Hartz-Karp: Unlike the Athenians, we don’t believe that every citizen is capable of participating in important decision-making

Janette Hartz-Karp, a professor at the Sustainability Policy Institute at Curtin University, has a sortition advocacy piece in The Conversation. It covers well known ground: history, diversity, deliberation, applications in Australia, etc.

The opening of the “What’s the obstacle to reform?” section is interesting:

So why isn’t deliberative democracy happening more often? Simple. Those in power are wary about sharing their power.

Unlike the Athenians, we don’t believe that every citizen is capable of participating in important decision-making. We assume most people are too self-interested to make decisions for the common good.

This seems to conflate two different ideas:

  1. Resistance by the elite,
  2. Anti-democratic sentiments in the population.

The first idea is clear and presents a general phenomenon. Power concedes nothing without a demand.

The second idea, however, is more intriguing. How resistant are the people themselves to democratic rule? If they are, why? An empirical study of this question could be useful.

The article also generated a lively conversation in the comments.

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44 Responses

  1. Sure there are such studies, Yoram, there is no surprise.

    We know from a large number of empirical prediction market experiments that 90% of people consider themselves more knowledgeable in any specific topic (thus capable of making better decisions) than the average other person which is of course a statistical impossibility.

    In other words: We generally think ourselves quite a bit better than most other people.

    That’s a key reason why Athenian sortition does not work nowadays. If we ever want to see sortition in practice, we must take this behavioural factor into consideration. Other than in the most primitive of societies, we cannot ignore the Hayekian knowledge pattern connected to the specialisation which comes with human progress.

    That’s why the Vienna Model envisages prediction competitions to give more weight to more foresightful citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We assume most people are too self-interested to make decisions for the common good.

    It’s interesting that Yoram views this as an “anti-democratic sentiment”. The common good is the central theme of Rousseau’s political theory –Rousseau was no democrat and his work has had profoundly undemocratic consequences. Democracy is normally regarded as the people having power, rather than referring to normative considerations (“goodness”). It has also been pointed out to Yoram (by Terry if I remember correctly) that there is no necessary connection between rule in the interests of the people and the people having power. I think it would prevent a lot of going round in circles is Yoram would explain to us what he means by democracy and representation as he is not using either term in the conventional sense.

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  3. The confusion is well illustrated by one of the comments:

    No, I don’t class a democracy that produces racist decisions as working.

    I call a democracy that works, one that brings positive outcomes for society and clearly racism isn’t a positive outcome.

    Normative and epistemic considerations like “positive outcomes for society” have no necessary connection with the question of who rules. Unchecked majoritarian democracy is more likely to lead to racist outcomes than mixed governance or enlightened dictatorship.

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  4. @Keith: “positive outcomes for society” have no necessary connection with the question of who rules.

    Sorry to disagree, but I do, absolutely.

    And I am saying nothing new there. Ludwig v. Mises already pointed out that any form of rule which would lowers the average standard of living (i.e. has negative outcomes for society) will topple once the degree of exceeds an sufferable degree, compared to better ruled societies. And as we know today he was right, as shown by the large and replicable occurrences of failed communist rules.

    The more societal knowledge flows into the political decision making, the better the outcome will be as evaluated by society. Therefore it is a bad idea to give random people an equal say in every random topic.

    The opposite is true. We must identify those who know most (as proven by predicting correctly) on any given topic, and let them rule on a single decision basis only, bounded by the indispensible condition of sociodemographic stratification.

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  5. HJ

    You are conflating normative and analytical/numerical modes of enquiry. We all want good and sustainable outcomes, but democracy is simply a question of who rules (or, more accurately, who has power). Attempts to define democracy in terms of consequences such as the “general good” is a category error, or ignoratio elenchi, especially as these normative/epistemic considerations have no necessary or exclusive connection to democracy.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. hjhofkirchner,

    The statistic you refer to is interesting but is at best a starting point. If people think of themselves as knowing better than others, why do they still support universal suffrage and plebiscites? Why would they support giving other people the vote but not giving them decision making power in the form of an allotted chamber?

    Also, where does this idea of knowing better than others come from? Are people born with it or is it inculcated?

    The extent to which people hold democratic or counter-democratic ideas seems like a wide and rich area of empirical study.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “If people think of themselves as knowing better than others, why do they still support universal suffrage and plebiscites?”

