Lawrence Lessig: #OccupyWallSt v2: What Cross-Partisanship Must Mean

Lawrence Lessig: #OccupyWallSt v2: What Cross-Partisanship Must Mean

I’m a liberal. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe gays should be free to marry. I believe that society has an obligation to help the worst off. I believe public education should be free and fantastic. The government should not be allowed to spy on me, or my neighbors, whether they are citizens or not. Business should not be allowed to pollute the environment. Markets, I believe, when properly regulated, produce extraordinary innovation and spread wealth. I believe no one should be permitted to buy an election, human or not. I believe equality is a means to a better society. Regulation is necessary to keep the powerful true. And swift and efficient justice is necessary when the powerful are not true. I believe in the Great Society, even if we’ve not found it yet. I listen to NPR. I am a card carrying member of the ACLU.

But I also believe that the only way to fix this Republic is through cross-partisan reform. We must, I believe, find a way to work with people we don’t agree with to make this Republic work again. People who think differently from how we do about a wide range of substantive policy questions — from taxation to regulation to Internet policy to federalism.

Yet as I walked through the #OccupyWallSt protest Wednesday, and asked people about such cross-partisanship, I was not encouraged. There is an anger and frustration among those on the Left. They feel they’ve tried compromise before. It got us this. They’re not interested in more of this. They want something different. They want change. The sort of change they can really believe in.

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We had planned to post this a week earlier, but other circumstances intervened.

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