Speaking of ideological warfare, I'm sure you are well aware of the raging feud between Hollywood and Silicon Valley and by extension all the digital media downloading heathens. So this Wired story - snippets below - made my day. I couldn't believe I'd read the headline correctly, "How I Learned to Love Larry," by Hilary Rosen, the former CEO of the Recording Industry of Association of America. Double-take: Did she actually say love?
We talk about persuasion, but Lawrence Lessig is among the REAL persuaders. It's rather trivial to preach to the choir, it's an art form to listen and step into another's side if only for a moment (not merely listening to anticipate your comeback). You can read The Tipping Point guys until you are blue in the face and it won't guide you if you are doing the difficult work of finding the higher common ground within camps that aren't already rah-rah about you. That calls for truly respecting all sides (not merely paying lip service). This is way way more nuanced than choir-preaching loyalty beyond reason cult brands. And it's a drawing-towards rather than a dragging-kicking-and-screaming.
For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is eternal law. - The Buddha
The tagline sheds more light into the bitterness of the feud: "She was the champion of the music industry. He was the voice of the people. It was a deathmatch made in heaven - "
But they found common ground. I've seen Lessig speak passionately and persuasively many times. (It's a real treat and learning experience to hear him speak.) As much as he can rile up the troops, he's actually a man of reason that deftly perceives, values and authentically respects multiple perspectives. And by David Brin's definition of sanity, (Sanity should be adaptability: the ability to take new information and change your mind. And it should have tolerance built into it.) Lessig is a man of sanity. But let Rosen tell the story:
...I found myself last fall in Los Angeles at USC anticipating a public duel with Lawrence Lessig, the noted Stanford Law School professor. Lessig and I were longtime rivals in the ongoing debate over copyright and technology. To present a balanced program on the issue, USC was paying us a tidy sum to spend two days disagreeing with one another in front of a lot of people...
On the first night, the university's Bovard Auditorium was packed. Lessig started with a tortured and sarcastic history of copyright protection. He railed against such public laws as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which created a US leadership role in protecting digital works against technologies designed to circumvent copyright protection.
So the debate was familiar for the first half hour. The old rhythms set in. Lessig was the fiery populist arguing against the monied interests. I insisted that it was important to protect creative works and the investments that made them possible. In a contest of greed versus theft, I suppose I chose greed as the morally superior position.
When he heaped praise on me and my friend Jack Valenti, then head of the Motion Picture Association of America, saying how powerful and good we were at our jobs, so powerful in fact that our respective industries were further ahead in this policy area than anyone really knew - I perked up. Now he is making sense, I thought. I knew it was a backhanded compliment. But it worked for me.
I was warming to Lessig. He wasn't defending theft; in fact, he was against it. That's why he had helped found the nonprofit Creative Commons...
Until that moment, I had dismissed Creative Commons as a sleight-of-hand maneuver, a way to mouth platitudes about the benefits of copyright while in fact joining ranks with the Everything for Free Foundation. But Lessig was making a persuasive case. This is going in the wrong direction, I remember thinking. Had I lost my edge?
Hardly. I'm still cynical about its origins, but I've come to love Creative Commons...
After the debate that evening, Lessig and I strolled beneath the sycamore trees on the USC campus. We talked of his dream for Creative Commons and how artists and fans would benefit if the rules were clearer and if we all could enjoy more walks in the commons. Our debate on the second night would not have much disagreeable fervor.
Love is much more demanding than law. - Archbishop Desmond Tutu