    The “higher than average” average self-reported competence is simply derived from behavioural surveys.

    Do you consider universal suffrage and plebiscites as inconsistent with this finding? After all, these tools give that superior person (…) at least some say.

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  8. My point is that if those I-am-better-than-average people support universal voting rights, then there is no reason they would not support sortition with a universal allotment pool. Rejecting sortition is no more a direct consequence of their beliefs than a rejection of universal voting rights.

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  9. Are you sure there is no reason?

    At least, there is a difference:
    In the universal scenario, their fantastic me is guaranteed a say. With sortition their chance to have a say is very small.

    In the context of behavioural prospect theory this is an important difference.

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  10. I don’t see how that makes a difference. their votes would be washed out by the votes of the majority whom they consider to have bad judgment.

    I would say that some people do tend to justify their dismissal of sortition by saying that politicians are screened, via the electoral process, for some sort of merit (intelligence, organizational skills). Now, I hear this a lot but I wonder whether this sentiment is limited to the relatively more educated and wealthier circles that I find myself in. That is the kind of questions that an empirical study would answer.

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  11. Yoram,

    >I would say that some people do tend to justify their dismissal of sortition by saying that politicians are screened, via the electoral process, for some sort of merit (intelligence, organizational skills). Now, I hear this a lot but I wonder whether this sentiment is limited to the relatively more educated and wealthier circles that I find myself in.

    I would imagine the opposite is true (on account of the principle of deference). I also note your acknowledgement that you are a member of the cultural and economic elite.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maybe I phrased it badly but when reading your paragraph, our thinking seems to be in synch.

    The election process itself “ennobles” politicians so they at least appear to be better than the random (average) people. This is partly due to availability bias through fame produced by media mentions.

    Even so, probably most politicians are of above-average ability, none withstanding the electoral system’s negative effects on even the best person’s actual performance in the elected office.

    And no, this above-average sentiment is not limited to the elite. Especially people with below average capability rate themselves as above average. Here are some empirical studies:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

    As a way to “ennoble” random citizens, we want to try out foresight-weighted sortition in our Rule § 6 (www.99pct.org). We are still looking for a pilot project though, so cannot offer data if this solves the perceived (or factual) inferiority of random citizens.

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  13. Whether or not politicians are endowed with some “above-average ability” (to do what? get elected?), is immaterial. Their capabilities (if any) can be utilized by an allotted chamber much better than they can be utilized by mass voting.

    The democratic sentiment is that people are the best representatives of their own interests. From this, the claim that sortition (from a universal pool) is the democratic mechanism for making group decisions follows.

    The question thus boils down to this: do we believe that people should be managed by their betters against their will? Such a position can certainly be coherently presented. But it cannot coherently be called “democratic”.

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  14. Yoram:

    From the earlier post that you referenced:

    A small group of people, under reasonably favorable conditions, is able to represent its own interests. This claim is not directly associated with sortition, but is rather a claim about the political dynamics of small groups of people in general.

    You are conflating a necessary assumption of utilitarian moral philosophy (how to calculate the greatest good of the greatest number) with an epistemic claim. From an epistemic perspective the interests of the group might be better determined by the Delphic Oracle or an all-knowing artificial intelligence (or, dare I say it, a wise statesperson).

    The claim is that when a small group of people, meeting on an a-priori egalitarian basis, has the opportunity to make collective decisions that would promote the interests of the members as they perceive them, then it will tend to do so. This is a situation which most people would be familiar with – group decision making in the family, within a group of friends or with colleagues.

    .

    A priori egalitarianism is a purely theoretical construct. Families and groups of colleagues are hierarchical and groups of friends are equally subject to domination by alpha males and queen bees.

    “A small group” is taken to be a group in which all-to-all communication is possible. The upper size limit of such a group would depend on the circumstances, but even under the most favorable circumstances a few hundred people seems like the most that would fit the description.

    The imaginary group dynamic that you suggest above only applies to tiny groups (the upper limit is generally viewed by deliberative democrats as around a dozen). In the larger groups required for statistical representation the disparity between the speech acts of a self-selecting vocal minority and the majority will be even greater and the perlocutionary differentials will reflect the status and rhetorical skills of the different speakers. As such there is no reason why a fully-deliberative random sample will reflect the interests of the target population. All sortitionists can do is make the tautological claim that different large samples of the same target population would judge the outcome of a debate in a similar manner, given certain strict independence conditions. As such the decision of the group would reflect what the majority would think under good conditions. Whether or not the decision would be in the interests of the majority depends on the wisdom of the population and the quality of the advocacy presented to them.

