Instead of elections, let’s use lotteries

Posted by Poplicola 4 years, 9 months ago to Politics
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This Utopian Statist piece comes with the minor caveat that: "No pure lottocratic system has ever existed, and so it’s important to note that much could go wrong. Randomly chosen representatives could prove to be incompetent or easily bewildered. Maybe a few people would dominate the discussions. Maybe the experts brought in to inform the policymaking would all be bought off and would convince us to buy the same corporate-sponsored policy we’re currently getting. There are hard design questions about how such a legislative system would interact with other branches of government, and questions about the coherence of policymaking, budgeting, taxation, and enforcement of policy."

It looks like the author's hope is that randomly chosen representatives would have the courage to adopt radical anti-business policies to tackle issues like "climate change".
SOURCE URL: http://aeon.co/magazine/society/forget-elections-lets-pick-reps-by-lottery/


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  • Posted by Mamaemma 4 years, 9 months ago
    I'm sorry. I stopped reading when the author said "the steady warming planet".
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    • Posted by MinorLiberator 4 years, 9 months ago
      Thanks, Mama. I think you saved us all some time.

      This guy sounds really desperate...the odds of this actually working in any reasonable way would be...well. like winning the lottery...;-)
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      • Posted by Mamaemma 4 years, 9 months ago
        We'd probably a more honest group of people with a lottery, but still...
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        • Posted by $ jlc 4 years, 9 months ago
          Well, not actually. The functional bureaucracy - the civil service - would not be effected. As a matter of fact, they would become more powerful because an average lack of experience in a lottery-chosen representative would make the new rep lean on their experience more.

          Think of it this way: a new lieutenant is assigned to a squadron. The veteran Master Sgt calls him "Sir" and obeys his commands - but actually runs things. If the lieutenant has brains, he functionally understudies the MstrSgt. "Well, sir, I don't think you really want to give That order, I think perhaps you want to give This command instead."

          This would continue in perpetuity, with the lotto-leaders becoming even more explicit puppets to the clerks and functionaries. These are the people who would now control all of the partisan threads.

          Jan
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          • Posted by MinorLiberator 4 years, 8 months ago
            Actually this is the most important point of all. The most corrupt "leaders" are attracted by power that the unending bad laws/regulations give them, which is implemented by permanent bureaucracies. More than a better system of choosing the leaders, we need to limit the size and power of the government, reducing the need for the current huge bureaucracies,agencies and the massive funding they require. Less (much less) overall power and money to control should also serve to attract less corrupt leaders, no matter how they are elected.
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        • Posted by MinorLiberator 4 years, 9 months ago
          Unfortunately, I can't disagree on the honesty issue. Sometimes there's a tendency to want to throw up your hands an say: "Anything would be better than this..."...maybe a lottery?

          As you say, though, "but still"...with today's educational system and so many people still (even though they say they don't) trusting the mainstream media, I think even with a so-called "random" system, we'd most likely wind up worse off.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 9 months ago
    Oh, Darn!
    Let's elect by fiat, my beagle, Bella. She never holds a grudge. She is very even tempered. She never shits on the floor. She's always happy to see you. How many candidates can say the same?
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  • Posted by waytodude 4 years, 9 months ago
    I'm not big on the lotto nor our current system .We have a good constitution why not hand grenade DC and start over fresh. I believe Thomas Jefferson wrote that we needed to start over about every twenty years to stop tyranny we are a little behind I would say.
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  • Posted by ohiocrossroads 4 years, 9 months ago
    Instead of using reason to elect representatives, let's leave it up to random chance. Great plan. The people that come up with these ideas should be required to put them into practice on themselves and live with the outcome before inflicting them on the rest of us.
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    • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 8 months ago
      If there were a way to force all the incumbents to have to follow that rule NOW, we'd probably eliminate a lot of our current complaints, too! And I'd bet a lot of 'em would suddenly retire.

      Now, just so long as once they're Out they can't work for any organization involved in lobbying or which sells Anything to the level of government they last worked at.

      Zero chance, but a kinda cool Utopia in my view...
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  • Posted by $ TomB666 4 years, 9 months ago
    Alexander Guerrero may be the socialist idiot we here in the gulch perceive him to be, but I have thought for a long time that we should draft people to fill ALL public offices. Really, could it be any worse then it is now??? And with a draft we just might get an honest idiot or even an honest intelligent person. That will never happen with our current system. (Sorry, do I sound cynical?? ;-) )
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  • Posted by BryanBentz 4 years, 9 months ago
    I think the idea needs modification. It would be a fourth branch of government, and it's only function would be to veto legislation. That is, a relatively largish group of randomly-chosen citizens would not
    introduce any new legislation, but would have to OK any law passed and signed. It would be a great way to reduce or eliminate those laws (and regulations) that are intended primarily for political purposes (i.e., pork).
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  • Posted by jdg 4 years, 9 months ago
    I like the idea if it could be kept honest, but a lottery has to be easier to rig than an election.

    I keep visualising a bingo machine choking on a whole boxcar full of balls...
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  • Posted by tkstone 4 years, 9 months ago
    Randomness tends to support the status quo. If we were already operating under a freer system, I might say do it, but we need such dramatic change that it would not help. Nor do I think it would cause the change the author is looking for. Change would be very slow. Big numbers and randomness are stubborn.
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  • Posted by bsmith51 4 years, 9 months ago
    Further, as I suggested in a 1980 letter to the editor in San Diego, since the lottery represents a tax on the stupidity of people buying lotto tickets, all governments at all levels should be exclusively and solely funded by lotteries. For those who think this a radical idea, consider that governments would naturally grow or shrink according to the general stupidity of the populace, which would not be a significant departure from present. Isn't it time to stop soaking the rich and for the stupid to pay their fair share?
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 9 months ago
    On one hand I like the idea of states power. On the other hand, I hate that my vote has no value in MA, and prefer a popular vote for president, and am not a fan of the two party system.
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    • Posted by $ RobertFl 4 years, 9 months ago
      Repeal the 12th Amendment. That will restore popular vote, winner is President, runner up, VP.
      Pres and VP shared nearly the same power prior to the 12th.
      Repeal the 17th - that'll get the big money, and life time serving politician out of the Senate.
      Repeal the Legislative Reform Act of 1970 and restore the secret ballot to congress. Then the lobbiest wont know how a politician voted, whether they paid them or not.
      That would restore control/voice back to the people.
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      • Posted by DavidT 4 years, 9 months ago
        You forgot to add the 16th amendment for repeal. That would require the feds to petition the states for funding, which would more likely end up with states only paying for what they need, not what their neighbor wants.
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        • Posted by jdg 4 years, 9 months ago
          You're thinking of the Articles of Confederation government.

          Before the 16th the feds had import tariffs and excise taxes. My guess is that today, with only those options, they'd institute a 50% tax on oil -- both imported and domestic -- and use it to pay for everything. Which would still be an improvement over the current system.
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