Prof. Irad Malkin: Democracy without democracy

Prof. Irad Malkin, a professor of Ancient History in Tel Aviv University, writes in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (my translation):

The days of democracy are short and few. In ancient Greece it lasted 200 years and its age in the modern era is similar. Modern democracy draws is ideological roots from ancient democracy, mainly from Classical Athens: since the people is sovereign, the government is called democratic, said Pericles the leader of Athens. But modern democracy does wrong to the basic democratic idea of equality and accessibility, since it chose to adopt some of the democratic ideas of Athens and reject the way in which Athens sustained its government. The Athenians did not think that it was possible to disconnect the governmental mechanism from its guiding principle; for the mechanism is what guaranteed democracy, the sovereignty of the people, the accessibility and the rotation: democracy, said Aristotle, is ruling and being ruled in turns.

So what did we forget? What did we give up? The lottery. More than anything else the democratic government relied on the lottery rather than on voting. Magistrates, cleric and jurists (that served as judges in Athens), and even government ministers – all were selected by lottery – and there was no “prime minister”. Please do not smile: “The rule of the people has the fairest name of all: ‘equality before the law’ (isonomia)… In this government, officials are selected by lot, and are held accountable and proposals are brought before the people… for all things are possible for the majority.”

He concludes:

We must first overcome the revulsion of the “professionals” and experts of political science like those who invented at the time the law for direct election of the prime minister. They are irrelevant. Is it so absurd to think that it is time to once again involve (and rotate) the people using the most democratic tool that Classical Athens left us?

One Response

  1. Dear Prof. Irad Malkin,

    Thanks a lot for your wonderful article on true democracy.

    However, it is customary practice in science to be aware of and report earlier literature on the subject. Therefore, please, read the chapter

    ‘A Concept for Government’

    from the book

    ‘The World Solution for World Problems’

    (go to: I hope you will refer to this literature in the future.

    Because it is a New Year I will give you the following Tao Stoïc:

    Tao Stoïc 200


    Since we have no blackboard here, Yong Ling, imagine a large
    rectangle filled with squirming dots. Each dot is a person, a
    citizen, it is overfull of them. Now add to it the knowledge that
    each person’s desires and interests clash with those of each other. What do you see?


    Continuous fighting, tooth and claw existence, the bully is
    the boss, behold, it is our world Master!


    Fine. Now think of a highly scientific solution for the problem in
    the rectangle.


    I would say: ‘Shut Up!’, and then point out a dot at random, and tell the lot to do only and always as he says. That’ll keep them quiet.


    Ah but then, you yourself are outside the rectangle, you can look on it as a whole, like some god or ‘sperrit’. Cannot you imagine that they all will complain about why they are not the chosen one’s? Try again but now with you one of the dots too, and from inside the rectangle, no ‘sperrits’.


    I would say (see Tao Stoic 17): ‘Let’s appoint 1000 random persons who will govern for a year. What they decide goes’.


    That is more like it. It is the ONLY scientific and sane solution for our world too. A Lottocracy in which every day three persons are drawn out of the group of 45-year olds, to govern for 300 days. Yong Ling, you are on the right track, the Obvious Way.

    For mote Tao Stoïcs go to:


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