Republic, Lost v2

The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It

cover of the book Republic Lost by Lawrence Lessig

From the publisher Twelve Books

About the book

In this entirely new edition—revised and expanded in time for the 2016 election—Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig exposes the most vexing problem in American democracy and offers a new plan to save our lost republic.

In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government—driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in politics, and that business interests wield control over our government.

Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at what this crisis is—a crisis of equality—and how we arrived at it—how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and deny citizens the basic equality of a representative democracy. Using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left, Lessig seeks out the root cause of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the Tweedism—an endemic corruption of citizen equality—that has taken hold of our system.

From there, Lessig presents ideas for how this republic lost can be regained, ultimately calling for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted—but redeemable—representational system. He also explores the idea of Referendum Politicians, as a more immediate way to force change into the system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness, by giving citizens what they were originally meant to have—a Congress “dependent on the people alone,” where by “the People,” was meant “not the rich more than the poor.

While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In this brand new edition of REPUBLIC, LOST, he not only makes this need palpable and clear—he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.

TAGS:

Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • PART I: The Flaw
    • 1. Tweedism
      • The Green Primary
    • 2. Corrupt Because Unequal
    • 3. Consequences: Vetocracy
    • 4. The Fix
      • Vouchers
      • Matching Funds
      • Would More Funders Make the Problems Worse?
      • But What Would All This Cost?
      • What These Changes Would Do for “Lobbying”
    • 5. Distractions
    • 6. What about “Free Speech”?
  • PART II: Deeper
    • 7. Why So Damn Much Money
      • Demand for Campaign Cash
      • Supply of Campaign Cash: Substance
      • Supply of Campaign Cash: New Norms
      • Supply of Campaign Cash: New Suppliers
      • Lobbyist$
      • Economies, Gift and Otherwise
    • 8. What So Damn Much Money Does
      • The Deviations That Money Inspires
      • 0. It Matters Not at All
      • 1. Extortion
      • 2. Distraction
      • 3. Distortion
      • 4. Trust
      • Okay, But Is Money the Real Root?
    • 9. How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Left
    • 10. How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Right
      • 1. Making Government Small
      • 2. Simple Taxes
      • 3. Keeping Markets Efficient
    • 11. How So [Damn Little] Money Makes Things Worse
      • The Ways We Pay Congress
      • The Benefits of Working for Members
    • 12. Two Conceptions of “Corruption”
      • “Corruption”
      • “Dependence Corruption” Is “Corruption”
      • What Follows
  • PART III: Unconventional Thoughts
    • 13. A Proposing Convention
      • The Movement on the Left
      • The Movement on the Right
      • “A Convention”
      • The Risk in the “Runaway”
      • Safety Valve 1: Limits on the Convention
      • Safety Valve 2: The Courts
      • Safety Valve 3: The Safety Valve Itself
      • Leave the Lawyers, Return to Real Politics
      • Risks
      • One Way Forward
      • Fair Deals
    • 14. Referendum Politicians
      • The Referendum President
      • Referendum Representatives
  • Conclusion
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • Index

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