Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Lessig For Congress?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the played-by-jimmy-stewart dept.

Government 137

luge writes "With the unfortunate passing of Congressman Tom Lantos, parts of Silicon Valley and San Francisco will be holding a special election in June to send a replacement to Congress. Given the area, it would be great to have someone who is both tech- and policy-aware fill the seat — and it looks like that just might happen. Lawrence Lessig has apparently bought 'change-congress.com.' A 'Draft Lessig' group is forming on Facebook, featuring some of Lessig's old co-workers at Harvard and Jimmy Wales, among others. No word from Lessig himself yet, but he's been increasingly vocal about politics of late. If it happens, it would be a huge step forward for the representation of technology in Washington."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Real chance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22434652)

I doubt he'd be electable in a state which contains a large percentage (if not the largest) of content providers.

Re:Real chance? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434794)

I doubt he'd be electable in a state which contains a large percentage (if not the largest) of content providers.

Perhaps not in the Senate, but this is the House, and he's a Bay Area resident. We have a few little companies here that are full of employees who feel pretty strongly about rational technology law; you know, Google, Apple, Yahoo, and about seventy-three thousand startups. House elections are local.

Re:Real chance? (2, Interesting)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434918)

Google and Yahoo, perhaps, but methinks that Steve Jobs' position at Disney could be a real influence on Apple.

Re:Real chance? (2, Funny)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435234)

Google and Yahoo, perhaps, but methinks that Steve Jobs' position at Disney could be a real influence on Apple.

Haha - well noted. I actually originally composed my post to say "companies that feel strongly about rational technology law." Then realized the mistake and changed it to employees. :)

Re:Real chance? (1)

Banzai042 (948220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434864)

Maybe, but if the demographics of the area are more in the tech field then the increasing efforts by the MPAA/RIAA to limit the internet could actually help him.

Re:Real chance? (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434878)

He doesn't need to be elected by the whole state, just his district. That particular district covers a big chunk of Silicon Valley, which may be the one place a candidate like that actually could get elected.

Re:Real chance? (3, Informative)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434946)

So then what happens when the rest of the state, or the nation for that matter, votes against what he votes for? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Congress has a significant amount of bad apples.

Re:Real chance? (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434986)

I didn't say he would be effective in Congress, just that he could get elected to Congress. One person championing Creative Commons in a room of 434 other people in the pocket of the industry lobbyists probably won't have much effect at all unless he can build up enough seniority to get on (and chair) the right committees.

Re:Real chance? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435024)

Well, at least he'll be an effective counter to Howard Berman.

Berman may be promoted off the subcommittee... (2, Interesting)

irenaeous (898337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436216)

... on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property on account of this unfortunate event. See this article [arstechnica.com] . Getting him off and getting Lessing on this committee, even as a junior Congressman could have a huge effect in getting good legislation to the floor of Congress that is currently blocked.

Re:Real chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22437956)

Better one then none.

Re:Real chance? (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436520)

This is probably a stupid question as I live on the other side of the country and have only been to CA once, but do the majority of people that work in Silicon Valley actually live there? It's probably a misconception but I've always been under the impression that A) the traffic is horrible out there, B) everyone commutes and C) it's really chock full o' businesses. I don't really know how residential (vs. industrial / commercial) that area is.

Not Silicon Valley (2, Informative)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437650)

And I'm not even being pedantic here. The 12th district is on the northern part of the peninsula.

Congressman Mike Honda [house.gov] is the representative for most of "Silicon Valley" which includes San Jose, Santa Clara, and Cupertino -- the 15th District.

Now, if you want to cover Google and Stanford, then that's the 14th District -- which includes Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Redwood City -- and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo [house.gov] is very much alive. :)

Silicon Valley is well represented already.

Re:Real chance? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22435122)

I'd say elect Bill Gates.
Just coming up with bribes large enough to get his attention would bankrupt
the RIAA, MPAA, and similar mob enterprises.

Already bribed (1)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436126)

You're kidding, right?