    But we’ve been over all this before.

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  15. @ Yoram:

    “Do we believe that people should be managed by their betters against their will?”

    As under the Vienna Model the sortitionist party will draw its influence on public management from its vote share in general elections. Ergo, there is just as much “will” to be ruled by the representatively sortitioned (but on average, far above-average) citizens than today by the elected (but non-representative) reperesentatives.

    Further, a sortitionist party member has a fair chance to participate in a collective decision where he is more knowledgeable and foresightful (better) than other members of the general population, so inherently he is himself such a better in some topics..

    @ Keith:

    1. A demarchic committee is a well-defined institution. An analogy to emerging orders such as groups of friends or other institutions such as families does not apply.

    2. There is no issue in an optimal deliberative group size being several dozens. Please refer to any statistical confidence level calculator and you will see that with just a 15 percent confidence interval (i.e. a 65% supermajority) 43 people can represent the whole planet if needed. Even so, we can always split the citizen sample in subcommittes and using statistical methods to combine their outcomes. It is good practice to oversample minorities, for example, provided that relevant statistical adjustments are made, when calculating the actual vote outcome.

    The important thing is – and it’s John Burnheim who made this point extremely clear: Man’s collective decisions must become as efficient as his private and business decisions. Therefore, sampling must be efficient for the decision at hand. We should use not less but also not more citizen sample than statistically necessary.

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  16. hjhofkirchner,

    > Ergo, there is just as much “will” to be ruled by the representatively sortitioned (but on average, far above-average) citizens than today by the elected (but non-representative) reperesentatives.

    Indeed. But by comparing the mechanism you propose to elections, you are setting the bar very low. A more reasonable question would be, and should be, would people prefer appointing others (“community leaders”) to sit in parliament or would they prefer to sit there themselves.

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  17. *** Yoram Gat wrote (March 5) : « My point is that if those I-am-better-than-average people support universal voting rights, then there is no reason they would not support sortition with a universal allotment pool ». Logical reasoning, but maybe the empirical findings could be different. I know only one piece of strong empirical evidence.
    *** On 2006 October, Ségolène Royal, one of the main French political personalities of the time, candidate to the presidency of the French Republic, issued a public proposal involving sortition. She proposed that elected representatives should “rendre compte” (report to, be accountable to) allotted citizen juries. Such an idea was to trigger an extraordinary negative and strident reaction in the political and media elite, with the citizen juries being associated to Jacobin Terror, to Maoist China and to Red Khmer Kampuchea (historical situations where there was no hint of sortition !)
    *** But the public opinion reaction was very different. In a following opinion pool, 59% of the French citizens approved the proposal ; a proposal which was alien to the French political tradition, which was at this time totally removed from the political debate, which was not favored by any other prominent politician, from the far right to the far left. Such a 59% approval in these circumstances at least means that the conservatism and the deference are not so strong forces against the sortition idea. At least in France ; that may be different in other polyarchies as UK, USA , India ….

    Liked by 1 person

  18. HJH,

    I agree that the analogy to emerging orders such as groups of friends or other institutions such as families does not apply to political decision making — this was the argument from Yoram that I was trying to refute.

    Regarding the “efficiency” of political decision making, John Burnheim has recently argued his rhetorical question Is Democracy Possible? in the negative — democracy is neither possible nor desirable. The case for demarchy, according to John, is epistemic — sortition is just an impartial mechanism for selecting councillors and has nothing to do with representation. My concerns, although partly epistemic, are primarily democratic. As the vast majority of citizens would be losing the franchise it is essential that decisions are returned with a very high confidence level, particularly in areas (like Brexit), where the population is evenly divided. (The statistician that I have consulted argues for a minimum sample of 1,000 with a very tightly constrained deliberative mandate.) And rather than combining sortition and competence testing in a single group of decision makers, my preference is to allocate proposal/advocacy and judgment to persons selected by different methods.

    Andre,

    >[Royal] proposed that elected representatives should “rendre compte” (report to, be accountable to) allotted citizen juries [and] 59% of the French citizens approved the proposal.

