Hacking at the Branches of Evil

Larry Lessig takes on campaign funding and congress. According to Lessig, excessive campaign dollars are the problem behind most of our nation’s woes. Everything from childhood obesity, to global warming, environmental disasters and our recent financial meltdown can be blamed on special interest group’s spending money to influence lawmakers.

Normally, I am not a very political person, if I had to identify with a political philosophy, it would be Libertarianism, but I prefer none of the above. We live in interesting times, so did the folks who lived in Florence during the Renaissance. They had war, strife, corruption and great art. We have a multitude of big problems to solve and little time to do it in. There’s global warming, the economy, health care, the war on terror, moving to the idea economy, population issues, globalization, human rights, education and lots more.

And what does this have to do with Motivation 3.0? If we want to have control over our lives, ensure that they are fulfilling and that we’re happy and engaged, we need a country to live in that is supportive of these values. We can rally for laws that limit climate change all we want, but when XYZ Corp decides it is against this quarter’s profit goals, then we’re screwed.

In Lessig’s latest presentation at TEDx Boston, he talks about the results of a government controlled by big business. Childhood obesity can be traced back to corn subsidies and sugar tariffs, making corn insanely cheap and sugar more expensive in the US by 2 to 3 times than in any other country. The only reason we feed corn to beef cows is because it is so cheap. Cows can’t digest corn very well, it’s why they get so many antibiotics.  

Let’s look at Deepwater Horizon. This offshore drilling project was approved after only 17 pages of documentation was submitted. The Minerals Management Service exempted them from further documentation and congress mandated that the project be approved in 30 days. Contrast that with the Cape Wind Project, off the coast of Massachusetts. It took 10,000 pages of documentation and 9 years of review for this project to go forward, for wind!

How about global warming? Is there anyone out there doubting we have a global warming problem? The oceans are dying, the ice caps are melting, we might not all agree on the cause, but it is happening. Lots of learned folks say that we have to do something, that immediate action needs to be taken or the end is near. So after 2 years or work, with a majority in the house and senate, a president that is in favor of taking action and 110 million dollars spent what is the result? No action is being taken this cycle; the climate change bill is dead.

I am not even going to touch the bailout, other than to say that the average salary for the top 10 hedge fund managers was 2.5 billion dollars in 2009 and they only pay 15% in taxes due to capital gains laws.

11% of Americans have confidence in congress. The British Crown had a higher approval rating in America during the American Revolution than congress does today.

Lessig is supporting the Fair Elections Now Act, through his web site: www.fixcongressfirst.org. It would create citizen funded elections, small dollar donations for citizens only, not corporations, not aliens (that’s foreign citizens, not little green people). So let us get off the couch and strike at the roots.

…government of the People, by the People, for the People shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln


There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

Henry David Thoreau