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Democracy by lot

I have written two articles about an alternative form of democracy that would better serve the people and be less prone to corruption.  Now, recent research has me considering a third type of democracy, distinct from both my original idea and what we have now.

The inspiring study was discussed in the 1/23-1/29 issue of The Economist under the title "Absolutely."  The study made three conclusions based on a scientifically conducted experiment.  1. Power corrupts, it does not just attract the corruptible.  2. Power encourages hypocrisy.  3. While those who feel entitled to the power they possess are the biggest hypocrites, those who have power but do not feel they deserve it are likely to hold themselves to a much higher standard than others.

It is this third conclusion that I found most intriguing.  Based on these findings, a truly uncorrupted democracy would require leaders who feel, by and large, that they do not deserve to be leaders.

Thus any system that legitimizes certain individuals by leaders, by election, divine right, noble birth, etc. will be prone to the corrupting aspects of power. 

The solution would seem to be a system that selects its leaders by a means that don't indicate superiority in those selected.  The only system I can think of that would do this is the one by which we choose our jurors--randomly.

Under this system all adults would be registered on their eighteenth birthday and the Federal government and each state would select their legislators and executive (with additional age restrictions) by random lottery every two years.  After someone has served, they would be removed from the lottery and could not be selected for office ever again.

Under this system, the hypocrisy that accompanies entitlement would be virtually eliminated, many of the malaises of our democracy, such as parties, electioneering, career politicians, and bribes in the form of campaign contributions would disappear, and the leadership would closely mirror the population in race, class, gender, and ideology.

However, it is also likely that under this system many great people with great ideas for improving our country and our world would never get a chance to lead.  Ted Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington's names would probably never have been drawn.  My question to my readers...Is this trade-off worth it?


  • Fran 5 years ago

    Boy, that's a hard question to answer. The great people of history probably would have found a way to get ideas across, so maybe it could work. It is an interesting idea!!!

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