    It would be interesting to know what the approval rate would have been in the unlikely event that she proposed replacing election with sortition.

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  19. “The statistician that I have consulted argues for a minimum sample of 1,000 with a very tightly constrained deliberative mandate.”

    This is a mathematical question, Keith. If you ask your statistician how large a sample can represent a global simple majority for 7.5 billion people with 95% confidence, given a supermajority sample vote of 65% (which allows for a 15% confidence interval) the exact answer is invariably: 43.

    Not 1000. Not “minimum”. Just 43.

    (Which also happens to be 42+1)

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  20. HJH,

    Then why do opinion polls use much larger samples, and then still fail to accurately represent the target population? (And I can’t see the figures of 95% and 65% being acceptable from the perspective of democratic legitimacy unless the issue under debate was entirely uncontroversial.) I cannot understand how the sheer empirical diversity of human societies (this has nothing to do with mathematics) can be accurately represented with such a tiny sample. Needless to say this could be resolved very easily by randomly sampling several groups of 43 people in parallel and seeing if their deliberations led to the same outcome.

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  21. “Then why do opinion polls use much larger samples, and then still fail to accurately represent the target population?”

    Why, on diagnostic questions they certainly do represent the target population?

    “This could be resolved very easily by randomly sampling several groups of 43 people in parallel and seeing if their deliberations led to the same outcome.”

    Yes, that’s in fact how it is done. Please add: ” … in 95 % of the exercises.”

    Appendix:

    Should you be thinking of prognostic questions such as an election poll, please note that a vote is a very different beast to a poll. Here is a paper summarising more than 600 experiments which show what all can go wrong if researchers are naive enough as to use ancient methodology (the questionnaire) to elicit people’s prognostic beliefs, despite a plethora of unavoidable biases and errors.

    https://www.esomar.org/web/research_papers/Prediction-Markets_2638_Predicting-the-Future.php

    In a nutshell: Once you are aware that there may be issues, it becomes quite obvious that “Whom do you vote for?” is a completely different question from “Whom would you vote for if we had elections on Sunday?”

    One’s expected subjective (von Neumann-Morgenstern) utility of giving one answer, or another, or none, rests on entirely different factors.

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  22. Ulp, now I know why I’m not a mathematician!

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  23. I knew since 3:28pm CET that you’re not a mathematician. :-)

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  24. Let’s stay with mathematics, though, for a moment as it is very useful to answer your second question:

    “And I can’t see the figures of 95% and 65% being acceptable from the perspective of democratic legitimacy”

    Using the principle described in the calculation example above we can be much more ambitious for actual proposals of demarchy. Take a sample voting with an 80% supermajority. Citizen juries organised by New Democracy in Australia seem to achieve this quite regularly. If you plug in the numbers we can see that the sample needed to represent not just a simple but global supermajority of 65% for all 7.5 billion people on our planet with a 99% confidence is exactly: 73. This is still a manageable number for intense deliberation.

    The 99% confidence level is by the way exactly the level we want for the Vienna Model (and the reason for our URL: http://www.99pct.org)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Andre,

    Very interesting. Do you a link to the opinion poll you refer to? I’d like to create a post about that.

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  26. Given that political representation is an empirical problem, I’m surprised by the view that it can be resolved a priori by mathematical formula (HJH) or logical syllogism (Yoram).if only the real world were that simple.

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  27. *** I reminded empirical evidence : when Ségolène Royal proposed that elected representatives should “rendre compte” (report to, be accountable to) allotted citizen juries, 59% of the French citizens approved the proposal.
    *** Keith Sutherland observed : « It would be interesting to know what the approval rate would have been in the unlikely event that she proposed replacing election with sortition. »
    *** Good remark. Personally, I think that French people would accept easily an allotted Senate, because for now it is formed through indirect election ; or an allotted Criminal Jury for political misdeeds of ministers, for the same reason; it would be more difficult to have them accept an allotted First Chamber ; and very difficult to have them accept that the President would be elected by a minipublic rather than by the whole citizenry : the presidential election is the one which gets more participation (84 % in 2007, whereas the following election to the first Chamber was only 60 %), the one where citizens feel they are maybe really powerful .
    *** For the system converting to ortho-democracy, the critical step would be an allotted First Chamber ; keeping an election of the President by the whole citizenry is not a problem, if the procedure is designed by an allotted First Chamber.
    *** Note than anyway the mentioned poll is evidence that there is no strong spontaneous hostility to sortition, grounded on a principle of hostility to random selection or to the « principle of reverence » mentioned by Keith (March 5, 2017 at 8:49 pm).

