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Making A Case for [Democracy By Sortition]

2

Posts

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Agreed, I'm pretty sure what would happen is that 90% of people selected would vote however lobbyists told them to, and then we would suddenly find out they mysteriously qualify for jobs as consultants at multinational corporations following their terms.

    Jealous Deva on
    Pi-r8Andy JoeJeep-EepLanlaornzagdrob
  • JurgJurg In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    This is ludicrous. It has the potential of putting into power people who have no business being in power, reduces the ability of people to organize for social change (even if you control a majority, you still only have a chance), and gives people less of a reason to pay attention to politics, since they have no way to pressure sitting politicians.

    I'd try to write something more coherent, but it's hard, really hard. Jesus- just go to literally any other message board and tell me you want those people anywhere near a seat in Congress.

    sig.gif
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    Agreed, I'm pretty sure what would happen is that 90% of people selected would vote however lobbyists told them to, and then we would suddenly find out they mysteriously qualify for jobs as consultants at multinational corporations following their terms.

    And if the lobbyists didn't do it, the various government agencies would.

  • JurgJurg In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    What would encourage you to do a better job: if your continued employment was based on regular performance reviews, or a roll of the die?

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    Jeep-Eep
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Agreed, I'm pretty sure what would happen is that 90% of people selected would vote however lobbyists told them to, and then we would suddenly find out they mysteriously qualify for jobs as consultants at multinational corporations following their terms.

    And if the lobbyists didn't do it, the various government agencies would.

    Yeah I'm guessing it would end up being in effect government by the Military + Security Apparatus(FBI/CIA etc), and their contractors. Which frankly would be an improvement over the 500 random people for the most part.

    Additional Con:
    How does the government maintain any constancy in long term goals. How do you get something like the Apollo program or the ISS if every 2 years you select 500 random people to run the government.

    JurgJeep-Eep
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Alright - what skill set or expertise, in your opinion, does Rob Ford have that the average constituent does not? What about Stephen Harper? What about Jean Chrétien? Ralph Klein? Rick Perry? Rick Santorum?

    If what we want are knowledgeable experts rather than opinionated ideologues with good marketers, I'd say we've rather missed the mark with elections.

    There are terrible foolish assholes who get elected to important jobs. Requiring random people who have no idea how to lead, or interest in the job, does not guarantee that no terrible foolish assholes will get important jobs. Holding public elections at least allows the possibility that people who win will not be terrible foolish assholes.

    The problem is not elections and elected officials. The problem is a terrible, corrupt election system. The solution is not elimination of elections, it's making them better.

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    JurgMillJeep-EepQuidzagdrobjmcdonald
  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    edited December 2013
    The Ender wrote: »
    4) Partisanship is not intrinsically bad, comity is not intrinsically good.

    Can you provide an example to give me an example of Partisanship being a good thing in and of itself?

    Partisanship provides structure and coherence to Party Systems. Without partisan reliability and predictability, most PoliSci people agree you would pretty much have legislature breakdown and fractionalization, which helps no one. Partisan identity also provides critical cues to voters, whose partisanship is much more a function of socialization than of ideological commitment.
    I don't agree; in my opinion, the Tea Party is an excellent example of extreme partisanship brought about by fanatical loyalty to one political name brand.

    The Tea Party isn't committed to the Republican Party, and has in fact been the biggest challenge to the authority of The GOP Establishment in (at least my) recent memory. They pretty much dictate the terms in many districts now thanks to the cudgel of primary challenges (financed by invisible outside individuals and groups).

    Hamurabi on
  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I find this very weird.

    Like 1/3 people would probably ruin the country right away if we are talking top position here.

    Randomly selecting does not mean that you get a diverse set of people that represent what a majority of the people actually feel.

    Most people would be very unfit and ill prepared to do the jobs they are suddenly needed to.

    PSN: Honkalot
    JurgJeep-Eep
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    AngelHedgie already addressed most of my concerns with this system. But my biggest concern is the risk of a really unlucky selection. Like, someone mentioned Rick Santorum. Well yeah, he got elected, and he was an asshole, but at least he was just *one* asshole among 535. What if, through some fluke of luck, we randomly picked a majority of congressmen just like Santorum, even though the country as a whole mostly doesn't support his opinions?

    Or, consider a more realistic scenario. Right now the US is split roughly in half between democrats and republicans. It seems *grossly* unfair that you could end up with a congress of 2/3 one party just through random chance, who would then completely enact their own agenda and screw the other party, and there's nothing that anyone can do to stop it.

    Admittedly, it does get rid of Gerrymandering, which is a rather huge problem which I've never seen a good solution for. So there's that.

