August 29, 2012  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Tumblr

Joseph writes to ask me to stay root-focused: 


Recently, a friend chided me for being overly concerned with the issue of corruption in Congress and in the Executive branch of our government while ignoring the other important issues confronting our country. He’s forgotten, perhaps the issues on the need for generating more wealth in the private sector, on useful stimulus vs. wasting money, on taxing the rich, and on the increasing burden of our debt and its inevitable consequences. But he’s right in one respect: I do believe that corruption is the biggest elephant in the room. Further, I believe that until this elephant is put down, we have no reason to expect other problems to be resolved in the interest of the American people. So here’s my response:

Dear Friend,

In the early days of logging in New England, trees were cut in the winter as snow was necessary for transporting logs to the edges of rivers and streams where they would be piled up to await the spring floods. At that time, the logs were pushed into the water to be floated downstream to mills and ports.

Along the way, there were numerous narrow spots, at which men were posted with pikes so as to assist the logs through. In spite of their efforts, logjams occurred, and it became the duty of the foreman to locate the KEY log and remove it with a pike. Loggers knew that to move other logs was worse than pointless because more logs would continue to pile up in the jam until the KEY log was removed. When the foreman was successful, he had to run for his life across moving logs. When he failed, dynamite had to be used (and no, they did not use Chinese for this work—a tidbit of history)

All the best,


As an optimist, and Rootstriker, I fantasize about what will happen when Lawrence Lessig and others are successful, and we get rid of government by special interests. As a realist, I wonder what life will be like if we don’t, and how can my children, grandchildren, and all those I care about, preserve a decent quality of life?

Meanwhile, go to the poles, but do not vote for candidates of either party for national office, to do so would merely validate the system, and the pols and special interests will continue to have their way with us (never change a winning game). Fill in a real name, or leave it blank. And staying home is not an option, doing so adds power to the special interests in a perverse way.

Ben Franklin, when asked whether we had a republic, or a monarchy, replied,

“A republic, if you can keep it.”

August 4, 2012  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Tumblr

There may be a way to neutralize Citizens United without amending the Constitution. I missed the chance to describe it last month when I testified before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, though explained it in a followup letter to Senator Blumenthal. Representative John Dingell (D-MI) (an anti-copyright-term-extension hero from way back) apparently didn’t miss it, and has now introduced a bill that coud do it. I explain how in my latest post for The Atlantic