They have a *lot* of leverage to use for bribes. "Say, you want all the top-40 crap exclusively on MS-Windows Live? That's easy. Just make sure all equipment must have DRM built-in."

It's already happening. That's why Microsoft is so willing to add end-to-end DRM to MS-Windows.

I know you are just making a joke, but the joke's on us. Gates already has more influence via Microsoft than all the government regulation in the computer industry combined.

Re:Real chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22436816)

They would just find a way to bribe him with the publics money...

Re:Real chance? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436862)

It really didn't take that much. Bill Gates got a handslap on monopoly charges for the low, low price of $6 million in contributions. Very depressing :(

Re:Real chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22438542)

TBH I think Bill Gates would generally be fair-minded...except when it comes to tech corporations.

He's not a bad person in terms of his ethics outside of business, but in terms of defending his legacy (Microsoft), I don't see him as ever becoming anything near objective. He subscribes to the philosophy of winning at all costs...which is simply unethical. Obviously it's easy to come up with worse scenarios, but the question that too often fails to be asked is - what would it require to overthrow Microsoft? Considering the level of their establishment, a better product would not be sufficient...is that a free market? Oh, it needs to be better, but also compatible. How are you doing on compatibility? How can a competitor reasonably make their product compatible?

If the market would truly be competitive, past successes would have a rather limited role in future successes. If you reward the currently strongest player with a sufficiently strong hold on the market, you're discouraging meaningful competition. There should be a reasonably low barrier of entry for competition....

Re:Real chance? (3, Insightful)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435958)

I doubt he'd be electable in a state which contains a large percentage (if not the largest) of content providers.

I disagree. He is strongly anti-piracy, and has the support of major content providers with his Creative Commons initiative. The copyright reforms he seeks to implement are geared mainly towards removing the legal barrier towards creating fair-use derivative works of content and facilitating amateur content creation. This may not be a savory notion for the big studios, but it is not a life-or-death burden on their business models, either.

Re:Real chance? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436082)

Exactly. Lessig is no friend of file-sharers. He wants to preserve copyright on the books, even though the pandora's box of the digital era is already open. I would have more respect for him if he were arguing for total abolition of copyright, considering that it is a fairly recent notion, and much of the world's great art and literature was produced when content makers made no demands on being able to get paid for copies of their works.

Nonsense (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436198)

He argued against infinite copyright in front of the supreme court, against BigMedia's interest.

Nah too many vote (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436582)

There will be too many votes against him from Steamboat Willie ^h^h^h^h^h^h^hMikey Mouse.

ESR For Congress! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434662)

Or maybe Perens? Nah, he's not wingnutty enough for politics.

Re:ESR For Congress! (3, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434988)

Have you seen some of ESR's antics? Kudos to him for co-founding the OSI, but he's not the kind of person I'd like to see representing my district (assuming I lived in Silicon Valley of course).

I'd vote against him (1, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434672)

If only for what he, himself says is the greatest failure of his career. Interestingly, it isn't covered in the Wikipedia article about Lessig. But you can blame his lack of skill on the rediculously long copyright terms the music labels enjoy, as the SCOTUS said that "limited" means whatever Congress says it means.

I hope I'm not trashing the wrong lawyer...

Re:I'd vote against him (3, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434776)

That was over 10 years ago. What makes you think that he didn't learn form that?

Re:I'd vote against him (2, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436124)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eldred_v._Ashcroft [wikipedia.org]

Umm, no. That was 2002. Not even close to ten years ago.

But I agree, kind of a ridiculous criticism. Hindsight is 20/20, and all that.

Re:I'd vote against him (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434904)

I'd rather vote for a guy that stood up for what I believe in and failed rather than someone who stood up for something I'm against and succeeded.

Re:I'd vote against him (1)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440756)

Personally, I would rather vote for BOTH of the people you mention then vote for someone who believed in nothing.

