Short refutations of common objections to sortition (part 2)

Part 1 is here.

6. Random sampling will occasionally produce unrepresentative samples.

Significant deviation of a sample from the population sampled is in fact very rare. For example, in a population evenly split between men and women, the chance of having fewer than 40 women in a sample of one hundred people is less than 2%. The chance of having fewer than 30 woman is less than 2 in 10,000. And the chance of having 20 women or fewer is less than one in a billion. The current U.S. Senate (a body of 100 people) has 20 women. It is the highest number of women senators in U.S. history.

7. Since there are many population characteristics, the sample would be unrepresentative according to some of those.

Again, because the chance of significant deviation is so small, even if many characteristics are considered the chance that any of them would show significant deviation is small. For example, over one million characteristics would have to be considered before it would become likely that a group which is a minority of a third according any of those characteristics gains a majority in a sample of 200.

8. The lucky few who are selected will often serve personal or narrow interests rather than those of the people.

For policy to be approved by the allotted body, it would have to win a majority. Interests that are personal to one or to a few delegates would not be able to meet this criterion. By the time a proposal wins a majority is has to serve so many personal or narrow interests that it becomes representative. Continue reading