tim: protest sign: "Down With This Sort of Thing" (politics)
You know, I post a lot of links and crap on this journal and more so on Facebook, but if you never read anything else I link to, read this article by Larry Lessig from this week's _The Nation_:

How to Get Our Democracy Back

He argues that the most important issue in the US right now is the insidious presence of corporate campaign contributions that effectively allow votes to be bought and sold. No, this isn't a new point, but Lessig argues for it with clarity and passion. The part I found most insightful:
Everyone inside this game recognizes that if the public saw too clearly that the driving force in Washington is campaign cash, the public might actually do something to change that. So every issue gets reframed as if it were really a question touching some deep (or not so deep) ideological question. Drug companies fund members, for example, to stop reforms that might actually test whether "me too" drugs are worth the money they cost. But the reforms get stopped by being framed as debates about "death panels" or "denying doctor choice" rather than the simple argument of cost-effectiveness that motivates the original reform. A very effective campaign succeeds in obscuring the source of conflict over major issues of reform with the pretense that it is ideology rather than campaign cash that divides us.
[Emphasis added.]

I agree with Lessig that you have to fix the campaign financing system before you can fix much else. I suspect I might disagree with him in that I think the most fundamental problems are those that don't yield to such a solution (we might still find that even if we get into a situation where all individuals have an equal say in politics, many of those individuals will still be racist and will have an interest in framing poverty moralistically). Still, I think the article is worth overcoming all of our Internet-induced antipathy to anything that takes more than five minutes to read.

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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

March 2017

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