107 of 113 people found the following review helpful
A bleak, but ultimately hopeful, vision for restoring democracy,
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This review is from: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It (Hardcover)
Lessig explores the concept of a government responsible to the PEOPLE, as the Constitution calls for, and how the current system of campaign finance has warped it so much toward being a government responsible to the CONTRIBUTORS that even the Supreme Court used those words (in the infamous Citizens United corporation-as-a-person decision). The picture he draws of moneyed influence is truly appalling--all the more so as the influence is almost never overt bribery, but often just hints and signals (as in "if you aren't able to vote for X, I'll have to contribute $1,000,000 to your opponent").
Can it be cured? Lessig offers several possible prescriptions, the most serious of which is calling for a Constitutional Convention, and at least while I'm reading the book, I can believe that maybe there's some hope for our republic. There are many good ideas here, and the arguments are rich and comprehensive.
Read this book if you want to understand what's really wrong with government, why nothing gets done, why the posturing and pandering grows and grows, and why life is getting steadily worse for the 99% of the population who aren't rich. And--especially--read it if you want to know what you can do to make things better.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2011 7:31:42 PM PDT
CA reader says:
Trying to decide whether to purchase this book. I've read there is not an option to pick and choose with a Constitutional Convention. If what I've read is true, the whole thing gets scrapped and then rewritten so we could lose everything we deem valuable. Considering how captured our country is, I'm not comfortable with who might end up rewriting it. Does the book get into the risks a Constitutional Convention might present?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011 5:54:39 AM PDT
Olin Sibert says:
Lessig discusses this scenario at length, and presents approaches for dealing with the perceived risk. I found his arguments quite convincing; the "lose everything and start over" worry does not seem well-founded.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011 8:51:09 AM PDT
CA reader says:
Thanks! What about the argument that if the current government ignores the Constitution, how would merely rewriting it alter that? Thinking anybody would relinquish power without a very ugly fight seems naive.
Posted on Oct 26, 2011 2:42:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 26, 2011 6:54:45 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 7:00:24 AM PDT
Olin Sibert says:
You should buy the book and read Lessig's prose, which will certainly be more convincing than mine :-) But I'll attempt to summarize. Lessig argues that the corruption is systemic, not individual, and that individual office-holders are actually almost all honorable and driven by ideals. In other words, it's not like they're just sitting there waiting for bribes. Fixing the systemic corruption won't change that, and will therefore encounter less overt resistance than one might otherwise expect.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 10:50:03 PM PDT
The Constitution at this point is like the Bible, hopelessly out of date, no one listens to it, and those who do just use it for their own benefit distorting it beyond recognition these days. We have lost it, but the "wanna-be new order" is trying to insinuate itself under a new Constitution. At least a public convention might have a chance for some daylight while the current process just gets more hidden.
Posted on Nov 1, 2011 10:53:22 PM PDT
To me the problem I have heard lessig address before ... I have not read the book ... are arguments based on the wrongs the current system does. does he address the claimed wrongs that democracy would do, or address at all that democracy may not be perfect ... after all Greece seemed to abandon it pretty early.
I start to think neuro-biologically that maybe none of it has to do with our rules, it has to do more with how satisfied and happy citizens are, either as a citizen or consumer. happy people don't fight wars. democracies don't attack each other.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 10:57:53 PM PDT
>> Lessig argues that the corruption is systemic, not individual, and that individual office-holders are actually almost all honorable and driven by ideals
This is something he nor anyone else can know. It sounds like the speculation people have like, well ... people are basically good at heart.
The design of our society and lives should not be based on things that cannot be verified publicly ... we need design-rules for our government. My instinct is to disagree with your characterization of Lessig's words because my own anecdotal personal experience is that very few people cannot handle power and authority - to prove that think of every boss you have ever had in your life as a sample.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2012 8:04:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2012 8:04:59 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2012 11:41:56 AM PST
> The Bible is not hopelessly out of date,
Of course it is, what you call the Bible is something that has been endlessly re-interpreted to try to be relevant but simple cannot be except for sentiment in the 21st century. I am not trashing the Bible at all, just stating facts that as a philosophy and code to live by there is much that it does not address to the point to where it is "hopelessly out of date". If you are a defender of the Bible doesn't it say something in there about "bearing false witness" ... because you last sentence is not only needlessly insulting it is a lie that I go around trashing books I have not read, and I did not trash this one.