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What Larry Doesn’t Get

I have tremendous respect for Prof. Larry Lessig of Stanford — developer of the Creative Commons license, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and a strong open-source software advocate. One of his most famous essays, from early in the Internet era, was titled “What Declan Doesn’t Get.” But Larry is also a dreamer, taking positions that as a practical matter are idealistic, not realistic. This one, I think, epitomizes that character trait. Lessig (and Others) Asks Candidates to Make Debates More Open [Post I.T.].

Who ever said these were really “debates” anyway? Lincoln-Douglas they are not, having calcified into a series of scripted mini stump speeches, in which the candidates are given a platform to offer bromides but never pressed by the media or engaged with each other. So to suggest that “new media,” bloggers and the like should participate misses the whole point. Major party candidates don’t want to debate. They like the dominance of debates by legacy television media; that’s the whole point, to STAY in their political comfort zone. It’s all good and well to propose otherwise, it’s just quixotic because no one who matters cares.