One Way Forward

Renowned Harvard law professor Lessig presents a wise manifesto for fixing what’s wrong with America and giving us back a real voice in how we are governed.

  1. Prologue

    Spring comes in waves. At first, unrecognizably. And then, unavoidably. And when it finally fully comes, we wake up.

    We, the People. The sovereign. We tumble out of the stupor that is our sleep and exercise a power that is ours exclusively. We might exercise it well. Many think we would exercise it poorly. So when its first hint becomes clear, we should take steps to assure that we will exercise it as well as we can.

    The first step is to name it, this, our power. For it is different from the ordinary power that gets fought over in the context of ordinary politics. This is the thing that the commentators miss. They see a fight between the Right and the Left. That is the game, and the frame, they understand. There was Clinton. His side got defeated (sort of) by George Bush. Then his side got defeated (or so we thought) by Barack Obama. Left versus Right versus Left versus Right, fighting for the control of government and of government policy. And even when there’s a fight that doesn’t actually happen in D.C.—the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street movement—the chattering classes squeeze that battle into a Left/Right fight within Washington. The Tea Party, the insiders insist, is just a mobilizing (and very effective) whip for the Republicans, the Occupiers still a mere hope for the Democrats. As if politics is only ever about the normal battle to determine which side wins control of an existing government.

    But as well as the Left side and the Right side, there is an inside a...

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