Lessig Visits Cato

by on February 1, 2010 · 10 comments

Last week, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig visited the Cato Institute for a lunchtime talk he had sought through Julian Sanchez. Fellow TLFer Julian discussed the substance of the visit on the Cato@Liberty blog.

I discussed the real purpose of the visit as I interpreted it, and Professor Richard Epstein had a comment, too. He finds that Lessig is now, in fairness, a libertarian—if by “fairness” we mean “tit-for-tat.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/RichardBennett.Cal Richard Bennett

    It's always wise to count the silver after a Lessig visit.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    As a 15-year observer of the dynamic, I hope you'll consider that I may have some insights on this matter.

    0) Libertarians ARE “on the right”, to a rough approximation (same way the Green Party is roughly “on the left”). The point is that “right” is a broader term than “conservative”. Correct, Libertarians are not liberals or conservative. But that doesn't mean they are equally different. Libertarians may make common cause with liberals on the occasional civil-liberties issue,but they absolutely worship business (as a abstraction).

    1) Lessig has always wanted to make intellectual common cause with conservatives and Libertarians. This does not require complicated conjecture. His entire strategy for the Constitutional challenge to copyright laws was to try to knit together a liberal/conservative coalition based on appealing to each side's interest as he saw it (that the conservatives on the Supreme Court thoroughly rebuffed him is an important lesson).

    2) I was tempted to write to him and say this outreach effort here wasn't going to work, for reasons similar to #1. But he'd just reply (if at all) something along the lines of he has hope and wants to try. Thank you for proving my point :-)

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    It's always wise to count the silver after a Lessig visit.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    As a 15-year observer of the dynamic, I hope you'll consider that I may have some insights on this matter.

    0) Libertarians ARE “on the right”, to a rough approximation (same way the Green Party is roughly “on the left”). The point is that “right” is a broader term than “conservative”. Correct, Libertarians are not liberals or conservative. But that doesn't mean they are equally different. Libertarians may make common cause with liberals on the occasional civil-liberties issue,but they absolutely worship business (as a abstraction).

    1) Lessig has always wanted to make intellectual common cause with conservatives and Libertarians. This does not require complicated conjecture. His entire strategy for the Constitutional challenge to copyright laws was to try to knit together a liberal/conservative coalition based on appealing to each side's interest as he saw it (that the conservatives on the Supreme Court thoroughly rebuffed him is an important lesson).

    2) I was tempted to write to him and say this outreach effort here wasn't going to work, for reasons similar to #1. But he'd just reply (if at all) something along the lines of he has hope and wants to try. Thank you for proving my point :-)

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