An early modern sortition proposal

I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.

William F. Buckley, Jr., 1965

5 Responses

  1. I’ve heard this quote a million times, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a source associated with it. Of course, I think he was completely full of it–it is inconceivable that as blueblooded an aristocrat as Buckley would prefer government by the unwashed masses to rule by Harvard-educated liberals, unless he simply believed the former would be easier for right-wingers like him to manipulate than the latter.


  2. He probably believed that the unwashed masses, bad as they are, are not as bad as the liberals. Some of those liberals even support racial equality.

    Of course, Buckley would much prefer elite rule to popular rule, but it would have to be the right elite.


  3. […] There was the expected crop of critical comments with the standard reflexive objections or with well-worn formulas – elections are needed as a form of participation, or as an expression of the consent of the governed, people need to be more well informed, need shorter terms – within 3 years the allotted will be as corrupt as the elected, the allotted will be easily manipulated by lobbyists, not a democracy, a republic, mandatory voting. One commenter suggested adding a recall mechanism and one suggested an IQ test barrier. One commenter made a reference to William Buckley. […]


  4. It turns out there is even a video recording (link sent by a reader of the blog):


  5. Judging by the recent US election, nearly half of voters (and a plurality of electoral colleges) might well agree with Buckley. The fact that they chose a billionaire property mogul with no political experience (who boasted that he didn’t read books or pay any income tax) over an alumna of Yale Law School would suggest a rejection of the liberal, rather than Wall Street, elite. Trump was viewed as a regular working guy who just happened to have a large bank balance.


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