Harvard Law Professor and Internet activist Lawrence Lessig took part in a panel discussion on corruption and democracy in Lund tonight. He was in the southern Swedish city to receive an honorary doctorate.
The creator of Creative Commons argues that corruption is widespread in American politics, but not the old-fashioned taking a pay-off for a planning permit. Instead, he says, politicians are in such dire need of campaign contributions that they are prepared to do the willing of special interests, not so much for personal gain as in an honest conviction they must be re-elected to put forward their agenda and thwart that of the “evil opposition”.
Of course, being so beholden, they can’t advance their agenda. Moreover, Lawrence Lessig pointed out that while compromise was possible even during the Nixon and Reagan administrations, it is no longer today, and the Supreme Court, in bizarrely recognizing that constitutional free speech applies to corporations, has done its utmost to make the situation worse.
He argued that while the Tea Party was once a genuine grassroots movement, it has been co-opted by Fox News and the special interests, which prevent it from what would have been a natural desire to reform the system.