Obligation and Consent

The last Paris sortition meeting was devoted to Bernard Manin’s argument that sortition was replaced by preference election on account of the natural right theory of consent. I challenged Manin on this with an argument based on Fishkin’s claim that the decision process of an allotted assembly modelled on a Deliberative Poll would be a proxy for the informed consent of all citizens. During the report presented to the recent Dublin meeting Peter Stone returned to this point by arguing, with Bentham, that the whole social contract theory of consent was just nonsense on stilts.

Peter recently referred me to Hanna Pitkin’s two-part paper on Obligation and Consent. The paper is hard work, but could be boiled down into just two claims:
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