Re:I'd vote against him (5, Insightful)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435334)

That's some good thinking there, tiger. Let's not vote for the guy who tried to change US copyright law on a shoe-string budget against the wishes of the biggest and richest corporations in America. Is it at least possible that the things he learned going through that could help him to be succesful next time? Or do you win all your SCOTUS cases first time? What's that? You've never fought a case against corruption at the level of the supreme court? You've never even fought any court cases against corruption?

I don't mean to sound like a fanboy, but Lessig has proven that he's willing to fight for the things I (and likely you, this being Slashdot and all) actually care about, and you slag him because he didn't win his supreme court case! Unbelievable.

Re:I'd vote against him (1)

Lugae (88858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439258)

In Free Culture, he talks about the Eldred case, and he admits what he did wrong and what he should have done instead. To me, that says that he has the ability to learn from his mistakes. Does the person that would run against him have that ability? At least with him, we know that he does. Also, he committed a long time to the copyright issue, and I'd say that he definitely has our best interests at heart there, as opposed to whom? Just my two cents.

Copyright or corruption as his platform? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434682)

IIRC, Lessig recently made anti-corruption be his struggle, rather than restoring copyright to something reasonable. On which goal(s) would he focus? I think legislators are often forced to sacrifice one ideal for another during the legislative process.

Both (2, Informative)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434844)

My take on his recent switch in area of concentration was that he realized that we can't improve copyright until we take care of corruption.

Re:Copyright or corruption as his platform? (4, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434890)

Unreasonable copyright and denial of intellectual freedom for the sake of corporate profit is a form of corruption in my book.

Re:Copyright or corruption as his platform? (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437196)

In his book, too. He acknowledges that his copyright struggle was really a subset of the scope of his new Lessig 2.0 corruption struggle.

Does he realize what he'd have to do on corruption (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435428)

A large part of the problem with corruption is the red tape that the corrupt can hide behind. What we need is a sort of "root" user for one or two agencies that can essentially violate any law or policy inside the government, short of the constitution itself, to root out corruption. I'd suggest greatly expanding the size and scope of the Offices of the Inspector General, such that when an IG agent steps foot inside of a federal agency, they are more terrifying that Tomas De Torquemada to those with something to hide.

When the agents of the IG get probable cause to investigate, I'd suggest that they have the following police powers internal to the federal government, that go well above and beyond anything regular police can do:

1) An IG agent, in their federal department, has automatic root access to all compartmentalized information.
2) No federal employee can refuse to speak with an IG agent. Refusal to do so is grounds to be blacklisted from ever working for the federal government or on a government contract.
3) Each director of an Inspector General's office is appointed for at least 3 presidential elections, and cannot be removed except by impeachment.
4) The IG is in no way legally accountable to the President, and can willfully disobey even legal orders from the President.
5) Refusal to give an IG agent satisfactory answers to any question is automatic criminal guilt of obstruction of justice.

I like it, in theory (1)

danaris (525051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436482)

Sounds like an Imperial Auditor [wikipedia.org] to me...

We definitely need some people with this kind of mandate and power, provided there are enough checks on said power to prevent it being used for Evil instead of Good...

Dan Aris

Re:Does he realize what he'd have to do on corrupt (4, Insightful)

oojimaflib (1077261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436606)

A large part of the problem with corruption is the red tape that the corrupt can hide behind. What we need is a sort of "root" user for one or two agencies that can essentially violate any law or policy inside the government, short of the constitution itself, to root out corruption.
Yes. That's what's needed. The Spanish Inquisition. Capital idea.

Re:Does he realize what he'd have to do on corrupt (2, Insightful)

DeVilla (4563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437316)

Congratulations. You've invented a new power broker! How long do you think it would take for the position to get politicized? Think about it. You would could ask anyone anything and they have to answer. You could gain access to political plans. Leak info at inconvenient times. Get phone records for calls to non-spouses. Make it look like someone isn't being completely honest and you've effectively kicked them out of federal government and politics. Not that any of this is bad because no-one should have anything to hide. And of course we can count on the IG not to be corrupt. It's just everyone else in Washington who is corrupt. Boy, I bet McCarthy would have loved this job.

