Some highlights from another online discussion of sortition:
Sortition or selection by lot was used in ancient Greece and is currently used to form juries. My question is whether this should be extended to choose our local councillors and state politicians.
Absolutely! The best possible government is one that has to live with its own decisions, rather than handing decisions down for others to carry out, pay for and suffer the consequences, while the rules themselves are exempt. If all citizens may, at any time, be called upon to administer the state, it becomes a duty of all citizens, rather than the privilege of a few.
I love the idea of sortition but there are some issues, one of which is an impassable roadblock to sortition.
1) Many people do not have the capacity to understand the issues. There would need to be some filtering, lest chance bring us a leadership gang of profoundly unintelligent people. That leads us to the question of who does the filtering, and how capacity to understand policy issues can be ascertained. It’s a corruptible process.
2) How would people feel about being hauled from their comfortable lives to engage in the intensely demanding work of politics, not to mention the intrusiveness of what would be necessary security measures?
3) Here is the dealbreaker – the Anglosphere’s media is dominated by Rupert Murdoch’s partisan news outlets. While this situation remains true democracy is not possible in those affected countries, evidenced by our rapid slide towards an ever more powerful powerful oligarchy. Sortition would require approval of Rupert Murdoch and his helpers, and that would require him to surrender some of the immense power he has worked tirelessly to build up over many decades. It won’t happen.
The whole concept of democracy rests on the same premises that are used as objections to the real practice of democracy. 1. That adult citizens are capable of decisions regarding their own lives and social structures., 2. That a constitution and laws can be upheld by a reasonable polity, reasonably administered. and 3. That no special talent or training are required to conduct the legislative processes (After all, we do let shopkeepers run for office and farmers vote for them.) We already assume that we can manage both to select and to instruct a jury that has the power of life and death over one individual. We already trust our fellow citizens with our health, our children, our safety, every minute of the day.
Filed under: Sortition |