  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Any separation regarding to age or where they live?

    Disparity of how large age groups are -> more old people -> old people are more likely to hate gays -> bad time.

    Not that I actually know how large different age groups are in the US, but just as an example.

    PSN: Honkalot
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    I think this would be a good system in conjunction with a representative house of professional politicians.

    I think Ender does too, although I'm hesitant to put words in his mouth.

    There are a lot of concerns here based on simple opinion of the quality of the populace. It's a good point, and in the end is unprovable. I'm very optimistic, some of you are more pessimistic. I think you need 'checks and balances' the same as any government system, and I'd still want lobbying to be greatly controlled, just as I do now. Of course if you set it up as stupidly, stupid things would happen.

    But for me, an additional reason is to improve our society, by removing some of the distance between rulers and the ruled. And that takes time. It's not a magic bullet.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think this would be a good system in conjunction with a representative house of professional politicians.
    So you'd have a bicameral legislature with one house picked randomly and another through popular election? I could see that.

  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think this would be a good system in conjunction with a representative house of professional politicians.

    I think Ender does too, although I'm hesitant to put words in his mouth.

    There are a lot of concerns here based on simple opinion of the quality of the populace. It's a good point, and in the end is unprovable. I'm very optimistic, some of you are more pessimistic. I think you need 'checks and balances' the same as any government system, and I'd still want lobbying to be greatly controlled, just as I do now. Of course if you set it up as stupidly, stupid things would happen.

    But for me, an additional reason is to improve our society, by removing some of the distance between rulers and the ruled. And that takes time. It's not a magic bullet.

    The concerns aren't just the quality of the pool, it's what happens to those who are selected. Do we force them to pack up and move to Washington, essentially putting their entire lives on hold for the duration of their term? What if that person is in college? Or just started their job? Two, three, four years away from their industry of choice, how do we get them back in? What if that person is in a technical field, like medicine or engineering? How do we expect them to balance out their future work life with the present needs to represent the country? Do we force a company to maintain a position for these representatives for years at a time, a position that said representative will necessarily be years out of touch with?

    This would be a terrible situation for everyone. There is no reason that I can see that this would produce better legislation, and it would put an absolutely massive burden on anyone who "won" that lottery. Everyone loses.

    JurgMillQuid
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think this would be a good system in conjunction with a representative house of professional politicians.
    So you'd have a bicameral legislature with one house picked randomly and another through popular election? I could see that.

    Yes, exactly. The House of Lords in my native UK is embarrassing, and I find systems such as the US or Japan have their two houses so similarly arranged that they might as well not bother.

    I figure I could take a bear.
    Kalkino
  • ArchangleArchangle Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    1) Sortition creates a government that is much more representative of the general population that elections do in practice. Yes, in theory anyone can run in an election: in practice, few people do, voters often choose to vote strategically and elections are very, very often won by the person who spend the most money on their campaign. As a result, almost all governments in first world countries are hugely over-represented by not only the wealthy, but the super wealthy.


    us-congress-millionaires.jpg


    In the U.S. in particular, the government demographic is almost entirely composed of former lawyers and/or financial experts, almost half of which are millionaires.

    One of the primary benefits of Sortition is evening-out this problem.
    I don't understand why having a lot of millionaires in government is inherently a problem.

    If the system is working as intended we absolutely want to elect people who have a track record of successfully governing various bodies, public or private. Our society (again, if working as intended) should reward those who govern successfully with higher compensation packages. I'm mystified why anyone would think that having a system that encourages 10k/yr highschool dropouts to be appointed to government positions would result in better governance. More representative, sure, but even the first US congress wasn't made up of privates from the Continental Army - it was primarily drawn from people who were already leaders of the revolution.

    As a couple of people have already pointed out, there are flaws in the current system (i.e. people being elected based on good PR/Advertising rather than actual ability, hence the emphasis above on "working as intended"), but having lots of millionaires in congress is not necessarily a problem, or even an indicator of a problem, by itself.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Archangle wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    1) Sortition creates a government that is much more representative of the general population that elections do in practice. Yes, in theory anyone can run in an election: in practice, few people do, voters often choose to vote strategically and elections are very, very often won by the person who spend the most money on their campaign. As a result, almost all governments in first world countries are hugely over-represented by not only the wealthy, but the super wealthy.


    us-congress-millionaires.jpg


    In the U.S. in particular, the government demographic is almost entirely composed of former lawyers and/or financial experts, almost half of which are millionaires.

    One of the primary benefits of Sortition is evening-out this problem.
    I don't understand why having a lot of millionaires in government is inherently a problem.

