Reblogged this on Fraudcast News and commented:
Excellent, clear, concise, pro-democracy video critique of elections by David Van Reybrouck. Makes the strong case for random selection of politicians and explains why we don’t have it today.
Interesting that there is no mention of the difference in scale between ancient poleis and modern states and the resultant need for representation (the word doesn’t feature in the video). Also no mention of how to operationalise the voices of people not selected by lot. I’m also puzzled by the odd claim that annual sortitions for magistrates in Athens somehow led to long-term thinking.
Jefferson’s “natural aristocracy” was certainly not politicians, He was defending republicanism.
“I would say, purely and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens.”
You have cut off the quote just before a crucial point:
Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township. The first shade from this pure element, which, like that of pure vital air, cannot sustain life of itself, would be where the powers of the government, being divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen either pro hac vice, or for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents.
For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. […] The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. […] May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?
The “natural aristocracy” of virtue and talents was counterposed to the “tinsel aristocracy” of wealth and birth, toward which Adams was predisposed.
Jefferson could not imagine a town meeting of millions but he could imagine a republic built upon town meetings similar to New England’s- his “ward republics.”
All the more puzzling that van Reybrouck doesn’t mention the need for political representation (active or descriptive) in large states, instead choosing to focus on an archaic method for selecting government officers in small poleis where every male citizen had the opportunity to rule and be ruled in turn. He doesn’t even mention Athenian legislative juries or (directly) the Council, which some claim (wrongly) to be the template for modern incarnations of deliberative democracy.