On 30 September, MIT and Boston Review co-sponsored a debate on the subject of political speech and campaign finance, featuring Lawrence Lessig, Gabriel Lenz, John Bonifaz, Allison Hayward, and Stephen Ansolabehere. Video of the event is now available.
Lawrence Lessig at the debate:
We don't have a democracy where the Congress depends on people alone anymore.
People have increasingly been replaced by the funders ...
The problem in this Congress is in plain sight.
It is corruption, alive and increasingly sickening.
From a summary of the event:
Just when it seemed the corrosive influence of big money on American politics could not be greater, the Supreme Court gave corporations full license to exercise 'free speech' during campaign season. Renowned legal scholar Lawrence Lessig and his respondents debate the most effective response to the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which, Lessig claims, poses an imminent danger to our democracy.
Lawrence Lessig, in the Boston Review:
Washington is the kind of city where one never writes if one can call, never calls if one can speak, never speaks if one can nod, and never nods if one can wink.
There may be a quid. There may be a quo. But because the two are independent, there is no pro.
Decius in 2010, after the SCOTUS ruling in the Citizens United case:
The thing that sucks about freedom of speech is that rich people can afford more speech than you can.
You want an equalizer? Look to the Internet. The idea that in the era of the Internet we need more control over political speech than we did in the era of broadcast media is insane. People have other sources than television ads to decide who to vote for. We need only encourage them to use those sources.
Can't someone else do it?
Decius in 2004:
In my experience the answer to bad speech has always been more speech.
Decius in 2010, after the launch of Wiki Voter Guide:
I said I'd do something about this, and I am.