    If the system is working as intended we absolutely want to elect people who have a track record of successfully governing various bodies, public or private. Our society (again, if working as intended) should reward those who govern successfully with higher compensation packages. I'm mystified why anyone would think that having a system that encourages 10k/yr highschool dropouts to be appointed to government positions would result in better governance. More representative, sure, but even the first US congress wasn't made up of privates from the Continental Army - it was primarily drawn from people who were already leaders of the revolution.

    As a couple of people have already pointed out, there are flaws in the current system (i.e. people being elected based on good PR/Advertising rather than actual ability, hence the emphasis above on "working as intended"), but having lots of millionaires in congress is not necessarily a problem, or even an indicator of a problem, by itself.

    Furthermore, good PR and advertising is not going to put an unqualified candidate over a qualified one, as Linda McMahon, Meg Whitman, and Carly Fiorina have all learned to their chagrin.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    jmcdonald
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    For any group larger than a small town this seems like a really bad idea.

    Much less countries covering millions of square miles and people.

    Lh96QHG.png
    jmcdonald
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »

    How is this better than elections?

    1) Sortition creates a government that is much more representative of the general population that elections do in practice. Yes, in theory anyone can run in an election: in practice, few people do, voters often choose to vote strategically and elections are very, very often won by the person who spend the most money on their campaign. As a result, almost all governments in first world countries are hugely over-represented by not only the wealthy, but the super wealthy.


    In the U.S. in particular, the government demographic is almost entirely composed of former lawyers and/or financial experts, almost half of which are millionaires.

    One of the primary benefits of Sortition is evening-out this problem.


    2) No parties. No platforms. No 'brand loyalty'. No political dynasties.

    There is no need for political rallying organizations or caucuses. In practice, people would almost certainly draw some arbitrary lines after being elected and file themselves into camps; but these camps wouldn't be entrenched, and nobody would have to join one to have a realistic chance of getting a seat. People would not be tied to specific political families & their networks anymore.


    3) No political heads of state.

    There is no need for a President or Prime Minister. Again, leaders are very likely to organically arise anyway, but there is no systemic totem pole. No one person to be scapegoated, venerated, targeted for violence, etc. The age of malicious election attack ads would be over.


    4) Reduced partisanship.

    Again, partisan politics are going to happen anyway, but entrenched fanaticism to one political party would very likely go extinct. People would actually have to look at floor vote results and read individual opinions in order to get involved rather than just read about which party label has been applied to which policies. Insanity!


    5) No more 'banking' political capital for a follow-up term or to preserve the integrity of a party label

    There are no second terms to be won or party bodies to maintain the legacy of: you do your stint and walk away when the next lottery comes around. Lobbyists have no reason to try and hook you because your political life is too short-lived to be of benefit to them. Ideally, this may also mean that the public stops viewing government officials through a special lens where they are seen as something beyond mere mortal men / women.


    6) No 'old guard' preserving political traditions at the expense of necessary changes

    There is no 'old guard' who've been sitting around for decades, either because their constituents feel that they are the only worthwhile candidate or because they're well-connected and are constantly re-appointed. Each cycle represents an entirely new government and new opportunity for the adoption of new ideas.

    1) Is at best a wash. I mean congress isn't representative of the US literacy rate, or the average US education, or being violent criminals. I want my representatives to be smarter and more educated than the country on average.

    2&4) I think this is wishful thinking. In some ways parties will become more important. Without them all the newbie congress criters or w/e will have to organize themselves. You think if reps are just selected randomly the whatever % of the population that used to be D or R will thinking of themselves that way? This just makes the party leaders that don't hold office even more important. Maybe you won't have 100% affiliation anymore, but the party that can get it's 'share' of congress working together faster and better will be in at a huge advantage in getting what those people want done.


    3) This is just wrong, you need a head of state. Commander and Chief and all that. And the last half of this just seems like an odd thing to..care about at all really.

    5) On the otherside, no reellection to worry about means you can do whatever the fuck you want. No matter how bad it is for everyone because you don't have to answer to anyone. Pardons for Sale, get your pardons! Hey is Iran giving us lip? Fuck it Nuke em!

    6) If you don't have continuity you don't have any ability to push for change you can't wage a campaign for change, you just hope that you get the right combo in to have it pass. Hell if anything this makes change less likely, people generally support the status quo and if you can't campaign to get them to change their minds fast enough to get something passed then your fucked, try again next time. People won't change their position to get on the right side of a country wide change(like the approval of gay marriage) because there isn't a reason to. Obama's position on DADT/GM doesn't "evolve" if he doesn't need to evolve it with the electorate.