Re:Does he realize what he'd have to do on corrupt (2, Funny)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437480)

Nobody expects the OFFICES OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL! Our chief weapon is root access. Root access and non-possibility of non-cooperation... Our TWO chief weapons are root access, non-possibility of non-cooperation, and 12-year terms THREE! Our three main weapons are root access, non-possibility of non-cooperation, 12-year terms, and no accountability... Our four... Among our chief weaponry are such diverse elements as root access, non-possibility of non-cooperation, 12-year terms, no accountability to the executive, and automatic criminal guilt of obstruction.. of.. justice... I'll come in again.

Re:Does he realize what he'd have to do on corrupt (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437866)

6) hope like hell that you've hired someone absolutely un-corruptible, with a perfect moral compass.....

Re:Does he realize what he'd have to do on corrupt (1)

LeoHat (415705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439726)

Didn't the FBI use something very similar to this to go after Al Capone. They called it The Untouchables [wikipedia.org] . It was led by a guy named Eliot Ness [wikipedia.org] . He was pretty successfull.

There ARE honest people in Goverment. Find them, give them the authority, and turn them loose.

Re:Copyright or corruption as his platform? (1)

monomania (595068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436644)

I'd always thought he'd make a terrific SC Justice, and some years experience as a legislator -- specializing in issues of Copyright, piracy, and technology law -- might be a good career path in that regard, brining him out of the "shadows" -- insofar as he is in the shadows from the perspective of the political establishment. I have a feeling though, that as a venue for his skills, interests, and prodigious abilities, only SCOTUS would be truly satisfying.

Re:Copyright or corruption as his platform? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437144)

He didnt change anything. The problem with reforming copyright is that you cant get legislatures to do this because they depend on big companies for their re-election donations. Thus the best way to fix this and a slew of other issues is to continue to reform donation laws so the big companies can't dictate to the legislature what to do by pulling the purse-strings.

Re:Copyright or corruption as his platform? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440364)

I think I remember reading that he turned toward anti-corruption because he saw it as a sort of root problem that spawned the crazy set of copyright law America is trying to force the rest of the world to accept (resist, EU parliament! resist !). So I would say that as a congressman he would try to address the biggest problem he perceives he can tackle.

An OK choice, but I have an idea for someone else. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22434684)

How about Scott McNealy?

Re:An OK choice, but I have an idea for someone el (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435176)

He wasn't that into the whole FOSS scene. His replacement seems to be much better attuned to the finer points of freedom.

Founder of Creative Commons (4, Informative)

cs02rm0 (654673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434686)

and board member at EFF apparently.

I'd never heard of him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Lessig [wikipedia.org]

Re:Founder of Creative Commons (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434748)

I received a copy of "Free Culture" when I subscribed to the FSF. Very interesting read. This man seems to have some very good ideas, and knows quite a bit about copyright and derivatives. I'd vote for him if I could :)

Re:Founder of Creative Commons (2, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434812)

Quite unusual, considering that the FSF is at odds with Creative Commons, specifically their NonCommercial and NoDerivatives licenses.

Re:Founder of Creative Commons (1, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434762)

I was tempted to say, "you must be new here". But that certainly isn't the case, given your ID - you've been a member at least a few years. Then, I was tempted to say, "you must not come here often". But 141 comments (mediocre though it may be) is a counter indicator to that as well. Thus, I have settled on one of two possibilities; either you have YRO posts at -5, or you don't RTFAs. Lessig comes up all the time here - or at least, he did until he switched "causes" away from copyrights. Anyway, not knowing who he is isn't necessarily bad; I'm just shocked.

Re:Founder of Creative Commons (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435302)

Lessig comes up all the time here - or at least, he did until he switched "causes" away from copyrights.

Not so. He was pretty clear about the fact that he feels copyright is a symptom, and the corruption disease must be tackled in order to advance rational copyright law which balances the needs of creators and consumers. He has not turned his back on copyright reform, but taken what he sees as the only viable path to the goal.

