with candiates, employment/accomplishment histories, votes by issues, lsit of references, etc.) that can be fact checked and added to by the candidate (to respond). Most importantly, it will be organized in a way that most people can understand and if bills are clean, we will have a better idea of what the candidate really has done and will most likely do in the future.

    The FCC must make our networks be responsible. Most of campaign money goes into advertising; do nothing about this and you’ve done nothing to reform campaign finance. The airwaves are supposedly owned by the people. The FCC should mandate so many hours of informative advertising/debates. The British (BBC) have a 6-week campaign season with free ads on the BBC during that time.

    I like the idea, mentioned previously, of only individuals being able to donate. Companies and organizations with purposely confusing names can obscure matters. If we have public funding, each individual can have x amount of dollars to contribute.

    If this won’t fly, perhaps a blind trust, with anyone being able to contribute anything to a blind trust for a candidate.

    Banking secrecy, fiscal paradises, etc. must be dealt with if we are to truly deal with corruption.

    Hope this helps.

  • Bart Preecs

    Congratulations for your shift of emphasis, Prof. Lessig. It takes a humble person to recognize that the gifts and tools they bring to a problem may not be the right tools or approaches for a particular problem.

    I strongly endorse your conclusion: the problems facing our democracy are NOT legal or technological, they are entirely political. The mess we’re in today is not the result of inexorable market forces or overpowering new technologies. The mess is a result of bad choices, made in our names, over several decades. What bad choices have created, good choices can undo.

    The good news is that much of the research and studying you’ve done re copyright and intellectual property will be useful in solving the problems of democracy. Copyright and fair use is one of 6 key issues areas in which decisions could be made – need to be made – that might restore the health of democratic self government.

  • http://www.queenofsuburbia.com Queen of Suburbia

    For me the types of corruption that are more prevalent and potentially more undemocratic are those that truly hit the average person in the street. Try “price fixing” in most “mature” markets.

  • http://www.opensecrets.org Patrick Sweeney

    Stephen Andrews,
    See OpenSecrets.

    Dave,
    I know riders get abused, but are they always abusive? Couldn’t the power of a line-item veto accomplish the same thing, while only targetting the points of abuse?

    JN,
    Why not restore the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting. Would public financing eliminate 3rd-party advertising? There is a First Amendment issue, even though we all know how the powers that be have co-opted and corrupted this loophole to create “independent” groups to broadcast their message.

    EN,
    Plessy v. ferguson and other bad decisions. It is crap, but it is the law.

    Bob,
    We have a republic, not a democracy – unless you live in a town in Massachusetts and you go to town meetings. It is an important distinction. Do not confuse the U.S. system of government as laid out in the Costitution with a democracy.

    D. Stafford,
    You are my kind of radical. Given the available technologies is a republic still the way to go – how about true transparency and democracy? OK – too radical, and it will never happen. However, it does pretty succinctly address issues of cronyism, campaign finance, and other common abuses of the current system.

    I’ll read through the rest and maybe post more later.

  • poptones

    Fighting corruption sounds noble but the realities are much less concrete than most seem to make it sound. Example: Who won the last presidential election? Why? We had an unpopular president, a vp most considered corrupt even then and yet somehow that administration managed to get re-elected. Is that just because they had so much money?

    If you cut off the money from one head the hydra will just grow another. Ahnuld ran a strong anti-corruption campaign about how up front everything was going to be and yet a non-profit corporation pays for most of his high falutin’ travel. And guess who donates to that non-profit?

    I used to like the idea of mandating network access by the candidates during election cycles, but the reality of that would just be the same as the campaign matching funds is now – if you don’t get at least this much of the vote (and the parties in power get to decide how much) then you don’t qualify – no access. It doesn’t solve anything, really, since the networks and affiliates already are free to donate as much time as they wish.

    How many people actually vote in elections? And how many of those have actually done any research?

    The greatest corruption, as I see it, is the apathy and ignorance that permeates our culture. We need children who are taught history and our constitution from a patriotic view rather than a corporate one. Most young folks I know seem to believe the government has the right to censor speech, search homes and do pretty much everything else this administration says it can do. Do they even teach the bill of rights to kids past the 5th grade in this country?

