Four ordinary citizens are about to enter the new "Citizen Legislature Chosen by Random Selection of the Willing and the Able."
Why did they place themselves in the lottery to be selected?
What do they expect to accomplish?
Will they be able to do the job?
One leg is voting – used by legislative representatives to decide policies. The other is random selection – used to choose those representatives.
Random selection is currently used only for jury selection. It should be expanded so that the legislature actually mirrors the population it represents.
N.B. The executive and administration should of course continue to be chosen based on merit.
In legislatures, the lower house (nationally, the House of Representatives) could be chosen by sortition (random selection) and the upper house (nationally, the Senate) could continue to be chosen by election. Over time it would become apparent which would be the better.
“The Common Lot: Next Step for Democracy” speculates what a legislature ‘by’, as well as ‘for’ and ‘of’, the people might be.
The video explores the idea of a citizen legislature chosen by lot, by random selection, creating a microcosm proportionate to the actual population. Besides the obvious benefits – eliminating the weight of money and the gloss of media stature – such a body would no longer be psychologically skewed to those self-confidently aggressive enough to stand the rigors of an electioneering campaign. The ship of state would be guided by the quietly thoughtful as well as by the rhetorically dominant.
Such a proportionally representative deliberative body would afford a much wider spectrum of opinion than the lockstep demanded by political parties. Given this country’s demography, this ‘next step for democracy’ would be largely middle-class, ideologically moderate, generous and free.