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  28. >I think that French people would accept easily an allotted Senate, because for now it is formed through indirect election

    Agree. Second chambers are the best starting point.

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  29. Keith,

    “I’m surprised by the view that it can be resolved a priori by mathematical formula (HJH) or logical syllogism (Yoram).”

    This sentence shows at least two misunderstandings, which I correct as follows:

    1. Realistically, the aim is to improve on the current status quo of installing elected representatives. I am highly sceptical of any “resolving” in social matters. We can strive for progress but there will always be more room for improvement even after we progressed.

    2. The mathematical formula serves to define the number of committee members needed. I certainly made no claim that it can resolve any other purpose than that.

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  30. hjhofkirchner,

    I’ve long given up on trying to correct Sutherland’s “misunderstandings”. I found that his ability to misunderstand things knows no bounds.

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  31. >The mathematical formula serves to define the number of committee members needed

    The number of committee members needed to consistently represent the target population can only be determined experimentally. Once that has been done then the results can be expressed by a mathematical formalism. The formula can’t pre-define the numbers, it’s the other way round. But the math approach is an improvement on deductive logical syllogisms.

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  32. Hjhofkirchner is right that an act approved by at least 80% of a 73 person sampling will have a 99% chance of having at least 50% approval in the general population. It’s just statistics. This assumes, of course, that there’s no internal deliberation. When there’s no discussion there’s no difference between drawing supporters from the population or colored balls from a hat. It’s pure math.

    When consensus is found through discussion we can reasonably expect statistical deviations to be amplified. If it is the general consensus of the sampling that a decision must be found and a decision only goes into effect if approved by a large supermajority, then there will be tremendous pressure to accept the majority position of the group. This position may or may not be the same as the majority position of the general public. On the other hand, it might not matter too much in practice. After all, if almost the whole sampling was persuaded to support a proposal then it may well be the case that the public’s preferences are malleable on the issue and the action will not draw much ire. When an issue is controversial and public’s preferences are entrenched the result will most likely be gridlock. Alternatively, the sampling may find a consensus in delegating the authority to resolve the matter to a more representative body with a lower passage threshold.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Naomi,

    This brings us back to familiar ground…If the vote of a smallish sample is overwhelming (a supermajority), we accept the result. If it is a close vote, we call a new, larger mini-public to reconsider the issue and follow the majority decision. The remedy is NOT to establish a supermajority threshold for a small mini-public, because usually NO decision IS, in effect, a decision to endorse the status quo, allowing a minority to rule.

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  34. Interesting points, Naomi & Tbericus.

    “through discussion we can reasonably expect statistical deviations to be amplified”

    I agree completely that a sample post-discussion may well vote different to the general population without a deliberation. But that is an intentional feature and not a bug. The basic idea is that a group discussion will lead to a better informed decision. For example, we always have a board discussion before taking strategic business decisions, and there is a good reason for that. This solves the problem that is is neither realistic nor efficient (in Burnheim’s sense) to have have 7.5 billion citizens on the planet discuss just one collective issue.

    “we call a new, larger mini-public to reconsider the issue”

    This has a foul smell of: When those in power don’t like the outcome, they have the citizens do it again.

    We sometimes do as follows (i.e. for the prognostic part where we apply prediction markets. I cannot comment on demarchic decisions, so far):

    We recruit three cohorts and run them through exactly the same prediction market exercise. Important: Exact replication, no changes to the maths of the structure. Then we go with the outcome of at least two of the three, assuming the outlier to be a realisation of the stochastic 1%.

    Hubertus

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  35. Naomi,

    >When there’s no discussion there’s no difference between drawing supporters from the population or colored balls from a hat. It’s pure math. When consensus is found through discussion we can reasonably expect statistical deviations to be amplified.

