2010 midterm elections: a call to action

The U.S. mid-terms elections are drawing near, and with them a valuable opportunity for promoting an alternative mechanism for appointing officials, as voters are made to choose between two candidates, neither of which they find very appealing. Disappointment with Obama, the man who was perceived as the alternative to a widely unpopular president, is palpable, and while approval for Republicans in Congress has recovered slightly as approval for Democrats has sunk, both parties now suffer from similarly low ratings.

I suggest taking advantage of the opportunity by creating a half-page ‘sortition manifesto’ and foisting it upon the unsuspecting members of the public as they approach the voting booths. An alternative or additional way to disseminate the manifesto – requiring some monetary expenditure but less effort – would be through a web ad placed on a search engine.

The manifesto could be written as a collaborative effort of all those who are interested in participating. The comments section here could serve as a place to express interest in taking part, and for some initial brainstorming. Work on a specific document could follow.

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24 Responses

  1. Pragmatic Constitutional Change

    Constitutional change is not politically pragmatic. This is because constitutional change is difficult by design and theoretical in nature and argument. The upside of this reality is firm legal stability. The downside is inflexibility. Tumultuous times require stability. Challenging times require flexibility.

    The supreme court, historically, through constitutional interpretation, asserts great influence defining the stability and/or flexibility of the constitution. Constitutional amendment fills gaping holes and allows emergency surgery. No serious modern attempt or discussion of profound constitutional revision has reached the popular consciousness.

    The myth of constitutional changeability is important to preserve. In extreme downside, this myth is the only thread separating peaceful resolution from revolution. The civil war was revolution. Its lesson must never be abandoned. The thin thread and myth of constitutional revision is all that separates all plan A’s from extreme plan B’s.

    It is important to discuss how profound constitutional revision might play out in the future. This reinforces the thin thread and myth currently separating revolution from resolution. Profound constitutional revision is the myth that sustains America’s bottom-line civility.

    Every 500 years the mythical Phoenix bird burns to ash only to rise from the smoke, new and reborn. Maybe constitutions are a bit like mythical Phoenix birds.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
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  2. Beyond the Red-Blue Paradigm

    “Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose”
    Simon and Garfunkel, 1968

    “Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose” describes the red-blue paradigm for middle America in 1968. Red-blue spells loss for middle America. Middle America’s contraction and defense started well before 1968.

    Today middle America contracts and defends from eight elephants: war, immigration, ecology, recession, foreclosure, joblessness, tax, and debt. The red-blue paradigm is useless under the trampling siege of eight elephants.

    “Ev”ry way you look at it” middle America wins with 12,000 congresspersons. The 1776 constitution was “baked” for 2.4 million white protestant farmers. Today there are 306 million diverse Americans. It’s time America “bakes” it again.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/
    http://constitutionm2.newsvine.com/
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/_news/2010/06/04/4462088-coach-cm2-constitution

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  3. Why Sortition?

    First, what is sortitioned leadership?

    Sortition is a grass roots finding tool. It mathematically and scientifically duplicates, in smaller populations, the larger America. It does not discriminate, period. There is no gender, ethnic, economic, religious, or political discrimination. It goes a big step further. There is also no discrimination by “resume”, “education”, “intelligence”, “beauty”, or “charisma”. Sortition finds 100% grass roots America, the bottom line, the common sense, the no-holds-barred America.

    The primary mission of government is to set priorities. Priorities determine law, policy, and enforcement. Faulty priority creates failed law, bad policy, and misguided enforcement. Faulty priority leads to failure.

    The primary mission of sortitioned leadership is not law, policy, or enforcement. It is the input and maintenance of proper government priority and genuine grass-roots civilian culture and civility. Priority maintenance is no small task. Witness Massey and BP slide away from safety. Witness war on terror morph into nation building. Witness financial markets morph into casinos. Witness democracy warp to oligarchy. Priority maintenance is no small thing. Faulty priority leads to failure.

    The primary asset of sortitioned leadership is scientifically represented citizen life experience, knowledge, and values. “Resume”, “education”, “intelligence”, and “beauty” are “weighed in” only at existing population levels. Priority is determined by life experience, belief, and values. Priority maintenance is the specialty of sortitioned leadership.

