Saturday, February 16, 2008

Draft Lessig for Congress!

The congressional representative for the district incorporating large chunks of Silicon Valley died recently. There's a special election on April 8.

There's a movement afoot to draft Larry Lessig to run for the seat. The facebook group (of course there is a facebook group) got 1000 members within 24 hours. I'm going to flout the unwritten No Political Endorsements rule for this one and say HELL YES, DRAFT LESSIG. I know Larry Lessig personally, he was my con law professor in law school, and I've worked on his projects on and off for almost a decade, including Eldred and the new corruption project, among others: I have good reason to know the man would be a fabulous member of Congress. Let's look at the costs and benefits of this move for society:


  • Lessig will win. It's silicon valley. He's Lessig. It's silicon valley.

  • The mean IQ of Congress will probably go up 20 points in a single blow.

  • His positions are good on every issue that he's spoken out on. (And good in general -- he has an overall sane position on the left-right spectrum.) These mostly include corruption issues and internet/technology issues.
    • On the former, he has the strongest anticorruption position out there -- he has just started a project to research and reform financially motivated corruption. Knowing Larry Lessig as I do, we can be absolutely sure that the project would continue in Congress. We'd have someone with a BIG podium behind which to reveal, question, and fight the influence of money in public life.
    • And on the latter, well, it's idle to say that his positions on technology issues match mine. He's so much better informed on technology issues than anyone else in the country, and so well-disposed to the just and the good, that the only rational way for anyone (who doesn't have a local, self-interested motivation, like the RIAA goons) to form his or her positions on technology issues is to look at what Lessig says and agree. A good position on technology issues can basically be defined with reference to the position Larry Lessig holds.

  • Apropos corruption project, he'll be the most honest person in Congress -- this is a guy who has no need for or interest in the system or the rewards it can bring -- he's already at the top of his career, world-famous, esteemed by everyone except his opponents -- he's the quintessential outsider.


  • If he runs, I won't be able to restrain himself from campaigning for him, straining my already-past-the-breaking-point schedule and possibly annoying my friends.

  • That's it. No other costs.

In short, this could be like the return of Paul Wellstone. Draft Lessig for Congress! If you want to support this, the best place to start is by joining the facebook group -- that'll put you in the loop for more information about how to participate.


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