Lessig on Striking at the Roots

Awesome talk by Lawrence Lessig:

8 Responses to “Lessig on Striking at the Roots”

  1. shcb Says:

    Thanks for that JBC, I have a really long, boring day in front of me and that good laugh will make it just a little better. I paged over the Walden Pond crap and stopped about the 12 minute mark where he is talking about raising cattle, something I know a little about, poor sap hasn’t a clue. Now my dilemma is do listen to the rest of it.

  2. jbc Says:

    It might be worth considering that with someone like Lessig, cherrypicking isolated parts of his argument is an inefficient way to evaluate it. He’s a law professor, after all, which means he’s into long, sophisticated, interlocking chains of reasoning.

    Of course, if you know already that anything about Walden Pond is crap and Lessig’s views on cattle-rearing are inferior to your own, and therefore his views on everything else can be dismissed out of hand, then I could see how that would have a certain appeal to someone who places a premium on efficiency.

  3. shcb Says:

    Walden Pond just isn’t my cup of tea, kind of like soccer, nothing wrong with it, I just don’t care for it. I wouldn’t dismiss the whole thing out of hand, I haven’t listened to it so that wouldn’t be fair.

    Farming has traditionally been done by the less sophisticated, I suppose you could say the less intelligent, that isn’t exactly the case these days in the industrialized world but the basics are still pretty simple. So if someone doesn’t understand the basics of something that is simple I think it is natural to be suspect of more complicated issues. Now he wasn’t blindsided by some crusty old farmer trying to show how the city fellow doesn’t know much about where his food comes from, he put this in his presentation himself, he had time to research it.

    They feed cattle very little grain, the corn that is being fed the cattle is in the form of silage made from corn that, if all goes well, doesn’t have a single ear on it. So he is right that cows can’t eat corn in the form of grain, exclusively, but they can and eat it in the form it is fed. The use, or overuse of antibiotics isn’t because of the food they are being fed, it is primarily because of the close confines in the feed lots, and for the most part they are raised on grass except for the last few months of their lives (beef cattle, doesn’t apply to dairy). The farmers don’t need the corn subsidies for feeding cattle, they need it for green fuel, but of course that wouldn’t fit his agenda.

    He read something that fit his bias and ran with it even though it was sort of almost right but totally wrong, the question is how much of the rest of his talk is the same?

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    To be fair, Lessig did mention that the use of feed corn (silage) facilitates holding cattle in feedlots rather than the range and that antibiotics result from that.

    Also to be fair, Lessig did mention that the corn subsidies were needed for ethanol fuel.

    So it is fair to say that shcb’s longwinded critique has nothing to do with the actual content of Lessig’s talk and it has much to do with shcb’s initial bias, his poor attention to detail, penchant for jumping to a wrong conclusion, and a desire to be seen as knowledgable about cows.

    It was a decent talk, thanks JBC.

  5. shcb Says:

    That certainly isn’t what he said in the short section I watched, did he do the ole distort and deceive on the first page and tell it correctly on page 2 or 3 trick?

  6. Smith Says:

    Maybe he did the old “if you try to comment on my speech without listening to the whole thing you’ll sound like a jackass” trick.

    Most people seem to do that trick. It is very inconsiderate of them to expect someone to actually listen to their entire argument before passing judgement. Like someone as important as an alleged “senior engineer” could be bothered to waste time on nuance. If it isn’t a ten second sound bite, the speaker shouldn’t expect anyone to waste time trying to understand hm/her. People are such assholes.

  7. shcb Says:

    I usually have a pretty good feel for these things even without watching the whole thing, am I right about this one? I know what he said in the short section I watched, if Knarly is right about what he said somewhere else there aren’t too many other explinations.

  8. shcb Says:

    Tell you what, I have a trip to Atlanta next week, I’ll try and listen to his talk on the flight down there.

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