    Sortitioned leadership is the “conscience” behind government. It is grass-roots values, beliefs, and motives empowered to guide, mentor and coach government.

    Government without “conscience” is tyranny. Sortitioned leadership provides government with both “conscience” and a “soul”.

    Step it up, America.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/
    http://constitutionm2.newsvine.com/
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/_news/2010/06/04/4462088-coach-cm2-constitution

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  4. All Roads Lead to Constitutional Reform

    A government besieged by eight elephants: war, immigration, ecology, recession, foreclosure, joblessness, tax, and debt… leads to constitutional reform.

    The longest modern relentless continued history of war on the planet leads to constitutional reform.

    The highest public incarceration rate on the planet leads to constitutional reform.

    Constitutional representation below 5% the proportional level of 1776 leads to constitutional reform.

    A constitution, 68% in amendment and requiring constitutional scholar interpretation leads to constitutional reform.

    Incessant and increasing government poor decision, inaction, stalemate, and incompetence leads to constitutional reform.

    The government of the United States is a shadow if its former 1776 self. Improvement will not occur until the US constitution undergoes significant and profound revision, second verse to a 1776 song.

    Every government on the planet faces these issues, agendas, and challenges. They are not unique to America. They are unique to the millennium. America must adjust.

    It’s time America abandons childish obsessive denial and reorganizes for the future. The changes required are systemic and constitutional. There is no super hero. It’s not about personality. There is no silver bullet. Middle America must rise to the challenge. When this happens, the outlook is positive.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/
    http://constitutionm2.newsvine.com/

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  5. Lopsided Government

    With about 2.0 million civilian employees, the Federal Government, excluding the Postal Service, has fewer employees than Walmart.

    Fed employment numbers:
    http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm
    Total: 2,000,000
    Executive branch (1,664,000)
    Legislative branch (30,000)
    Judicial branch (33,000)
    Independent agencies (180,000)
    Covert agencies (classified)

    What’s wrong with this picture? The executive branch is 5 times larger than the legislative and 5 times larger than the judicial branches. The three constitutional branches were designed to balance each other. How do judicial and legislative branches balance an executive 5 times larger?

    Clearly, the center of US governance is the executive ( oligarchy ) branch. The US executive has one elected member, the president. How democratic is this? Oligarchy leadership fails because oligarchy invariably promotes beyond competence.

    When service in a restaurant suffers, more waiters are required. When fire breaks out everywhere, more fire fighters are required. When crime becomes rampant, more police are required. When democracy falters, more congresspersons are required. America’s lopsided government lacks congresspersons and governance. Step it up, America.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/
    http://constitutionm2.newsvine.com/
    http://coach-1640280.newsvine.com/_news/2010/06/04/4462088-coach-cm2-constitution

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  6. Sortitional selection of legislative bodies should be recognized and supported. Will it take a constitutional amendment? Isn’t it likely to first be implemented at a state level? Where is the leverage point?
    Major problem, is it: It’s diffuse. Where is the champion and how to move special interests out of the way for … everyone’s sake?

    Not sure the place for petitioning is at the polls. But interested.

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  7. I am not sure whether a constitutional amendment would be necessary to implement sortition at the federal level, but this is in any case a very theoretical issue at this point. It will probably be much easier to effect such a change in one of the states that allow for constitutional amendments through the initiative process (e.g., California). This, however, is still a very theoretical issue.

    The first stage must be an informational campaign whose aim would be to build awareness and support for sortition among the population at large. This is exactly what actions like distributing flyers and advertising are supposed to achieve. The task is admittedly daunting, but you have to start somewhere.

    Regarding the content of the manifesto: I think it has to, very briefly make the following points:

    1. The electoral system has been producing poor result for most Americans for 4 decades.

    2. This has been going on under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

    3. The reason for this is that the electoral elite has group interests that are contrary to those of the voters.

    4. Name a few unpopular recent government policies that have been pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations: war, Wall Street bailout, cozying up to fossil fuel interests, etc.