Re:Founder of Creative Commons (2)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435766)

Lessig is (was?) a featured writer in Wired Magazine. He is a brilliant supporter of free culture, and has a lot of foresight towards the future in a very-RMS way.

Anybody unfamiliar with his ideas would do good to read more [lessig.org]

What Congress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22434700)

The story poster has obviously been living in a spider-hole for the last several years.

The legislative and judicial branches have been merged in the executive branch (a.k.a President-VICE [whitehouse.org]
Richard B. Cheney ) .

I hope this helps the arrest; trial; conviction and sentencing of these WAR CRIMINALS.

PatRIOTically,
K. Trout

Best of a bad bunch? (1, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434736)

He doesn't sound like the most ideal candidate, but then what politician ever is?

Man who communicates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22435248)

I had a little correspondence with Mr. Lessig before and was impressed. He seems to be a person who actively is seeking the truth of matters in our society. I would vote for him without doubt.

Obama + Lessig = Win (5, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434780)

I'm leaning toward Obama a bit for President. This is mostly because when he drafted his tech policy, instead of talking to some exec at AT&T, he talked to Lessig[1]. I find this admirable.

In the potential future where Lessig runs and wins, and Obama wins, we'd have two more Slashdot Moral Values-friendly politicians in office. Of course, there's already people like Dick Boucher of Virginia.

[1] Of course, who knows how committed Obama is to his tech platform, and/or how much he'd have to compromise to appease the Congresscritters who've been bought by the telecom and copyright cartels.

Re:Obama + Lessig = Win (4, Interesting)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434880)

At least he has a tech platform. Every other candidate I've come across who's still in the race doesn't seem to have anything planned for the digital realm, other than the standard "no wiretapping without a warrant" promise of some candidates.

Re:Obama + Lessig = Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22437570)

Considering how often the government manages to screw it up when they get involved, I think "nothing planned for the digital realm" sounds like a *really awesome idea*.

It's mind-blowing, after all we've seen in the past 10 years, that 'more government involvement would be good, if only we had the right president' is still a viable position for anybody to take.

"Slasdot Moral Values" ???! (0, Flamebait)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435788)

In the potential future where Lessig runs and wins, and Obama wins, we'd have two more Slashdot Moral Values-friendly politicians in office.

Wow.

Oxymoron-O-Meter just pinned Eleven.

Not to mention the "Hive Mind Group Think" litmus test, which just burst into flames.

Listen, if you think everyone at slashdot (or everyone in the Tech Industry) is an Obama/Lessig fan, you've got too many people on your ignore list.

You'll probably get a pass here on slashdot, but I recommend you not try this again on a forum where the majority of members are old enough to vote.

Re:Obama + Lessig = Win (1)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436770)

Even better, Lessig should work for Obama AS HEAD OF THE FCC!

Re:Obama + Lessig = Win (1)

kir (583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22438354)

[1] Of course, who knows how committed Obama is to his tech platform. . .

Or any platform for that matter. He speaks in nothing but poetic platitudes. What DOES he really stand for? It sounds nice and really fires up a crowd, but, IMHO, there's nothing there yet. It'll be interesting if he gets the nomination. He'll actually have to drop the poetry and start explaining his "change."

Obama Supporter (4, Informative)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434828)

FEC.gov shows he donated the maximum allowance to Barack Obama's campaign. Just FYI :) .

Re:Obama Supporter (2, Informative)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437236)

Not to mention writing a blog post [lessig.org] explicitly endorsing Obama and uploading a twenty-minute video [youtube.com] to the same effect. But, uh, good sleuthing I guess.

Re:Obama Supporter (1)

asobala (563713) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440048)

No shit, Sherlock [lessig.org] .