    JurgAndy JoeJeep-Eepjmcdonald
  • ArchangleArchangle Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »

    How is this better than elections?

    1) Sortition creates a government that is much more representative of the general population that elections do in practice. Yes, in theory anyone can run in an election: in practice, few people do, voters often choose to vote strategically and elections are very, very often won by the person who spend the most money on their campaign. As a result, almost all governments in first world countries are hugely over-represented by not only the wealthy, but the super wealthy.


    In the U.S. in particular, the government demographic is almost entirely composed of former lawyers and/or financial experts, almost half of which are millionaires.

    One of the primary benefits of Sortition is evening-out this problem.


    2) No parties. No platforms. No 'brand loyalty'. No political dynasties.

    There is no need for political rallying organizations or caucuses. In practice, people would almost certainly draw some arbitrary lines after being elected and file themselves into camps; but these camps wouldn't be entrenched, and nobody would have to join one to have a realistic chance of getting a seat. People would not be tied to specific political families & their networks anymore.


    3) No political heads of state.

    There is no need for a President or Prime Minister. Again, leaders are very likely to organically arise anyway, but there is no systemic totem pole. No one person to be scapegoated, venerated, targeted for violence, etc. The age of malicious election attack ads would be over.


    4) Reduced partisanship.

    Again, partisan politics are going to happen anyway, but entrenched fanaticism to one political party would very likely go extinct. People would actually have to look at floor vote results and read individual opinions in order to get involved rather than just read about which party label has been applied to which policies. Insanity!


    5) No more 'banking' political capital for a follow-up term or to preserve the integrity of a party label

    There are no second terms to be won or party bodies to maintain the legacy of: you do your stint and walk away when the next lottery comes around. Lobbyists have no reason to try and hook you because your political life is too short-lived to be of benefit to them. Ideally, this may also mean that the public stops viewing government officials through a special lens where they are seen as something beyond mere mortal men / women.


    6) No 'old guard' preserving political traditions at the expense of necessary changes

    There is no 'old guard' who've been sitting around for decades, either because their constituents feel that they are the only worthwhile candidate or because they're well-connected and are constantly re-appointed. Each cycle represents an entirely new government and new opportunity for the adoption of new ideas.

    1) Is at best a wash. I mean congress isn't representative of the US literacy rate, or the average US education, or being violent criminals. I want my representatives to be smarter and more educated than the country on average.
    I vaguely remember reading somewhere that congress actually has a higher rate of violations and misdemeanor convictions than the general population. I'm not sure if that's apocryphal though.

  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular

    5) On the otherside, no reellection to worry about means you can do whatever the fuck you want. No matter how bad it is for everyone because you don't have to answer to anyone. Pardons for Sale, get your pardons! Hey is Iran giving us lip? Fuck it Nuke em!

    Well, I mean you still have to live here when your term is over, so if you leave everything entirely pearshaped you'll have to deal with the fallout as much as everyone else.

  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »

    How is this better than elections?

    1) Sortition creates a government that is much more representative of the general population that elections do in practice. Yes, in theory anyone can run in an election: in practice, few people do, voters often choose to vote strategically and elections are very, very often won by the person who spend the most money on their campaign. As a result, almost all governments in first world countries are hugely over-represented by not only the wealthy, but the super wealthy.

    "Elections are often won by the person who spent the most money on their campaign" is a very tricky and misleading statement, because money in politics doesn't come from a vacuum. If, for example, each candidate had to fund their entire campaign out of their own pocket with no assistance, loans or donations, and statistically the candidate with the highest net worth won, that would indicate that total campaign spending positively correlates with vote counts. But money comes from individuals, organizations (DNC/RNC, for instance) and corporations as well as personal finances, and that funding all tends to flow to the candidate who has the best chance of winning. Individual donation rates are affected by those individuals' awareness and approval of the candidate; corporate donations are obviously more valuable when given to the candidate who ends up winning. So it's no surprise that the candidate who wins often had more to spend. Lack of money can kill a campaign, especially early on, but there are plenty of examples where an unpopular but independently wealthy candidate throws their own money into their campaign and outspends his/her opponent to no avail.

    Moreover, if you'd like to fix campaign finance, you could always try fixing campaign finance. Public funding and all that.
    In the U.S. in particular, the government demographic is almost entirely composed of former lawyers and/or financial experts, almost half of which are millionaires.

    One of the primary benefits of Sortition is evening-out this problem.