    4. There is an alternative – sortition, the truly democratic institution.

    5. Possibly mention the Athenian precedent.

    6. Sortition will produce a legislative chamber that will be statistically representative.

    7. Such a representative body can be expected to promote the interests of the public.

    8. Finally: to support, or learn more about, this idea, go to Equality-by-Lot, or some other online place we set up for this purpose.

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  8. “The first stage must be an informational campaign whose aim would be to build awareness and support for sortition among the population at large. This is exactly what actions like distributing flyers and advertising are supposed to achieve. The task is admittedly daunting, but you have to start somewhere.”

    Having been involved in many public information campaigns I would prefer the word impossible to daunting. The only way to progress towards our ultimate goals is by demonstration — ie the small experiments that Fishkin etc have been carring out for the last 25 years or so. Fishkin’s approach has the added advantage of not seeking to alienate the existing power elite. I suppose the tactical analogy would be Trotskyite infiltration.

    Unfortunately Yoram and I will never agree on this, as he believes that the great public are all closet kleroterians who just need to be woken up from their slumbers and then empowered (rather like the Marxist-Leninist view of the working class). My view is that the general public think we are completely mad and will only be convinced by a series of small incremental steps. My own books were aimed at ordinary mortals (rather than intellectuals) as was Anthony Barnett’s The Athenian Option, but the only reactions they have engendered have been incredulous sniggers.

    Keith

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  9. Keith –

    > The only way to progress towards our ultimate goals is by demonstration — ie the small experiments that Fishkin etc have been carring out for the last 25 years or so

    I am very much in favor of demonstration. I just do not think that Fishkin’s DPs can be considered as being a demonstration of government by sortition. However, that is a side issue since the activity that I am suggesting is not a competitor to Fishkin’s. His audience is an elite audience while I am suggesting a campaign aimed at an audience that is more representative of the general public.

    > the great public are all closet kleroterians who just need to be woken up from their slumbers

    In the same way that 18th century Americans and French were closet republicans who needed to be woken from their slumbers

    > the only reactions they have engendered have been incredulous sniggers.

    The sniggers come from the intellectuals, which is not surprising. This a revolution that we are discussing here, did you expect to be showered with petals?

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  10. Fishkin is not attempting to demonstrate government by sortition, merely that ordinary people can judge political issues in a competent and thoughtful way, given the right circumstances. This is the groundwork that has to be laid before undertaking any more ambitious projects. It’s really down to others (including you and me) to seek to extrapolate from his work. But you need the empirical evidence first to convince people of the limited goal before there is any realistic hope of going any further. And it doesn’t help to rubbish his work as tokenistic and kowtowing to nefarious elite agendas.

    18th Century Americans merely thought their own representatives would look after their interests better than a government on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The form of government they set up was based upon English experience but without the hereditary element. The transition from electoral representation to government by sortiton is a much bigger conceptual shift.

    Your reference to the French revolution and not expecting to be showered with petals is an alarming one as it reminds me of Robespierre’s observation that omelettes are not made without breaking eggs. But then you’re a self-proclaimed revolutionary and I’m just (according to you) a Madisonian conservative, hence our fundamental disagreement.

    So good luck with your information campaign, but if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath. Martin Davis tried a similar strategy with the elections for the Welsh Assembly (that nobody cares about anyway) and failed dismally. Recent British experience shows that people (the masses in you quaint parlance) are perfectly happy to vote for a monkey as mayor but still can’t get round the idea that ordinary people are the best judge of political issues. In order to convince them otherwise we need practical demonstrations, not information campaigns.

    Keith

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  11. > Fishkin is not attempting to demonstrate government by sortition, merely that ordinary people can judge political issues in a competent and thoughtful way, given the right circumstances

    His experiments do not show that and cannot show that. His setup is political theater and nothing more. On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt that “ordinary people can judge political issues in a competent and thoughtful way, given the right circumstances” except by those who consider themselves “extraordinary”. For such people, the idea that “ordinary” people are incompetent to decide political matters is a self-serving belief that would not be shaken by any experiment.

    > The form of government they set up was based upon English experience but without the hereditary element.

    There must have been people who argued that it is only the nobility that is competent to make political decisions. Besides, the British franchise at the time was much more restricted than the American. There must have also been people around who claimed that one needs to prove that “ordinary” people can vote “in a competent and thoughtful way, given the right circumstances”.

