Sortition for the Irish constitution rewrite

Martina Devlin writes in the Irish Independent:

[T]he Constitution, which forms the basis of our self-government as a people, definitely needs an overhaul. Not some tinkering, but the level of in-depth, bonnet-to-boot servicing a vintage Rolls-Royce dating back to 1937 could expect.

The decision to use significant citizen input into this exercise is a welcome approach, and the Government deserves credit for reserving two-thirds of the 99 available seats for citizens.

It’s these 66 citizens who interest me, rather than the political figures assigned to the remaining 33 places. The success of the constitutional convention, and the level of popular support it attracts, hinges on who is chosen to join the Class of 66. Handpicked individuals who can be relied on to play follow-the-leader or slip into someone else’s version of the green jersey won’t fit the bill. We need transparency in the selection process.
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90 minute lecture on sortition from Athens to today – by Ètienne Chouard

One of the impediments to instituting sortitional selection is, I believe, the *dispassionate* nature of the proposal.  It is such a rational and egalitarian idea that I don’t see it igniting the fire of emotional conviction that seems to accompany major social change.

Ètienne Chouard’s lecture “Sortition as a sustainable protection against oligarchy” changes my opinion about that.

Some of his ideas appear on his website (in French): Centralite du tirage au sort en democratie:

La catastrophe financière et monétaire actuelle PROUVE tous les jours que les pires crapules, pourvu qu’elles soient RICHES, n’ont rien à craindre des élus. Je répète : la preuve est apportée tous les jours, partout dans le monde, que les canailles RICHES n’ont RIEN à craindre des ÉLUS.

Ce sont des FAITS. Chacun peut vérifier ces faits lui-même.

Je signale d’abord que les riches et autres aristocrates, eux, le savent depuis longtemps : dès le début du XIXe siècle, Alexis de Tocqueville avouait déjà : “Je ne crains pas le suffrage universel : les gens voteront comme on leur dira.” Étonnant, non? Ils le savent depuis longtemps, eux. Bien.

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