Threlkeld: Democratizing Public Institutions

This is another one of the five sortition-advocacy pieces that Simon Threlkeld published in 1997-1998.

Democratizing Public Institutions: Juries for the selection of public officials

A rational analysis suggesting the use of juries of citizens instead of government monopoly for the purpose of selecting public decision-makers

Simon Threlkeld

Humanist in Canada, Spring 1997

A wide variety of public officials are chosen by the government. Among such officials are the various regulatory commissions, boards and tribunals, the boards of public broadcasters, judges, coroners and justices of the peace.

This government monopoly on the selection of so many decision-makers leaves a great deal to be desired. In the first place it is undemocratic because the people have no say in who the decision-makers are. In a more democratic society the selection of such decision-makers would be in the hands of the citizens, not the government.

A further problem is patronage. Where the government selects public officials, patronage is common. Patronage discriminates against people who lack the right political connections and turns public offices into the spoils of electoral victories. Distaste for patronage is near universal amongst citizens.
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