    > omelettes are not made without breaking eggs

    This is certainly true. If you cannot take some self-serving derision from the guardians of the status-quo, then you really cannot expect to make any significant change. Here’s a quote attributed to someone whom you are probably more impressed with than Robespierre: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    > So good luck with your information campaign, but if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath. Martin Davis tried a similar strategy with the elections for the Welsh Assembly (that nobody cares about anyway) and failed dismally.

    Thanks. If Martin was expecting to make much headway in a few months, then he was being over optimistic. I am not expecting to effect a dramatic change within a single election cycle or even within a few years. This is a campaign that would, if successful, last decades.

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  12. The operative word (from the first para) is “judge”. Fishkin has demonstrated that ordinary people can judge an issue in the same way that a jury can decide the outcome of a judicial trial. Most jurers (other than participants in a show trial) would be offended to hear that they were only participants in a piece of theatre. By analogy, your proposal is that the allotted assembly should be be the D.A., the prosecution, the defence, the judge and the executioner without any of the plural checks and balances that are traditionally viewed as a necessary defence of liberty and human rights.

    Regarding Martin Davis, he has made *no* progress at all. By contrast Fishkin has made significant progress towards his own (albeit limited) goals and it’s offensive that you disparage them as “political theater and nothing more”. With friends like you the sortition community certainly doesn’t need any enemies.

    Keith

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  13. One thing that really fascinates me about the Athenian system is that the Assembly chose some (most?) of the administration sortitionally! I would argue for the use of sortition ONLY for the legislative branch, the Citizen Legislature. Every citizen-juror has a ‘ticket’ on the Ship of State to determine that ship’s direction, but the Captain had better be skilled and chosen meritocratically.
    Any comments on use of sortition in modern times for administrative positions?

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  14. Agreed. Choosing administrators by lot is open to all of Socrates’ objections.

    Keith

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  15. Keith –

    > Most jurers (other than participants in a show trial) would be offended to hear that they were only participants in a piece of theatre.

    They may be offended, but it is certainly true to a large extent (although not to the same extent it is true for Fishkin’s setup). The DA decides who to prosecute and on what charges and what evidence to present. The judge decides what the jury gets to hear, and generally runs the show. The jurors are, to a large extent, there to rubber stamp the decisions of the professionals. If they misbehave, they can always be over-ruled in various ways.

    > your proposal is that the allotted assembly should be be the D.A., the prosecution, the defence, the judge and the executioner without any of the plural checks and balances that are traditionally viewed as a necessary defence of liberty and human rights.

    “My proposal” (i.e., the Callenbach and Phillips ‘Citizens’ Legislature’ proposal) gives the allotted chamber no more (and no less) power than the House of Representatives has today, so unless you feel the House has too much power today, it is not clear why you feel this would be true for the allotted chamber.

    > Regarding Martin Davis, he has made *no* progress at all. By contrast Fishkin has made significant progress towards his own (albeit limited) goals and it’s offensive that you disparage them as “political theater and nothing more”.

    Your claim that Davis made no progress is baseless. If due to his campaign the idea of sortition became more familiar to some extent – even to a modest extent – then some progress was made. On the other hand, Fishkin has been active for about two decades and while he has generated some publicity for his method, he made no noticeable contribution to the popularization of the idea of equalization of political power through sortition – a step without which there will be no real change. For someone of his position, he has achieved very little. In fact, it is quite possible that his overall impact for the cause of popular power was negative.

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  16. > Every citizen-juror has a ‘ticket’ on the Ship of State to determine that ship’s direction, but the Captain had better be skilled and chosen meritocratically.

    Are we to believe that elected executives are skilled captains, chosen meritocratically?

    Elected executives, like allotted boards of magistrates would (for the Athenians had almost all magistracies carried out by teams rather than individuals), rely on expert advice.

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  17. Yoram: “In fact, it is quite possible that [Fishkin’s] overall impact for the cause of popular power was negative.”

    Hmm, an interesting comment from the founder of a blog devoted to sortition. Perhaps this is because, like most revolutionaries, you are praying for things to get so bad that “the masses” will rise up and cast off their political chains. Anyone working on small incremental steps is aiding and abetting counter-revoutionary forces — hence your description of me as a “Madisonian reactionary”.

