Harvard Firebrand Larry Lessig: Tax Facebook To Save Democracy

Steve Rosenbaum
3 min readMay 21, 2024

My friend Larry Lessig is a trailblazing Harvard Law professor and internet policy legend who co-founded Creative Commons, revolutionizing the way creators share and license their work globally. As a relentless advocate for transparency and fairness, he has taken on political corruption and the manipulative power of social media platforms, serving as the attorney for whistleblower Frances Haugen, who exposed Facebook’s harmful practices.

And so, when he began his talk on stage in New Hampshire, at the NH Civics series, it was a bit surprising to hear him begin his talk with the history of tobacco.

“It’s easy to forget that there was a time when smoking was uncomplicated. People liked it. No one had a fear about it. Indeed, some thought that smoking was actually helpful for asthma and other lung diseases. It was the age of innocence for cigarettes, and in that age, great entrepreneurs were incredibly innovative,” said Lessig.

“But, now with more than a hundred million dead… tobacco’s history seems to be an ominous warning.

“In the 1950s, first the British and then the Americans began to release robust research reports demonstrating the devastating health effects of cigarettes. By the early 1960s, no one could doubt that they were correct,” warned Lessig. But…