  • Kevin

    I find Poptones comment especially resonant. I am a student currently and am continually amazed at the rights and liberties surrendered by my peers. The irony is quaint: Conservative ideology would have citizens surrender their rights and liberties to the federal government and strengthen it immensely.

    Teaching a “patriotic” history, however quixotic the term, is a noble idea. This nation was founded on an extreme mistrust of large government and its powers. Its ideological origins were ones of revolt (Thank you Bernard Bailyn). The founders’ are undoubtedly rolling in their graves as they see young people hand their hard-earned rights to the federal government.

    Teaching that we can continue into our future with the vigilance shown by the founders of this nation would be an excellent corner stone to an approach to modern American politics for my generation.

  • jhhdk

    While many suggestions are excellent it’s worth remembering that this is a global problem and as such I’d focus less on specific solutions to USA democrazy.
    That being said bhere are my suggestions, some of which I beleive may also only apply to USA:
    - Figure out how to make people comitted to politics again.
    - Make voting mandatory
    - Make descition making process completely transparrent, except maybe defence, security and foreign policy (can’t have other side knowing what we’re up to before we kill, catch or meet them).
    - Ban polical TV commercials.
    - Fund campaigns exclusively based on votes in last election or signatures, but using a logaritmic scale.
    - Require full finacial disclosure from anyone seeking to meet with elected official or candidate. Can’t have cooperations pretending to be groups of concerned citizens.
    - Ban voting for idiots by idiots (didn’t say i have to be consistent did you?)
    - Give public service media sufficient funding to make proper journalism possible while preventing undue influence from goverment (funding also awarded to stations on logaritic scale but according to viewers and readers instead of voters).
    - Once power has been handed back to the people, try to figure out how to prevent “Rule by uninformed majority at the expense of minorities”.

  • EMD

    Laws eliminating contributions from other than individuals are of dubious constitutionality. I advocate taking a page from the approach that Yale Law School professors Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres wrote about in their book, “Voting with Dollars: A New Paradigm for Campaign Finance.” They propose an anonymous campaign contribution system where a donor contributes money through a govt agency (e.g., FEC), which passes the contribution to the candidate without revealing the donor’s name or affiliation. (I’m ambivalent about their proposal that the govt provide a $50 voucher which the contributor could earmark).

    Although a donor would be free to tell a candidate he/she has made a contribution, the candidate would, presumably, be somewhat skeptical of such a claim because there would be no way to confirm the truth of the claim.

  • ron b

    I suspect that most followers of Mr. Lessig (and thus most contributors to this discussion) tend to be somewhat liberal in their view of the world. (As am I). But it would seem that even the most staunch conservatives would like to see an end to corruption, at least theoretically. So I’m wondering if there is a good forum out there that is populated by intelligent conservatives (yes, it’s hard not to make a snide comment here – please resist :-) where this same discussion thread might be instituted as well. It would be interesting to compare and contrast the suggestions and see where the overlap exists.

    On to specifics, I do love EMD’s note about having campaign contributions be anonymized. Not only does it seem to address a significant problem with how much influence special-interests can wield, it also seems like it might be considered sensible enough by the majority to actually be something that has a chance of being implemented.

  • http://www.arkansawyer.com/wordpress/ John A Arkansawyer (the artist formerly known as adamsj)

    Dick Durbin has a clue. Who can talk with his staff about applying the appropriate technology to implement his idea?

    • http://www.bing.com/ Latoya

      It’s good to get a fresh way of loonkig at it.

  • Botter reeves

    Vast improvement in the quality of legislation could be had by requiring that each bill presented to the legislators (both houses) for consideration be written in ink on plain white paper by the legislator presenting the bill. No computers, no staff writers, just the guy we elected and his very own hand, pen, and ink. That ought to put paid to the huge bills that no one can possibly have the time or inclination to read and understand in entirety.

  • http://www.mertner.com/morten Morten Mertner

    I’d also recommend reading Steven D. Levitt’s Freakonomics – it has some powerful insights on cause and effect in modern society. Although not a book on corruption in itself, somehow it seems related as the book touches upon the darker sides of human nature.