Intellectuals in politics (4, Interesting)

routerl (976394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434838)

Let me preface this comment by saying I am not an American, but an observer of American politics and culture. It is a sad testament to the strength of anti-intellectualist tendencies in American culture that American politicians tend to have little academic expertise on the issues pertaining to the policies they espouse (e.g. Ted Stevens' "internet = series of tubes"). The benefit provided by academic expertise is not simply the number of degrees one acquires, but dialogical engagement with other experts who dedicate themselves to finding fault in arguments (via journals, conferences, etc). Thus, the arguments presented by an academic to the general public may well be bastardized (because simplified) versions of the arguments they would present within academia, but we (the public) can assure ourselves that those arguments could be elucidated in ways that stand up to some level of harsh criticism. To put one's faith in the honesty of a politician whose views and arguments arose in an academic setting, then, is a better bet than putting one's faith in the honesty of a politician who may only be concerned with rhetorically covering up his/her true influences (e.g. pressure by lobbyists or campaign contributions). Lessig for congress is, in my eyes, a good move regardless of how much/little I may agree with him politically. This is simply because the development of his views and arguments is well documented in his books and articles, and with reference to an academic context which is accessible to anyone interested in putting the time into investigating it. As I see it, this would be a move towards transparency in government, which is a prerequisite for true democracy.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

pigiron (104729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434980)

"internet = series of tubes" I like that simile! BTW, who is Ted Stevens?

Re:Intellectuals in politics (4, Insightful)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435026)

Well, behind all the used-car salesmen and small-town accident attorneys is a fairly capable and educated bureaucracy. The fact is that if the people doing the driving are incompetent enough to only do what's most popular, you are getting the will of the people. The problem is that the PEOPLE are stupid. So, in times when the political institution is particularly weak, the bureaucracy takes over (such as after 9/11), and they have all sorts of plans to control the media, and vicariously the politicians (since they only do what's most popular).

Proof of this is readily available when you look at documentation of the CIA's activities in the early 60's. That is what happens when you give a bureaucracy carte blanc and no oversight. They invaded a country. Of course, 9/11 had some of the same effects as nuclear cold war--it instilled fear in the public, which means they are apt to press their politicians to give up power in favor of the bureaucracy. Thus we have wiretapping, prison camps, torture, etc, all existing outside of the normal decision-making process. The worst part is that the bureaucracy is run by the president. He's the chief executive and the president of all the departments and sub-departments of the bureaucracy. Congress can only make the laws that govern this body, and the judicial can only rule when a suit is brought. Thus, they have unlimited power until they get caught.

Heady stuff, no wonder people want to be president so badly.

I agree, however, that having some intelligence in the Congress would provide some leadership to the people who need it most. The problem is, all the stupid people wouldn't like him and he'd be voted out. People seem to prefer people who think at their own level, apparently.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435052)

(e.g. Ted Stevens' "internet = series of tubes")

Why does everyone pick on him for this bit of his comment? It's the only bit that actually makes sense. A series of tubes is a perfectly good analogy for the internet. It is essentially a series of interconnected conduits, and if one of them gets clogged up it will slow down the whole system.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22436900)

Because it was obvious that he was just regurgitating a lot of disconnected analogies that had been fed to him by a staffer or (more likely) a lobbyist. He had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

Watch the video, I'm sure YouTube would have it if you searched for "Ted Stevens tubes".

Re:Intellectuals in politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22437332)

It's a way to get back at Al-Gore critics for constantly bringing up the "I created the internet" (paraphrased) comment.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

Hoch (603322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22437804)

You must be new here.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439140)

"Someone on my staff sent me an Internet" would be been a better line to harp on.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (2, Interesting)

taskiss (94652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435102)

It doesn't take knowledge of technology to represent your constituency so I have NO idea why you feel "academic expertise" is relevant. There are technical advisers for that sort of thing, and it's the people skills to select a knowledgeable and honest adviser that are the skills needed to hold political office.

Honesty isn't We have enough folks that engage in "dialogical engagement with other experts" and the greatest contribution that provides is hot carbon dioxide - and this is something you feel we need more of?

I'll tell you what - YOU vote for Lessig... oh, wait! You're not eligible!

Next?

