#1 By: Cory Doctorow, December 31st, 2013 18:02
#2 By: Matt Drew, December 31st, 2013 19:02
Lessig is a smart guy, but on this issue he's simply wrong. It's not money that determines who wins elections, it's incumbency and gerrymandering. Why? Because the incumbents already have name recognition, electoral advantage, access to fundraising machinery, and are known quantities to the rent-seekers - they are the safe bets. 95% of the House elections are won by the most money because incumbents have massive fundraising advantages. And they would love nothing more than to further restrict the money spent on elections, because then their other incumbency advantages would count for more. Taxpayer-supported elections would make the problem worse by virtually guaranteeing that any incumbent would stay elected until they die.
Further, public choice mechanics clearly explain why the only way to break that lock is to restrict the money and favors they can direct to their supporters - i.e., cutting at least the parts of government that are the most easily abused, like economic development grants and loans, and disbanding government crony organizations like the Import-Export Bank and the green energy loan programs. In short, you will not remove the corruption without removing the reason for the corruption - the vast power available to the members of Congress and the Executive to reward their supporters and hinder their detractors through government action.
#3 By: Kyle C, December 31st, 2013 19:16
This doesn't actually make the problem worse. The problem is that elected representatives are beholden to the people who fund their campaigns. So let's say I buy your argument that incumbency would become even more prevalent; I'm okay with it as long as the behavior starts to change.
#4 By: Val A Lindsay II, December 31st, 2013 19:35
Incumbency and gerrymandering are definite problems but I'm going Lessig on this one. Gerrymandering is something any politician or lawyer does, but when it's done in behest of solely the bottom dollar we've got a big problem...
#5 By: Ereiamjh, December 31st, 2013 20:10
Money is the problem, so we need to ensure that money continues to corrupt the election process. Great argument...
#6 By: Jewels Vern, December 31st, 2013 21:11
Every culture in history has eventually collapsed, all in the same general manner and for the same general reasons. It doesn't matter what form the government takes, or how clever the promises are, they all collapse. The only form of government that has made a good showing is no government, but people will only tolerate prosperity for about 200 years, and then they demand a central government to tell each other how to live.
This is a nice idea, but no country has ever avoided the slide into oblivion. Not one.
#7 By: Ereiamjh, December 31st, 2013 21:29
And which one was that? What civilization are you referring to that was had no form of government or hierarchy? Which civilization managed to thrive where every person had the same kind of autonomy, responsibility and "liberty"?
What are you referring to?
#8 By: Stephen Frost, December 31st, 2013 23:43
The Belgians seemed to do okay without a government for nearly 200 days and then more than 500 days during successive "political crises" since 2007....
#9 By: Tim Quinn, January 1st, 2014 00:38
I, uh, what?
#10 By: Kimmoth, January 1st, 2014 02:12
FUCK YEAH, LESSIG
I'm going to invest some hope in this NH Rebellion. It seems well-named too; it reads like an old-time historical event, and what with the epic march, just might be well-judged and ambitious enough to actually be a notable historic event.
Surely it must be getting easier to foment public unrest in the US, despite the best efforts of Murdoch et al?
#11 By: Jewels Vern, January 1st, 2014 02:17
The period of Hebrew history known as Judges lasted about 250 years and they were unconquerable in war. Then they demanded a king, and after that they were conquered. The people known as Barbarians could not be conquered by Rome because they had no government to conquer. The Romans sent one third of their army into the woods and they never came out, except that the general's head was mailed to the senate. The Dutch Empire and the American colonies had no central government.
#12 By: Jewels Vern, January 1st, 2014 02:19
#13 By: Kimmoth, January 1st, 2014 02:20
I'm pretty sure the optimum system of organisation for us is as simple and organic as possible. Something with minimal overhead and flat topology, relying on a robust culture instilled in each of us.
But everybody needs to be on pretty much the same page for such a thing, as far as I can see; pretty tough to achieve that these days. Although folks with their heads screwed on properly are certainly more into splitting hairs than arguing over basic fundamentals... I guess the way forward must include zero tolerance for mental malware like fundamentalism (except agnostic fundamentalism, of course).
#14 By: Tim Quinn, January 1st, 2014 02:30
Oh, you mean all of them except the ones that haven't collapsed?
#15 By: Jewels Vern, January 1st, 2014 03:18
Of about 240 countries in the world, just 21 have regimes older than a century. Libya did ok with a king for 2800 years, but switched to a president in 1975. FWIW 12 of those 21 are in South America or around the Gulf of Mexico.
#16 By: Tim Quinn, January 1st, 2014 04:17
Now you see, a regime is not a culture. Suddenly your claim is much narrower and I don't even think it is remarkable. Which is probably why you chose to exaggerate it in the first place. Everything else you said went right out the window for me because your first statement was preposterous.
#17 By: Ereiamjh, January 2nd, 2014 00:19
I forgot that you're the guy who posts stuff from The Bible to make a point....
Those Barbarians that you speak of were organized societies with armies and kings. Romans (and so many others) referred to almost any peoples they hadn't conquered or come to know well as "barbarians". The rest is all just completely ahistorical. Yeah the colonies were "Galt's Gulch"....... That's why they felt necessary to rebel against their king/government and start their own government........
The Bible (interesting as it is) is NOT history etc. etc....
#18 By: Ereiamjh, January 2nd, 2014 00:20
Cool, I didn't realize Belgium was a law and coercion free paradise....
#19 By: Cory Doctorow, January 5th, 2014 18:02
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