    But you only need a cursory knowledge of history to appreciate that the only revolutions that have endured (the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution) could be more accurately described as reformations. The real revolutions (Russian, French etc.) have ended in disaster. Burke was right all along.

    Regarding the active powers of an allotted (as opposed to elective) assembly, the problem is the notion of consent. But if you want to establish that a microcosm is a better vehicle for consent than clapped out theories of Natural Rights then you need to demonstrate this in practice rather than just proclaim it by theoretical argument. Fishkin’s work is vitally important in this respect. Very few people are persuaded by argument (as we’ve both discovered in our long exchanges).

    Keith

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  18. Keith –

    Your dubious historical analysis aside, you are quite wrong about my hopes and preferred methods.

    I have nothing against small incremental steps – as long as they are steps in the right direction. The situation of “the masses” is bad enough so that no further deterioration is needed – disaffection with the current political system is already widespread. The reason Fishkin’s activity is counter-productive is not that it brings small incremental improvement – quite the opposite – it is that it brings no change at all. Instead, it is merely a tool for legitimating elite rule. The Australian ‘people’s assembly’ on climate proposal, for example, provides a typical case of a Fishkin-like procedure offered by the elites at a convenient juncture to advance elite objectives.

    > Regarding the active powers of an allotted (as opposed to elective) assembly, the problem is the notion of consent.

    No, no – you are being inconsistent here. Last time you complained about the supposed excessive powers of an allotted chamber (“DA, prosecution, defence, judge and executioner”) – this had nothing to do with consent, but with the supposed lack of “plural checks and balances”. If you are conceding that your original argument was untenable and are offering a new argument, please be explicit about that.

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  19. Yoram, we’re never going to agree regarding your quaint division of the world into elites and masses, so not much point arguing over that old canard. I earn my dinners running a printing machine so does that make me one of the masses?

    Regarding the active role of the legislature, the issue is Manin’s claim that the ‘triumph of election’ was on account of the eighteenth-century dominance of Natural Right and Social Contract theory, which emphasised the principle of consent: ‘However lot is interpreted, whatever its other properties, it cannot possible by perceived as an expression of consent’.

    If we want to prove Manin wrong then we need to demonstrate that allotment is a better way of institutionalising consent than preference elections. The person who is doing most in this area is Fishkin. I know you argue that choosing from a pre-defined menu of options is not a form of consent worth having, but you have to start somewhere as the notion that the consent of a randomly-selected microcosm is a working proxy for the consent of the polis is an alien one to most people.

    The education will take five stages:

    1) People already accept that scientifically-sampled public opinion polls are an accurate indication of the uninformed opinion of the whole polis.

    2) Fishkin has demonstrated that the DP process can turn this from uninformed into informed opinion by microcosm deliberation.

    3) The poll at the end of the DP shows that informd opinion can be operationalised into informed judgment.

    4) Fishkin is just beginning to collect tentative evidence that these judgments can be viewed as a legitimate proxy for the informed consent of the whole polis (an informed proxy is better than uninformed approximatation). As more and more DPs are performed this aspect will grow into public confidence in the sortiton process.

    5) This may with time enable sortition to be used for agenda setting (active representation in Pitkin’s terminology). I’m personally sceptical about this, you are confident it is possible. I don’t know where Fishkin stands on the issue. But the point is you can’t go straight to 5 without going through 1-4 . Evolution not revolution is the best way to proceed.

    Keith

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  20. > quaint division of the world into elites and masses

    I would think that the weakness of this “the world is not a black and white” argument is obvious, but I’ll play along. Yes – the world is not crisply divided into elites and masses in the same way that the world is not crisply divided into black and white objects. There are grays and there are whole dimensions of color that are not captured by the black/white dichotomy. All that does not diminish the validity and importance of thinking (in the appropriate context) of objects in terms of their overall luminance and treating them accordingly.

