Callenbach/Phillips Sighting

This blog…

http://www.madalcapital.com/elections-by-random-lottery-a-polemic-for-sortition

…makes a case for sortition by relying on Ernest Callenbach and Michael Phillips’ A Citizen Legislature (reprinted by Imprint Academic, 2008).

The Callenbach/Phillips case, which this blogger repeats, stresses the fact that a randomly selected legislature would “look like” the public at large, and therefore would “truly” represent the people. It’s the second half of that claim which leaves me a bit unsure. Is it really true that a random sample of “the people” speaks with the same voice as “the people?” Maybe, but it seems to me that it requires an argument. And the argument might prove hard to make. After all, we all would presumably justify at least some exclusions from a random draw–children and the insane are the obvious candidates–but then those exclusions mean that a random sample will no longer “look like” the population-at-large. So I think there’s more theorizing to be done here. (Of course, I do political theory for a living, so it’s not surprising that I’d say that.)

For further reflections on this topic, see the introduction I wrote to the reprinted edition of Callenbach and Phillips’ book.