  • Wendy

    Dear Prof. Lessig:I’m currently working defense on a case where the police seized a password-protected laptop from a 19 yr old college student’s bedroom. The ct granted the Motion to suppress the computer as evidence. Gov’t has appealed that.
    The initial search was based on the third-party consent exception to the 4th Amendment’s privacy protections. Unlike the recently decided Andrus case, wherein a 91 yr old father’s consent to search his 50 yr old son’s room and computer, our case is very distinguishable. The computer is not the instrumentality of the crime (ie, not child porn or fraud or anything else). The computer is only in her room, in her parent’s home because she’s home from college for the summer. Prior to the search, the girl was hospitalized where she remained DURING the search. Ostensibly, her parent gave consent to search.

    What effect? It seems to me that the Motion should be upheld as a violation of the adult child’s right to privacy. Police admitted at the suppression hearing that the open laptop was “in sleep mode” when they seized it and that they weren’t even aware the computer contained a password. I assume that username and password requirements had prevented them from accessing any information therein; or perhaps somewhere off=site otherwise used newer technology to circumvent any password barriers. It seems to me that a new laptop would have username/password protections at log-on; and all email programs require same. Blogs likewise. How is it possible that this girl has no manifested privacy, or that society would not recognize a right to privacy, here?

    What do you think? Is it just as I suspect bad policing? or is it a trend? Most, if not all case law I find on the issue of passwords and 4th Amendment, recognize a privacy right but refuse to suppress anyway. (True, most–in most, if not all cases, the computer is an instrumentality of the crime—child porn, ebay fraud, hacking, identity theft.

    i believe this case will be crucial in outlining the 4th Amendment as it applies to home computers. what do you think about everything? Am I simply making too many assumptions about password protections and society’s recognition of this as a reasonable expression of privacy rights? Not to mention potential spoilation of evidence issues. Authentication issues. this could go on forever. I would welcome your advice re: any of the foregoing issues.

  • Bob Calder

    Corruption related story:
    Ludwig De Braeckeleer, a physicist, has posted a story about his research into the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 claiming that intelligence agents of the CIA had infiltrated Wikipedia. If this is true, it is obvious that Wikipedia’s critics are afraid of the wrong people. *chuckle* Of course there is the non-issue side of the coin since this is not particularly surprising.
    http://gaiapost.blogspot.com/2007/07/wikipedia-and-intelligence-services.html

    Anyone who knows the universal success of Wikipedia will immediately grasp the importance of the issue. The fact that most Internet search engines, such as Google, give Wikipedia articles top ranking only raises the stakes to a higher level.
    While researching my next article about the Lockerbie bombing, I witnessed an incident that made me wonder whether intelligence agents had infiltrated Wikipedia. . . .
    According to clues accumulated by ordinary citizens around the world, it could be that the CIA and other intelligence agencies are riding the information wave and planting disinformation on Wikipedia. If so, tens of thousands of innocent and unwitting citizens around the world are translating and propagating their lies, providing these agencies with a universal news network.

    The interaction of Daniel Brandt’s organization with Wikipedia is particularly instructive as it illustrates collective intelligence success between communities that have tension between them.

  • http://www.opengeek.org Doug Dingus

    Been thinking about what is corruption. I’m not shy about saying I am really looking forward to this topic seeing the Lessig treatment! I learned so much about law, tech and people from your CODE efforts. Here’s to a great ride.

    So far, I’ve broken it down to process corruption (where our existing process encourages unfavorable legislation), authority corruption (where not everyone is willing to accept the rule of law), finally corruption in reasoning. (compartmentalization)

    Example of process corruption:

    This was mentioned above –sort of: not having Single Subject Legislation. (SSL)

    Not enforcing SSL is an enabler. (for corruption)

    Right now, it’s difficult to both set and manage expectations. Debates do not have boundaries and are not valid because they are influenced by matters outside the scope of the subject at hand. I believe this is part of what will become defined as corruption here in these circles.

    For a given subject matter, point at hand, etc…

    There are arguments and they have elements that all add up to some measure of validity. As those involved engage the process, points are made, taken, set off the table, etc… until some consensus is reached. In this, we then have a decision.

    If all points are treated equally and rationally, the idea of checks and balances then more or less forces the decision to be defensible, as all parties must see their valid points considered. This is true, unless we have a significant percentage of people not willing to be rational, for whatever reason. I don’t know what that percentage is, only that it is a factor.

    Allowing riders changes the game. Once the decision involves matters outside it’s sane scope, we then no longer treat points or people equally and it’s highly likely to also involve being non-rational as well.

