Lessig changes emphasis of his career

Lawrence Lessig is a Stanford law professor who “teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, and the law of cyberspace.” He is someone I admire and pay attention to. He has decided to switch from these kind of issues to another important issue.

“I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues.”

His new issue is “corruption.” Corruption in public rhetoric and professional rhetoric. One person who inspired him to pay more attention to this emailed him this comment:

” [He] wrote me a reply to an email I had written to him about net neutrality. As he wrote, “And don’t shill for the big guys protecting market share through neutrality REGULATION either.”

shill, n. One who poses as a disinterested advocate of another but is actually of the latter’s party; a mouthpiece, a stooge. (this is from the online OED)
This caught Lessig’s attention.

He goes on:

“But this friend’s use of the term [shill] not to condemn me, but rather as play, made me recognize just how general this corruption is. Of course he would expect I was in the pay of those whose interests I advanced. Why else would I advance them? Both he and I were in a business in which such shilling was the norm. It was totally reasonable to thus expect that money explained my desire to argue with him about public policy.

I don’t want to be a part of that business. And more importantly, I don’t want this kind of business to be a part of public policy making. We’ve all been whining about the “corruption” of government forever. We all should be whining about the corruption of professions too. But rather than whining, I want to work on this problem that I’ve come to believe is the most important problem in making government work.”

the whole article is here.

I look forward to what Lessig ends up saying about this issue.

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