This is a change of pace from the previous posts, and an issue not yet discussed on EbyL as far as I know. To express a new dynamic between citizen and political institutions, through selection by lot and possibly other reforms, would we need a word besides “gov’t”?
The full article is here. I suggest we comment on that site (DaftBlogger), especially explaining sortition or Equality by Lot, as a way to develop some cross traffic and build awareness.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
Finally, uncannily, a philosophical-linguistic dimension leaves us astounded and open-mouthed.
The word “govern” means to rule over, originating from the Greek kybernân = to steer and kybernḗt = helmsman, tillerman! The word “cybernetics,” by the way, shares this root.
Mr. Tillerman is no appraisal of contemporary government, or American isolationism, or American imperialism. Mr. Tillerman stands for 2500 years of a conception of government as controlling, disciplining machine. To some, it means controlling the masses or keeping their hands off the property of elites. For others, it means checking the abuse of the weak by the strong. For some, it means limiting the influence of social organizations like the church. Again for others, it means curbing the economic power of moneyed elites.
Mr. Tillerman stands for a society that controls the unpredictable by casting its lines only within its own ship over which it stands vigilant guard. He stands for a society that keeps order by making sure its members are helpless or “armless.” He points out that you cannot “govern” over equals because governing implies inferiors, those who lack something–knowledge, virtue, or money–that you have. Whatever that distinction it becomes a category justifying subordination or, worse yet, exclusion all together.
For a progressive idealists, this begins a heavy task, a deep exploration. What if today we want a new kind of political entity, one built on reflecting the knowledge, values, and goals of society and coordinating its collective action rather than controlling its individuals? What would we call such a thing?
Whether you judge this new organization can best be achieved through electoral reform, the use of technology, or the use of sortition, whether you call the regime a “participatory democracy,” “sociocracy,” “demarchy,” or “lottocracy,” if you still call it “government” you betray the ideal of equality and representativeness or miss-articulate the values of this new state. These thoughts led me to the following neologism (as a first attempt at) articulating this ideal for the 21st Century:
Politdoche = representative coadjument entity organizing a body politic.
Greek polis (city) + dochë (received).
It would receive/reflect a people rather than command its members. It would coordinate healthy social actions rather than prohibit undesirable ones. If you do not like “politdoche,” please find a better one, share it, and begin using it. Who knows, it might be the one that these revolutions, these crises, and these dead ends need to find a way forward. More needs to be said about this. More I hope will soon be.