By Lawrence Lessig
My Dad was an entrepreneur and an amateur pilot. And on one occasion I saw him link the two in an incredibly instructive way.
My Dad’s business was facing a crisis. The firm built steel bridges. A budget battle in Washington had stopped road construction for a year. It wasn’t clear the company would make it. But in explaining to his hundred plus employees the strategy he was about to launch, my Dad said this: “When you enter a storm, you slow down. You take the time you need to get your bearings. What’s necessary is slow thinking, not fast thinking. For intuitions only mislead.”
I don’t know whether what my Dad said about flying is true or not. But his advice seems really apt for the crisis in our democracy that we’re facing just now. As the cycles of fury grow faster and louder, something different is needed. We have to slow this battle down, so that we all can gain perspective. Intuitions won’t get us out of this mess. Indeed, they seemed destined to only make it worse.
So today, I join the slow democracy movement, by shifting the arguments for what we should be doing away from the quick to the reflective. As our culture has responded to the shock of the Internet, it has developed a new way of speaking: the podcast. The net is filled with this brilliant and reflective, long form audio, designed to give the listeners a chance to reflect and think, and our culture a way to progress. Today we launch an experiment — a podcast series called “Another Way” — as one more contribution to this culture.
It is an art, and only few do it well. Like everything we do at Equal Citizens, the aim is to think about our problems differently. And over 6 episodes, my hope is to lay out a strategy for responding to the current crisis of our democracy — different from the partisans, and more directly focused on curing the disease that has given us this disaster. The total of the 6 is not terribly long — just over an hour and a quarter. But I lay the argument out in steps, with time to reflect on each step before the next is taken.
Inevitably, what I say in this podcast will be controversial. But what should not be controversial is that we need more thinking like this. The Tweet is a tool. The Tweet is the enemy. We, as a people, need a better way to reflect and move forward. Whether you agree with my plan or not, I hope you will agree that this mode of thinking is something we need to encourage.
PS: These productions are slow. They’re not cheap. If you can, please chip in with a small monthly donation. That support makes it possible to build this regularly. One season won’t save America’s democracy. That will take at least three.