    It's tricky to say there are a lot of millionaires in Congress compared to the total population, because Congress is skewed towards older people (who are more likely to have more savings, higher incomes, investment incomes) and towards the professions you mentioned, which presumably have a higher rate of millionaires than most other careers in the general population as well. The 111th Congress's average age on taking office in 2009 was 57 in the House, 63 in the Senate. So are there more millionaires in Congress than there are in the population of 60-year-old employed lawyers or financiers?

    Moreover, if the job appointment comes with a salary, doesn't that automatically bump everybody's class up to at least that level? Take somebody homeless and give them the $80,000 a year (or whatever it would take to convince people to leave their careers and homes for a period of years to do this job) and suddenly you can't expect them to keep the interests of the homeless in mind over the interests of the people making 80k+. (After all, many of the current Congressional millionaires weren't born wealthy, so apparently past experiences are no indication of future consideration.)
    4) Reduced partisanship.

    Again, partisan politics are going to happen anyway, but entrenched fanaticism to one political party would very likely go extinct. People would actually have to look at floor vote results and read individual opinions in order to get involved rather than just read about which party label has been applied to which policies. Insanity!

    The single largest problem with your proposal as written is limiting the individuals to a single term. This is a problem from both the legislators' side (why pay attention to public opinion outside of the body when there's no need to worry about re-election?) and also, massively, from the public's perspective. Why the fuck would anyone want to read floor votes or individual opinions to "get involved" when you've given them literally no avenue through which to involve themselves? There's no one to vote for, no one to vote out, and no reason to care who votes for what, beyond noting the rulings the legislative body hands down. In the interest of "democracy" you've removed the ability of the populace to affect its government at all. Best case scenario, everybody in the country completely checks out of the political process; worst case scenario, people go from feeling helpless to actually being helpless to affect change, resulting in riots and revolutions.

    This also has the essential problem of all term limited systems: even if you randomly roll the dice and get a legislative body composed of the finest political, legal and scientific minds of generation, history's Great Men and Women... they're out in X years and replaced by what could be history's Yahoos. I'd say your system rewards mediocrity, but so far as I can tell it doesn't reward anything... which is why people will turn to external or extralegal rewards, from selling their legislative agenda to lobbyists to promoting their own individual self-interest to following external, non-political leaders ("I voted that way because NPR/Rush told me to!").

    Ultimately this system strikes me as insanely idealistic about human nature. It's essentially the jury system, only in this scenario every juror had better be Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men or we're fucked. You need to think long and hard on what your proposed system provides in comparison to a dictatorship by lottery, because I don't think your idea provides much more of a safeguard against shitheels in power. Yeah, we have some shitheels in power now, but if we cared that much we could do something about it.

    Think about that: if we cared enough to remove people we didn't like from power, we could do it. If you agree with that but still think our system is shitty (filled with uncaring, partisan, millionaire lawyers) then it seems to me you have a low opinion of the general population. And if that's true, why the fuck do you want them in power? And here's the thing about power: you learn how to use it responsibly through the process of earning it. When you hand people power they didn't earn, you have no idea what they're going to do with it. And when you give them no way to continue to earn it, you give up your only means of controlling them at all. That's some dangerous shit.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    AngelHedgieJurgknitdanJeep-EepDivideByZerojimb213zagdrobjmcdonald
  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    There are a lot of concerns here based on simple opinion of the quality of the populace. It's a good point, and in the end is unprovable. I'm very optimistic, some of you are more pessimistic.

    Only about 10% of the overall population is ideologically-oriented, and can come up with cogent policy prescriptions that obey some semblance of an internally consistent programmatic logic (see: Campbell 1960). An example of an incoherent logic would be for instance thinking that the state ought to do more social spending -- on assistance for the poor, on unemployed worker retraining, etc. -- but that taxes should never go up (assuming you need to to get the social spending). Furthermore, the American electorate is overall highly uninformed, and bases their political preferences basically on those of their family, friends, social circle, etc.

    Given this -- and other indicators of Americans' disengagement from politics (see: Putnam 2001) -- there is good reason to be relatively pessimistic about the thought of Random American being put in a position of legislative authority.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    This is an awful idea.

    We already have a problem with people who are completely unqualified to govern being elected (or voting in initiatives and referedums). This would simply make that problem part of the system.

    We need to encourage our government officials to be better informed and to be educated in how to govern effectively and reasonably.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
    Jeep-Eep
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    It comes down to fundamental ideas of people and democracy.

    If you think democracy is about trying to choose the best leaders, you wouldn't like sortition.

    If you think democracy is about codifying and channelling self-determination, then you might.

    If you think people are mostly idiots, you won't like it.