    This is obviously simplistic, but adequate for my purpose here.

    eg:

    Bob brings point to the floor that more or less nullifies the point Joe made earlier. Some rational discussion leads to Bob taking the point in his favor, thus building toward the consensus in a rational way. Joe then realizes he left with acceptance, or some work to better support his point of view.

    A non-rational Joe would explore other options, such as smearing Bob to impact his point for those foolish enough to entertain those kinds of things. Let’s assume that Joe is rational for the moment.

    The end result of these kinds of deliberations is highly likely to be defensible overall, thus the people will see it as “fair” and or “just”.

    Now, let’s say Joe knows this is coming, but does not want to accept his position. He can lobby for a rider that will impact Bob significantly. Perhaps this is something very valuable to Bob, or damaging, it really does not matter. What does matter is that Bob now has a strong incentive to NOT bring his winning point to the table, leaving the deliberations imbalanced and the potential to arrive at a non-defensible consensus then becomes reality.

    Clearly a non-rational Joe would explore these things, along with other attacks on Bob, or those that support Bob, in an attempt to sway the discussion his way, regardless of merit.

    However, a completely rational Joe would still be likely to entertain riders because the process allows for it. IMHO, this is a process corruption. A rational Joe would not attack Bob, but would work to influence Bob. If said influence lies outside the scope of discussion, and is permitted, that is process corruption.

    The end result of this is that EVERYTHING ends up being political. Who you know, what you have and who supports you trumps all.

    Said rider could also lie within the scope of the subject being deliberated. While it’s impact on the rational balance of the deliberations is the same, it being within the scope, really just manifests itself as a means to make arguments. I don’t see this as a problem, to be clear.

    How can this behavior be justified?

    That leads to authority corruption:

    The US is setup essentially so that the rule of law is the highest authority where power of the government over the people is concerned. We are all free to abide by our own personal highest authority, however we must respect the rule of law, particularly where our decisions and actions can impact others ability to make their decisions and actions freely.

    Authority corruption is where the rule of law is treated as an arbitrary thing. The laws are fine, so long as they reinforce whatever personal authority happens to govern. Thinking like this means the law is a tool to be leveraged toward specific goals –a simple control scheme.

    eg: (I don’t mean to offend)

    Let’s say Joe’s personal highest authority says that acting a specific way, or doing a specific thing is not approved. (evil, bad, a sin, etc…) There is no rational support for this idea, only some construct Joe considers authoritative.

    Joe then, can ignore the law, rules of engagement, however he sees fit as these are mere constructs of man and therefore only serve his authority. Attaching a damaging rider, attacking the other person, manupulating means, methods and processes are all on the table as far as Joe is concerned. These actions are defensible because his authority says they are defensible, and he knows a lot of other people consider his personal authority to be the highest one, just as he does.

    This leads to corruption in reasoning:

    Essentially this is confusing conviction with truth. If one accepts one or more beliefs as truth, and one of the core ideas that compose said belief require denial of our general ignorance in these matters as a race, one then ends up in a position where truth is an arbitrary thing.

    On the other hand, if one accepts one or more beliefs as truth, and is convinced of this, but also remains aware of this being a personal choice where others may differ, the matter of conviction is clearly differentiated from that which is known to be true.

    Engaging in the former requires one to compartmentalize ones reasoning, thus making that which we know to be rational an arbitrary thing. Put very simply, it is essentially like saying, “This is true because I think it’s true.”, which is circular.

    This then is a fallacy and false on matters of form alone. Accepting a fallacy as part of ones body of core truths then makes one unable to reason rationally, and therefore unable to contribute to the process in a just and true fashion.

    Again, very simplistic, but thought provoking, which was my point.

    Looking forward to seeing how this all goes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407334699 Billy

    excellent, Bob. grab a cold one as my way of saying conargts . here’s to many more years of B&R, enlightening discussion, boneheads and other things of the day, and a general increase in fan base. what has it felt like to still be creating an amazing legacy?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407354588 Lilia

    That cannot be Hitler, Hitler was the leeadr and starter of Nazism but when the U. S. Army came to his house (where he was living) Hitler didn’t want to be persecuted so Hitler either shot himself, his wife and kids or he hung himself just. I guess you should brush up on your World War II history.. Hitler could not be in this movie because he died at his place where he lived at that time. If it were to be Hitler then they must be fighting in Germany.

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