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

taskiss (94652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435138)

That should have read "Honesty isn't a trait reserved for academics.", but my dog ate my homework.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22436084)

to represent your constituency
The point of Congress was to elect people who would serve the country by working in the best interest of the country.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. ...
The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. ...
The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.
--Federalist #10

Remarkably, everything warned against in that paper has come to pass since the Americans forgot that distinction of a Republic:

A rage for paper money [end of any monetary standard], for an abolition of debts [bankruptcy bailouts], for an equal division of property [income taxes, social security, etc], or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it

There are technical advisers for that sort of thing
So let us cut out the middle men, and place the people who know what they're doing, and who we believe are personally competent in power, rather than hoping that the incompetent we elect will surround themselves with competent advisers.

Intents of the Republic aside, even if you say "represent your constituency", what better to represent a technologically savvy constituency than a technologically savvy representative?

YOU vote for Lessig... oh, wait! You're not eligible!
That's OK, I'll donate to his campaign if he starts one.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439276)


how does the average citizen distinguish between a hard worker with the best interests of the country at heart and a very good actor who has his own interest, or some special interest, at heart.

This is the issue... in the end, everything falls apart if the masses elect the wrong people and there is a lot to be gained by looking good while doing bad, so there will always be sleaze in politics.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

kir (583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22438438)

I'll tell you what - YOU vote for Lessig... oh, wait! You're not eligible!

Next?

That was suh-weet!

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435932)

The benefit provided by academic expertise is not simply the number of degrees one acquires, but dialogical engagement with other experts who dedicate themselves to finding fault in arguments (via journals, conferences, etc).

Of course, the disadvantage provided by academic expertise is that the politicians would use words like "dialogical."

All things considered, I'll take the non-academic, thanks.

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435996)

While I don't necessarily disagree with you, your post does smack of a "rule by the intelligentsia" philosophy. I think it overvalues the argumentative abilities of academics outside their realm of expertise and does not consider the unexpected wisdom found among the masses. (If you know many cattle farmers, they are generally a great example of this.)

Re:Intellectuals in politics (1)

linhux (104645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22438454)

TL;DR

;-)

Sounds good, but... (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22434914)

Is there any way to elect him and then have him avoid the mandatory lobotomy that is forced on all our politicians? :)

Fantastic! (5, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435050)

He would make an excellent Congressman and technology advocate. Personally, I think Lawrence Lessig would make for the right template to choose Congressmen. That is, they both have general competence and area-specific knowledge. Rather than the old method of electing political cronies or party insiders or business schmucks or mercenary, power-hungry lawyers, we could elect men and women who are strong contributors to our civic life and also experts in their particular field.

For instance, I would feel much better about food safety legislation designed by a Congresswoman who was an actual FDA scientist. Then I could be reasonably sure that facts played a large role in her decisions.

 

Lessig vs. Putnam (4, Insightful)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435086)

Lessig, assuming he runs and is elected as a Democrat, would provide a massive counterweight to the Republican's Adam Putnam (R-FL) on technology issues, not to mention any other current Reps living off the largesse of the intellectual propery community (RIAA, MPAA, Business Software Alliance, etc.).

I hope he runs. We need more legislators with practical life experiences who are not only experts in particular disciplines, but know enough about legal or scientific methods to form intelligent opinion based on facts on other subjects instead of voting the way the polls or campaign contributors tell them to.

Technocracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22435104)

In the event that he says yes, and actually gets elected to Congress, is this where Technocracy begins in the US?

A Representative expires during the end of the first decade of the information and technological explosion. And luckily, being from a location whose constituency houses one of, if not THE Tech Sectors breeding grounds and homebases.

It also just so happens that the possible replacement for the now available seat is a vocal and active critic of fair, and just policy surrounding technology, copyright, and its place in society?

I can only hope in 50 years someone might write a book about how it all started. And a lead reference will be hopefully be how much press this garnered off of /.

Re:Technocracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22435776)

is this where Technocracy begins in the US?

I hope so. I'm tired of the blind leading the deaf and dumb.