    If you think professional politicians are mostly terrible, you might.

    If you think things are basically fine now, you won't like it.

    If you think the world is filled with needless suffering, you might.

    Those are the underlying issues, I am pretty sure.

    The former question is more conducive to discussion.

    So what do you think is the point of having democracy?


    For me it's far more radical than just replacing the aristocracy with different elites. It's about moving forward, always refining, in order to give people as much self-determination as possible. It's not a concept whose development finished with choosing representatives from the most privileged members of society. And you can't be qualified to govern. You represent. And right now, our governments do not represent us. They do not literally represent us, and they do not work in our best interests. They work in their best interests.

    Luckily, they are still people, and these interests sometimes coincide. We have progress. Things improve. But often they diverge. And someone gets the shitty stick in an unpleasant place.

    So don't make the Fukuyama mistake of thinking we're done with democracy, that we've arrived at the end of political possibility. There's a lot of room for improvement.

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    poshniallo wrote: »
    It comes down to fundamental ideas of people and democracy.

    If you think democracy is about trying to choose the best leaders, you wouldn't like sortition.

    If you think democracy is about codifying and channelling self-determination, then you might.

    If you think people are mostly idiots, you won't like it.

    If you think professional politicians are mostly terrible, you might.

    If you think things are basically fine now, you won't like it.

    If you think the world is filled with needless suffering, you might.

    Those are the underlying issues, I am pretty sure.

    The former question is more conducive to discussion.

    So what do you think is the point of having democracy?


    For me it's far more radical than just replacing the aristocracy with different elites. It's about moving forward, always refining, in order to give people as much self-determination as possible. It's not a concept whose development finished with choosing representatives from the most privileged members of society. And you can't be qualified to govern. You represent. And right now, our governments do not represent us. They do not literally represent us, and they do not work in our best interests. They work in their best interests.

    Luckily, they are still people, and these interests sometimes coincide. We have progress. Things improve. But often they diverge. And someone gets the shitty stick in an unpleasant place.

    So don't make the Fukuyama mistake of thinking we're done with democracy, that we've arrived at the end of political possibility. There's a lot of room for improvement.

    There may be better forms of democracy that result in better representation, but I feel comfortable that it sure as hell isn't sortition.

    As has been said again and again, this would AT BEST result in lobbyist groups ruling things more directly than they already do, because all those randomly picked people? They don't know how the hell things work. They won't have the time to get their feet under them; their ONLY experienced allies, their only potential guides, will be an unelected elite.

    edit: Of course, I definitely see democracy as a tool to pick our best possible leaders. That it satisfies to the ego of the everyman is, in my eyes, just a bonus.

    Kamar on
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    It comes down to fundamental ideas of people and democracy.

    If you think democracy is about trying to choose the best leaders, you wouldn't like sortition.

    If you think democracy is about codifying and channelling self-determination, then you might.

    If you think people are mostly idiots, you won't like it.

    If you think professional politicians are mostly terrible, you might.

    If you think things are basically fine now, you won't like it.

    If you think the world is filled with needless suffering, you might.

    Those are the underlying issues, I am pretty sure.

    The former question is more conducive to discussion.

    So what do you think is the point of having democracy?


    For me it's far more radical than just replacing the aristocracy with different elites. It's about moving forward, always refining, in order to give people as much self-determination as possible. It's not a concept whose development finished with choosing representatives from the most privileged members of society. And you can't be qualified to govern. You represent. And right now, our governments do not represent us. They do not literally represent us, and they do not work in our best interests. They work in their best interests.

    Luckily, they are still people, and these interests sometimes coincide. We have progress. Things improve. But often they diverge. And someone gets the shitty stick in an unpleasant place.

    So don't make the Fukuyama mistake of thinking we're done with democracy, that we've arrived at the end of political possibility. There's a lot of room for improvement.

    The problem is this idea doesn't do that either. It neither works towards the goals of better representation or better government.

  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    It specifically trades better representation for more representative representation (and even then, only over a long enough time/large enough sample size). And by removing everyone's ability to participate in the system when not actually writing legislation, it essentially dismantles all democratic self-determination.

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    Jurgshryke
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    poshniallo wrote: »
    If you think democracy is about codifying and channelling self-determination, then you might.
    poshniallo wrote: »
    If you think professional politicians are mostly terrible, you might.
    poshniallo wrote: »
    If you think the world is filled with needless suffering, you might.

