Paul Rosenfeld: The Extinction of Politics

A post by Paul Rosenfeld.

To readers of this blog the idea that random selection should play a central role in government may seem like common sense, but clearly it’s not. 341 followers (344 at last count!) represent a statistically invisible group on a planet of 7 billion. We aren’t a minority and we aren’t a fringe group (not even a lunatic fringe); from the perspective of politics we simply don’t exist (at least not in the U.S.). Our sense of things is anything but common, it is exceedingly rare. If we ever hope to see this thinking converted into action that will have to change. Somehow we must convince enough people to put our movement on the map. For this, we will need a highly effective argument, because the people we wish to persuade are living under the thrall of a myth.

The average citizen of our globe believes fervently in something which they call “The Democratic Process”. Voting is its central tenet. No matter how often it fails them they rarely waver in their devotion. And like true believers, fundamentalists even, each further obstacle is taken as a sign; the path is righteous but rocky, we must purify our faith and trudge ever onward. When we are finally worthy, the Democratic Process will at last deliver us. The road to true reverence has been long. Following the rise of the Third Estate there came the fall of property qualifications; then the secret ballot; voting by freed slaves; direct election of Senators; the ballot initiative and finally women were included. None of this brought deliverance and so today’s mantra is “corporate cash”. If only we can somehow stay the floodgates of corporate influence which pervert the process of “True” Democracy, then at long long last we will finally enter the promised land.
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