I'll vote for him! (5, Funny)

Subm (79417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435368)

I don't live in his district, but I sent a check to Diebold and they said they registered my vote.

Lessig for SCOTUS (4, Insightful)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435454)

Lets face it. He'd fit in a lot better in the Judicial Branch...

Lessig lives in the wrong district? (3, Informative)

molo (94384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22435712)

Palo Alto (and Stanford) are in California's 14th District [wikipedia.org] , and Lantos is from the 12th District [wikipedia.org] , representing the area from San Mateo, and Redwood City north to South San Francisco, Daly City, and the southwestern portion of San Francisco. I don't think he's eligible to represent the 12th district without moving. So this would be no small matter for him to undertake.

That said, I would fully support Lessig for congress. Hopefully he can bring some knowledge and sanity to important committees.

-molo

Re:Lessig lives in the wrong district? (4, Informative)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441040)

He actually lives in San Francisco, in the 12th Congressional District, according to a blog post from a few years ago [lessig.org] . He does still live in San Francisco, not in Palo Alto or at Stanford.

Not to be negative, but... (1)

drik00 (526104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436042)

Best case scenario, he'd be on out of 435 in Congress...better than nothing, but still...

J

Don't Waste Out In Congress! (3, Interesting)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436100)

I think L Lessig can have more impact from outside Congress, and concentrate on issues he cares about (copyright before, corruption now), rather than waste his time politicking about in Congress on issues he doesn't care about.

Sure, maybe he could have a little more impact working from the inside, but I'm cynically afraid that he'd soon be disgusted and burnt out against the rot in there.

Yes. Please Don't Waste Yourself In Congress! (1)

Selfunfocused (1215732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22438282)

I completely agree that Congress would not be an environment in which Lessig would thrive. I am very interested in seeing what develops from his work on corruption. That work would grind to a halt if he had to take part in the system itself.
I would love to know that Lessig has the ear of multiple people in government. I would even re-evaluate my "please don't go, Lawrence" position if he were offered a cabinet position by someone like Obama...say the first Secretary of Government Transparency. I hope Lessig weighs in on who can best represent the Bay Area, I also hope he doesn't decide it is him.

Scary... (0, Flamebait)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436210)

Jimmy Wales is supporting him. Not exactly a shining example of truth and justice. Is Lessig a fan of Ayn Rand too?

I'm sure his wikipedia page will be carefully protected by a very efficient cabal though.

Yes, it would be a huge change (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436616)

I was just thinking that what Congress really needs is another lawyer.

No chance (3, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22436648)

Lessig has no chance in Lantos' district. He would not be the Democratic nominee, that would most likely be Jackie Speier, and she is a lock to win the seat. She will win by at least 60%.

Lessig will have a better chance if he tries for Anna Eshoo's seat when she retires, but he would have a lot of work to do to win a Democratic nomination out of the blue. In this area, there is a very active and strong Democratic party infrastructure and the path to that seat is usually via the state assembly/senate or San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

If Lessig really wants in to congress, he should run for local office first.

Re:No chance (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22438012)

And this is exactly why I support open elections - the type that got Schwarzenegger elected. Have everyone run who can get a certain number of signatures going, and let everyone duke it out in the public forum. None of this nomination crap, which simply guarantees that only professional politicians who appeal to party activists get elected.

Re:No chance (1)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439502)

Every election is run this way. You can always run as an independent if you get enough signatures or pay the "in lieu of filing" fee. You can run RIGHT NOW if you want. You don't have to have a run-off election for this.

Re:No chance (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441230)

If Lessig really wants in to congress, he should run for local office first

"All politics are local." Silicon Valley isn't about tech, it's about people. Its just possible the voters in his district are more concerned about health insurance than copyright reform.

About freaking time. (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22439296)

Someone stopped blogging and actually went and tried to do something in the real world. Holy crap. Now if the other 6.5 billion other really pissed off people get off their asses and vote for him and people like him, maybe something will happen in the real world. Kick some ass Lawrence... kick some ass.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?