    No I wouldn't to all three and I think all three of these are true. Sortition doesn't demonstrate any way to actually improve my or others self determination unless they win the congressional lotto. It doesn't prevent regular people from being terrible. And it doesn't ameliorate any needless suffering simply because a random person is now in charge.
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Teachers in the government will improve our education system. Doctors and nurses will improve the medical system. At the moment we have professional politicians, coming largely from wealthy backgrounds and the legal profession. That, for me, is three big problems that need addressing.

    Oh and this part is simply not true. Being a teacher doesn't mean a person knows how to organize, fund, and direct a national school system. Being a doctor doesn't mean a person knows how to improve the medical system. My being in the Navy doesn't mean I have the slightest clue how to run it or what its goals should be. Because stuff like that is not what teachers, doctors, or I deal with.

    Quid on
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  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    poshniallo wrote: »
    For me it's far more radical than just replacing the aristocracy with different elites. It's about moving forward, always refining, in order to give people as much self-determination as possible. It's not a concept whose development finished with choosing representatives from the most privileged members of society. And you can't be qualified to govern. You represent. And right now, our governments do not represent us. They do not literally represent us, and they do not work in our best interests. They work in their best interests.

    Luckily, they are still people, and these interests sometimes coincide. We have progress. Things improve. But often they diverge. And someone gets the shitty stick in an unpleasant place.

    So don't make the Fukuyama mistake of thinking we're done with democracy, that we've arrived at the end of political possibility. There's a lot of room for improvement.

    Not only are you actively gutting the self determination of whoever gets picked to be in the government, but there is no way for the average person to have any meaningful impact on who governs them, gutting the self determination of those folks as well. The only people who get more self determination are those in a position to influence the poor folks who win that lottery, which is a system even less self-deterministic than we have now
    .
    You want to improve self-determination through a random lottery? Think about that for a second.

    Narbus on
    Jeep-EepJurg
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    sortition in an American context takes an entirely unjustified faith that the executive and judiciary can always restrain the legislature's fuckups, and drags that faith to ever more insane heights

    believe it or not, legislators can actually screw up your country!

    AngelHedgieJeep-EepjmcdonaldJurg
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
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  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    It comes down to fundamental ideas of people and democracy.

    If you think democracy is about trying to choose the best leaders, you wouldn't like sortition.

    If you think democracy is about codifying and channelling self-determination, then you might.

    If you think people are mostly idiots, you won't like it.

    If you think professional politicians are mostly terrible, you might.

    If you think things are basically fine now, you won't like it.

    If you think the world is filled with needless suffering, you might.

    Those are the underlying issues, I am pretty sure.

    This is kind of goosey here sir.

    You are poisoning the well pretty furiously over there.

    I think that the only way that this is appealing is if you just absolutely hate the entrenched politicians of the US. Which everyone does. No one likes them. But we make do with what we have, while trying to improve the system (and not throwing it out).

    As many have pointed out, this wouldn't even solve the problems you hope it would. It's not going to lead to greater self determination. The only way this works out is if the population at large is capable of governing, so that it doesn't matter that Tom is now a representative. In essence, it works pretty well for a city (in the ancient world), where things don't tend to get that crazy. But a nation? Steve from down the street isn't ready for that. If you let him opt out, then you're pretty much only going to get the same kind of people that run now.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    If you think the general population is smart enough to govern our country I direct you to the comments section of any political website.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    If you think the general population is smart enough to govern our country I direct you to the comments section of any political website.

    Which is why its important to point out how oligarchic Athenian democracy actually was. One of the reasons the system worked was because 80% of the population was excluded, either de jure or de facto.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Honk wrote: »
    I find this very weird.

    Like 1/3 people would probably ruin the country right away if we are talking top position here.

    Randomly selecting does not mean that you get a diverse set of people that represent what a majority of the people actually feel.

    Most people would be very unfit and ill prepared to do the jobs they are suddenly needed to.

    You just need to make it a sufficiently large chunk of the public. I say we should make everyone part of the government. A congress 300 million strong would be sure to adequately represent our views.

    Of course, there would have to be certain committees to streamline things. All of the congresspeople could maybe hold polls to determine a panel of, say, 535 individuals, who would then handle all of the heavy lifting involved in crafting legislation.

    We'd also want a single representative for when our country needs to interface with other nations. Maybe every few years all of the congresspeople could hold a poll to select a single individual responsible for serving as the face of our country.

    Sortition is an awesome idea!

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  • DivideByZeroDivideByZero Social Justice Blackguard Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Honk wrote: »
    I find this very weird.

    Like 1/3 people would probably ruin the country right away if we are talking top position here.

    Randomly selecting does not mean that you get a diverse set of people that represent what a majority of the people actually feel.

