October 27, 2005  ·  Lessig

I’ve just arrived in Munich, on my way to Slovenia to launch CC Slovenia. Al Gore was on the flight. The plane was not configured to have a First Class (only Business Class) but they apparently had set aside a private part of the plane where he (and I believe his son) were seated.

Last week I remarked on the oddness to me of the Norwegian democracy, where the leader stood in line at a bakery. (Ok, not the monarchy, but the government). This week I feel the oddness the other way round. It felt out of place for a man like Gore to be on an ordinary Lufthansa flight. It didn’t seem appropriate. Again, for no good democratic reason — the man’s a citizen; he’s going about a citizen’s life. But for some reason, it didn’t feel right to me.

Not a pretty recognition for a democrat (small d). Maybe it’s just me. Maybe not. Or maybe it is just the melencholy of regret that being reminded of this man produces. Imagine the world if… Or don’t. That is too depressing.

October 21, 2005  ·  Lessig

I’m about to leave Norway for the second time. This trip was a bit different from the last. I spoke at a conference sponsored by the Network for IT Research and Competence in Education (ITU). The government in Norway has recently changed, and there’s lots of work being done to get some good thinking about matters digital.

Norway is an extraordinarily beautiful country, filled with brilliantly tri-lingual and warm people. Yet each time I travel out of the country these days, my thoughts are more brought back home than on the place I am. One cab driver had emigrated from Pakistan. He raged with anger at our “self-defeating” war. In another conversation, one of my hosts remarked that he lived in the same neighborhood as the Prime Minister, and would often see him answering questions as he “waited in line at the bakery.”

It’s hard to imagine a world where national leaders stand in line to buy bread. It’s not hard to see why such leadership would be so different from our own. There’s a perspective that our leaders cannot have. Sadly, as it is a perspective that would return an essential wisdom to these high offices.