Late last week, after the Sunshine Week Lessig lecture, the always thoughtful Beth Noveck -- law professor and director of both the Institute for Information Law and Policy and Democracy Design Workshop, and friend -- compared the Lessig speech to a June 2007 speech, by open-source-licensing crusader Eben Moglen.
Beth said Moglen is an optimist who is inclined to trust people's ability to collaborate and work together. She wrote that his take on government is revolutionary and evolutionary. Lessig is a pessimist, she says, full of dismay at the state of the body politic, yet wants to preserve the status quo ultimately. (I'm not sure I completely agree with the assessment of Lessig as pessimist but that's not the point I want to make right now.)
Beth says that the best approach is a mash-up of both approaches:"Lessig's orientation toward action and pragmatism with Moglen's boldness of vision." She advocates that we take a whole new look at government institutions and governance, and start using technology to empower citizens in order to fundamentally change the way government works.Continue reading