    > Regarding the active role of the legislature, the issue is Manin’s claim that the ‘triumph of election’ was on account of the eighteenth-century dominance of Natural Right and Social Contract theory, which emphasised the principle of consent

    Again – no. That may be the issue you want to bring up now, but originally – two messages ago – you brought up a different matter – that of “checks and balances”. Again – if you want to concede that your previous argument is untenable and present a different argument for the same conclusion, please be explicit about it. Please don’t move the goal posts and pretend you didn’t.

    > As more and more DPs are performed this aspect will grow into public confidence in the sortition process.

    The evidence shows that there already is public confidence in the sortition process – in its “active” form. Unsurprisingly, the doubts that you express about it – and that you project onto the public – are an elite sentiment. As I indicated, I suspect that what is growing from the DP experiments is a new way for the elites – who are calling these DPs, setting up their agendas and generally running the show – to promote their own policy choices under the guise of democracy.

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  21. The American founders had two primary concerns (at least in the context of the present argument):

    1) That popular representation should indicate the consent of the people — Manin argues that this is the reason that sortition was rejected in favour of election. In my paper (that you kindly reviewed) I attempt to refute this argument, calling on Fishkin’s DP results as evidence.

    2) Madison was concerned about the fallibility and iliberality of majoritarian judgment and called for constitutional checks and balances to limit majoritarian power. Whether his concerns were the elite looking after their property interests or a more general sceptical psychology is a matter of debate, but moving from one argument to the other doesn’t imply rejecting the original one. You don’t have much time for Madisonian reactionaries with their tiresome checks and balances, hence your proposals which seem to have more in common with Rousseau’s view on the general will. I don’t need to remind you what that led to.

    I’ll come back to you on the New America Foundation work. once I’ve read the paper. If I remember correctly their work has been criticised because of the voluntary nature of their assembly participants — heavily weighting them in favour of activists, the politically engaged and other such busybodies.

    Keith

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  22. > moving from one argument to the other doesn’t imply rejecting the original one

    If you are not rejecting the original argument against an allotted parliament (checks and balances), then let’s discuss that before we move on to other arguments. Again – how exactly does an allotted parliament provide less checking and balancing than an elected parliament with the same authority?

    > You don’t have much time for Madisonian reactionaries with their tiresome checks and balances, hence your proposals which seem to have more in common with Rousseau’s view on the general will. I don’t need to remind you what that led to.

    Again, I would probably not subscribe to your historical view, but that aside, my problem with Madisonian checks and balances is that despite all the high-flying rhetoric, it is quite obviously no more than a way to privilege certain minorities at the expense of other minorities as well as various majorities. I have not yet heard any argument that addresses that.

    By the way, this skeptical view of Madisonian checks and balances was expressed by no lesser a mainstream authority than Robert Dahl, so it is definitely not limited to irresponsible revolutionaries such as my humble myself.

    > New America Foundation

    I am in no way endorsing the agenda or proposals of the New America Foundation which, if I remember correctly, is an elite organization that was pushing the failed attempt to form a California constitutional convention. My point was solely related to the widespread popular support for sortition which is expressed by the public’s survey responses recorded in the table at the bottom of page 3 of the document.

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  23. Yoram, I concede the logical point that the issue of checks and balances is not pertinent to the distinction between an allotted or elected chamber with the same powers. The point I was trying to make (and it’s the overriding argument in my book) is that the DP model –in which the allotted assembly decides issues which have been introduced independently and subjected to balanced independent advocacy — provides better checks and balances than an assembly that combines all these functions. But the main argument that needs to be refuted is Manin’s “problem of consent” — until you have done that then the issue is simply off the radar. Practical people (as opposed to those pursuing an ideal normative agenda) would be more concerned with this issue.

    Regarding your research paper there is a massive difference between public support for a “citizens study group” to propose electoral reform and your implied claim (the public would support the C&P proposal to replace Congress with an allotted house). If we want sortition to become a regular part of the legislative process then we need to support Fishkin’s cautious and gradualist approach to convincing the public that this is a better way of establishing consent than electoral representation. Note that in the project that you refer to the recommendations of the allotted group were put to the ballot of all voters — thereby endorsing Manin’s conclusions.

    I’m off on holiday next week.

    Keith

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  24. With only one other known kindred spirit for sortition until recently the discovery of other like minds in the fray is encouraging indeed.

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