Sortition on Youtube

One of the new pro-sortition bloggers recently posted this homemade video on the subject–

Two comments. First, I do think that a lot of sortition fans act as though it was obviously bad that a system doesn’t give everyone exactly an equal probability of getting into office. But it’s just not an obvious problem. I can’t think of any job where “equal opportunity” means having all candidates getting the job with equal probability. (The legal scholar Lesley Jacobs is good on this point.) Second, I think it’s important to stress the internal problems with parties. It’s true that (in England at least) you can’t win office without a political party. But the modern ideal says that it’s good to have a different groups of people organized behind different principles competing for office. It takes a separate critique to show why this is a bad thing. (Incidentally, has anyone read Nancy Rosenblum’s recent book on partisanship and political parties? It’s on my “to read” list.)

PBS documentary on DVD: “Athens: The Dawn of Democracy”

I found this PBS documentary enlightening. From my understanding of the classical Athenian political system, this presentation overplays the role of elections and underplays the role of sortition. [Obtained through Netflix.]

Athens: The Dawn of Democracy
2007 NR 120 minutes
In this PBS program, historian Bettany Hughes explores the realities of ancient Athens’s “Golden Age” and uncovers a mix of brilliant, humanity-changing philosophies and dark, war-like themes that co-existed in one turbulent time and place. Although ancient Athens still retains its reputation as a pure and shining democracy, its history tells a more complicated story that includes slavery, black magic and an unquenchable thirst for war.

  • Cast: Bettany Hughes
  • Genres: Documentary, Historical Documentaries, PBS Documentaries, TV Documentaries
  • Format: DVD

YouTube clip.