    Most people would be very unfit and ill prepared to do the jobs they are suddenly needed to.

    You just need to make it a sufficiently large chunk of the public. I say we should make everyone part of the government. A congress 300 million strong would be sure to adequately represent our views.

    Of course, there would have to be certain committees to streamline things. All of the congresspeople could maybe hold polls to determine a panel of, say, 535 individuals, who would then handle all of the heavy lifting involved in crafting legislation.

    We'd also want a single representative for when our country needs to interface with other nations. Maybe every few years all of the congresspeople could hold a poll to select a single individual responsible for serving as the face of our country.

    Sortition is an awesome idea!

    Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKERS
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    I simply don't see how this plan could solve or even lessen any of the problems that are mentioned in the OP.

    Yes, money is a major influence on elections, and between the people elected and the lobbying, on policy. I haven't seen any reason this plan would lessen that influence. By making it so 500-1000 votes are all that matters, it concentrates the influence that money has even more. By appointing a random sample of the American people to power, you're basically creating a body that has no expertise on writing laws...I would guess that at the moment maybe 10,000 Americans (+/- an order of magnitude) have experience necessary to craft laws or policy that affects the nation.

    The problem with our government right now is not (just, or even primarily) that politicians need to raise money for re-election. The problem is that half of our government believes that government can't do anything right and is working hard to make that happen.

    In the proposed situation, party affiliation is every bit as important, if not more. The parties - not the people passing the laws - will be the primary influence on what bills are crafted and passed. People with no experience writing laws and in legislature for a year or two will have to defer to the continuity of the experts or lobbyists around them.

    Even if this system worked in Ancient Greece, it was in a situation utterly unlike anything that would face a modern nation of 300 million (and counting) people. Athens was a city-state where pretty much every citizen of import could be directly involved in the day to day governance.

    Realistically, a 'better' solution - with its own set of flaws and problems - would be direct democracy, where the people as a whole have the ability to vote on individual bills or measures as they are proposed. You would still need some central body to propose these bills / measures, although I suppose you could use some sort of petitioning / upvote / downvote system. Still, I think the average American lacks the knowledge, information, or experience to properly evaluate these types of measures or the consequences of them.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades This is the water, and this is the well Drink full, and descendRegistered User regular
    I still like the idea of a mixed-member proportional system better than sortition, if we're living in unicorns and rainbow farts land.

    It still has its own problems, but on the whole I feel like it's a better system and allows for far fewer, "Cletus goes to Washington" scenarios than sortition might.

    Of course, I have read the comments on redstate before so maybe it's just that I can still feel the void looking back at me.

    The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2013
    If we want to look at this from a statistical point of view, consider that a random polling sample of 535 people out of 300M gives a margin of error of about 4%. Which means that there is a 95% chance that that sample will accurately reflect the makeup of our electorate within 4% in either direction.

    If we assume that everyone is either a Democrat or a Republican (and I see no reason these labels would disappear overnight, since you'd still have people like Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Maddow giving commentary along lib/con lines), then this means that, if the party split is dead even, we're 95% likely to have the winning party with less than a 54% share of the government (and 99% likely to have the winning party with less than about a 56% share). Once the number of people ID-ing as Dem or Pub hits around 55%, you'll still be pretty unlikely to dumb-luck your way into an accidental supermajority, but it could happen. Parliamentary rules would probably be a lot different in this alternate government, so I'm not sure how bad that would be.

    Keep in mind this assumes a purely random sample. You just need to look at, say, Gallup polls in the recent presidential elections to see what happens when your random polls aren't really as random as you think. (Hint: Any sort of random lottery regime that has controls on it or any kind of opt-in/opt-out system is not going to be as random as you might like.)

    ElJeffe on
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    jmcdonald
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Sortition as put into practice by ancient Athens looked quite a bit different than what is being represented here.

    Sortition was mainly applied towards committees (10 committees, each comprising 50 citizens), and you volunteered for sortition to those committees. These committees did not actually vote on any laws. They just wrote laws and prioritized laws for voting.

    The actual voting was done by the citizens of Athens in a direct assembly, with a quorum of 6,000. This assembly was not filtered down by sortition; it looks like it worked on a first come, first serve type basis, and could exceed 6,000.

    Note that the population of Athens at that time was about 30,000 to 60,000 citizens, out of about 250,000 people, so quite a large percentage of the population (relative to today) were involved in both the committees and the assembly.

    My guess is that the separation of writing laws and voting on laws is what made the Athenian government work so well. Not sortition in and of itself, but more the fact that the people writing the laws had to convince a separate, larger set of people to pass those laws.

    hsu on
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