    Thanks for the clarification (and welcome back). I do think we all need to focus on whether or not the decision-making process is perceived as legitimate — whether or not decisions would “draw much ire”. Modern democratic sensibilities presuppose that the will of each sovereign individual has equal sway. This, inevitably, leads to the need for choice, and I don’t think many people will give up their infinitesimally-small share to a tiny randomly-selected group unless it can be demonstrated (both empirically and mathematically) that it makes no difference to the outcome whether or not they were personally included (as is the case with election). Unfortunately this will mean that the citizens sampled will have to assume the status of coloured balls drawn from a hat (which is what they are) rather than interactive participants in a rich deliberative process. In short representative equality will have to be just as demonstrable as it is under current electoral arrangements — however distasteful that is to deliberative and epistemic democrats.

    Terry,

    >NO decision IS, in effect, a decision to endorse the status quo, allowing a minority to rule.

    That’s a tad whiggish. Conservatives would argue that it’s just the principle of it it ain’t broke then don’t fix it and that past wisdom and traditions should be respected (rather than dismissed as the products of plutocratic oligarchy, patriarchy, racism or whatever) until the case for change is demonstrably proven.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. “it should make no difference to the outcome whether or not they were personally included”

    This is particularly true in the light of the evidence cited by Hubertus demonstrating that people with below average capability rate themselves as above average. Such people would not defer to the opinions of randomly-selected loudmouths.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. For a high school project, I need to show how Enlightenment ideas can be used to solve a modern day problem. Are there any that I could tie in, however loosely, with the idea of sortition? Thanks so much.

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  38. (I’m looking for people who either supported sortition or whose ideas could be extrapolated as such – since I really want to write about sortition!)

    A somewhat expedient response would be appreciated. :)

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  39. Hi Will,

    A possible topic to explore is how enlightenment age political thinking promoted elections as a republican tool (later re-branded “democratic”), sweeping aside mixed elections/sortition mechanisms offered by earlier republicans (see here for example).

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  40. Interesting article, Yoram (although the site overall seems to be extremely far right and dare I say essentially racist! – not that that necessarily matters if the info is good)

    Anyway, what you say in your post does line up with what I’d seen from some quick research — that sortition wasn’t really discussed during the Enlightenment.

    I do wonder if perhaps I could try to “extrapolate” some democratic Enlightenment thinkers’ information to suggest that sortition would be in keeping with the “spirit” of their words, though. For instance if some Enlightenment thinker said something like, “Democracy is government by the people, and aristocracy/oligarchy is government by a small powerful class,” then I could build off that and argue that we have oligarchy. And then maybe if some other Enlightenment guy said “Democracy should involve equal opportunity to participate, and elections are the best way to do that,” I could argue that elections were the best way to do that but times have changed and the best way to make sure there is that equal opportunity is through sortition.

    The thing about this project is that I will have to write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper or to a politician explaining a modern day problem and a way to use Enlightenment ideas to fix it.

    Writing about sortition would be really cool but perhaps it’s just not the right topic when you have to focus on the Enlightenment. After all, I can always send the mayor or whoever a letter about sortition as a separate thing, I suppose. :)

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  41. Extrapolation sounds like a reasonable strategy. A good catchphrase to extrapolate from could be John Adams’s statement about how the representative assembly “should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large” http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch4s5.html.

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  42. Wow cool! That would indeed work quite well.

    Ultimately, I think I will actually decide to write about something else, because A) the connection from the Enlightenment to sortition is still rather weak, and my teacher is probably hoping for something a little more connected and B) we only have a very short time (until Friday) to work on this assignment and I’m not sure if I can do sortition justice in that limited time.

    In any case, though, thank you very much for your quick and helpful responses. I certainly won’t forget about sortition.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. @ Will: “the connection from the Enlightenment to sortition is still rather weak”

    Van Reybrouck digs out a few references to Enlightenment in the history section of Against Elections:

    “In the eighteenth century, the century of the Enlightenment, great philosophers turned their attention to the democratic form of government. Montesquieu, founder of the modern constitutional state, repeated in his The Spirit of the Laws of 1748 the insight that Aristotle had expressed two millennia earlier, ‘Voting by lot is in the nature of democracy; voting by choice is in the nature of aristocracy.”

    He continues with refs to Diderot, d’Alembert, and Rousseau.

    Good luck with your paper and your teacher.

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  44. Oh, interesting, thanks. Sounds like things might be a little more connected than I thought.

    Regardless of whether I end up writing about this, this history has been fascinating. I should probably try to get that book. It was actually a Guardian article with an adapted excerpt of itt where I first heard about sortition!

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