James Wrona Cover Straddler 9
“We live out our lives in transition.”

Democracy is Troublemaking:
in conversation with
Lewis Lapham

Democracy is geared to ceaseless argument and change, the friction between labor and capital, men and women, matter and mind, the government and the governed. It's like a suspension bridge; it needs the balance of opposite stresses. That's why it's a volatile substance, just the way freedom is. Democracy is not a trust fund, and it's not a monument; it's the antithesis of empire.

Democracy is supposed to be dangerous, which is why it's the hardest form of government. Power always seeks to multiply itself. This was something Walter Karp was very keen on, and so was Thomas Paine. Paine understands the democratic idea—he understands it's an argument, and he understands it's constantly changing. It's not a steady state, just the way freedom is not a steady state. But the object of entrenched power is to make time stand still, to keep people afraid, frightened birds in front of the IRS or a snake.


From The Straddler Archives

"Treatment" by Peter Davis
"The laws of nature are simple and beautiful. Here life was imitating my sorry little treatment just as my treatment had been aimed at imitating life."

On Network Culture: in
conversation with Kazys Varnelis

"There is this idea that is so dominant today...that we live in a much more participatory democracy than has ever happened before. ...[but] the unfettered effects of networks lead to greater and greater concentrations of power."

Stand, Don't Deliver:
a conversation on aspects of
"All around we see these terrible structures. Sometimes it becomes very difficult to tell where the divide lies between real estate developers and architects."


"Going Places" by Greg Bennetts
"In life, just as in love, there is legal and there is illegal and then there is everything else."