I think it will help us, and could help many other people, to have a useful order of questions for designing a democratic legislative system. I’m not saying “the right order of questions,” or even “the most useful order” – only “a useful order.” I’m also not suggesting that we should follow this order in our conversations. Instead, I think it could act as a useful reference point for those times when someone says, “Wait a minute – it’s premature to talk about x before we’ve settled y.”
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Criteria – What criteria should define a “democratic” and “good” legislative system?
- Categories of actors – Which broad categories of actors (e.g. all the people, allotted representatives, elected representatives, all-purpose versus limited-purpose representatives, staff) should play important roles in the legislative process? What roles should they play?
- Activities – What are the main activities that must (or should?) be carried out in a democratic legislative process, and in what order? In some cases order will matter, in others it won’t.
- Bodies and offices – Which specific bodies and offices (e.g. allotted chamber, single issue panels) should carry out each activity, playing what roles?
- Processes – What processes should be used for each activity?
What do you think? I look forward to your ideas, and I’m hoping that maybe together we can create a simple structure that will not only help us, but many others as well.