Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A modest proposal ...

The kleroterion was a stone thing that you stuck names in. Then you ran come colored balls through a tube, and the row/column the white ball landed on would be the ‘winners’. Animation via TedEd

Back in 2015, BRT posted a piece titled Sortition = Equality by Lot, whereby citizens of ancient Athens were randomly selected by lot to run the government for X amount of time, the only true way democracy can actually happen as the notion of "electing" specific individuals goes away, thus eliminating the creation of a defacto ruling oligarchy, a situation that has plagued the US for over 200 years.

To whit:

Sortition,  election by lot, a method of choosing public officials in some ancient Greek city-states. It was used especially in the Athenian democracy, from which most information about the practice is derived. With few exceptions, all magistrates were chosen by lot, beginning with the archons in 487–486 bc; likewise the Boule (council) of 500 and the juries of the law courts were chosen by lot. The practice of sortition obviated electoral races and provided for the regular turnover of officeholders. The operations of government were thus not in the hands of experts, but, through the system of sortition, the Athenian democracy provided at least some practical political education for its citizens.

The rationale of sortition was the equality of all citizens. 

Seems more people are starting to ask why sortition cannot be the law of the land in the US given just how corrupt, expensive and inept our government has come to be.

The Greeks called this system of random access democracy sortition. Think for a moment how sortition would look in the modern world. It would basically look like jury duty. You’d go to vote and instead of selecting the local lord or drug lord, you’d put your own name in, if you wanted. There’d be no campaigning, no advertising, just go home and watch the lottery results. Then you’d end up with a Parliament that literally represented the people.

You’d immediately get 50% women’s representation, no quotas required. You’d immediately get far more poor and middle-class people represented, and much fewer millionaires. You’d immediately get more minorities represented (still within the racist ways we define citizenship).

Sortition actually leads to a far more representative democracy than Representative Democracy. And representation matters. What we have now is a bunch of rich people maybe deciding to do something for the masses, whose lives they really cannot understand and who aren’t even in the room. Under sortition the poor, etc would simply be in the room, able to speak for themselves.

Sounds like a plan to me.

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