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Authority is the key to freedom(?)

I really enjoyed this TED Talk from Phillip K. Howard about overhauling the US legal system.  A key point was the authority doesn't abridge freedom but actually enables it.  It sounds counterintuitive, but in Howard's context, I agree.  I certainly agree that our legal system has smothered itself with laws that are now almost impossible to internalize.  Let me know in the comments what you think.

 

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Mike - this talk was fantastic. I love that he got applause at points before the end. And I love that you could really tell at the end that he felt what he was saying, even though to many it may seem a dry philosophical concept. Now the hard part - how to make the change happen?

I'd add two points to his talk. One is that another danger of how complex the law has gotten is that basically everyone has always broken a law. This opens up the State to being able to selectively apply the law - a dangerous dynamic.

I wasn't expecting it, and he nailed it with his point on what happened in the 60's. I've long thought, but couldn't articulate as well (or as credibly perhaps given it was before my time), that there was an overshoot in the laws in the 60's. He put it perfectly.

The problem is, I think it takes real dedication to the principle of freedom to change how people think about what laws should be. On average we get too overwhelmed by emotion, and by what sounds like a good argument, to realize that a law we favor is another drop in the bucket of this ocean-size problem. A good sign that a law will add to this problem: if it gets referred to as "'s law".

We've shown in spades that we're driven by fear and easily manipulated thereby. So then how do we become unstuck?

Ok, there, I'm depressed again. :-)

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