It’s no big secret that I am a big fan of Lawrence Lessig, ever since I first heard his Free Culture talk I’ve considered him one of the truly honest and giving people in the world of today. I fondly remember reading his book Free Culture, I first saw it at a fellow Linux users home where I read the first chapter while he was having dinner, I knew I had to own this book and ordered it as soon as I got home. Free Culture is so far the only book on law I have managed to read cover to cover without falling asleep, in fact I loved it so much I re-read it on a regular basis. Lessig is a candle in the darkness, illuminating the wrongs in society, but in a delightful manner that forces you to do something to right the wrongs… as it’s popularly put, it’s not a right or left issue, it’s a right or wrong issue, on such issues only the apathetic fail to do their duty and act.
Not only has he given us the Creative Commons which has complimented and boosted the campaigns for IT transparency and openness both on the code and the standards level by giving us a framework to do the same with creativity but he has now dedicated himself to fighting corruption. Giving the birth to an important movement and then leaving it to others must have been a hard decision – in that way I feel about Lessig much the same way I feel about Fedora’ own Max Specvak who also volunteered to give up his post. There is a certain risk in the kind of success that projects like the Creative Commons and Fedora has had, the people who have acted as it’s public faces can easily become to comfortable heading them, thus making the movement a personality cult or worse stagnant in the long run. Movements should be about ideals and the ideals if strong and clear enough will sustain it regardless of what happens to it’s founders, the Creative Commons lives on it’s own merit. The brave decision is to let new people carry on in the spirit you set forth and move to new challenges, Lessig has done that.
So I am pleased to see that Prof. Lessig has now started the Change Congress movement and is considering running for a seat in Congress. I hope dearly that he decides to run and look forward to seeing what change he can amass in Congress when elected. If he can manage to breath the same vigour into Change Congress as he has to the Creative Commons, I am sure it will be a movement that will benefit us all not to mention outlive us all.
Good luck Lawrence, I am not allowed to contribute funds to your grassroots campaign, but I will cheer loudly from my place here in Denmark.
More information available on Lessig ’08