Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips, who coauthored with Ernest Callenbach the book A Citizen Legislature (2nd ed., Imprint Academic, 2008), recently posted on his blog about selection by lot. (In A Citizen Legislature, he and Callenbach propose the selection of the U.S. House of Representatives by lot.) The posting can be found at

http://phillips.blogs.com/goc/2010/09/random-in-politics.html?cid=6a00d834515c6d69e2013486af5914970c

The posting provides some useful context regarding the book. I had thought that Phillips might no longer endorse the ideas in the book, and so it is interesting to see that he does.

I do, however, sincerely hope that the opening line is meant to be tongue-in-cheek:

“I know that among the many many contributions to human thought for which I will get credit long after I die, the use of random selection for political bodies will be one for which I will get credit.”

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2 Responses

  1. The interesting (and reassuring) thing is that pretty well everyone working in this field (apart from Peter who, if I recall correctly, was just looking for a PhD topic) thinks they have invented sortition through their own sheer intellectual brilliance, only to discover they were re-inventing a very worn wheel. To my mind this makes sortition look like a natural “archetypal” intuition, rather than just another a crazy theory.

    Keith

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  2. The recurring independent re-discovery of sortition is not only a testimony to its appeal but also a testimony to the power of the orthodoxy to control public discourse and knowledge.

    Like

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