“Demiocracy”—a Nifty Neologism

We need a term that parallels “democracy”: one that names a system of government in one word. Demiocracy and its cognates (Demiocrat & Demiocratic) do this.

Moreover, Demiocracy is not an unduly puzzling new word: it immediately communicates:

1) That it’s a variant of democracy (only an “i” has been added), and

2) That it’s something small (a “demi-democracy”), from the prefix “demi,” whose dictionary definition is “half, semi, partial.” (The last item, “partial,” fits Demiocracy best.) (Demiocracy and its cognates should always be capitalized, so readers realize it’s not the word “democracy” (which is ordinarily lower-cased).)

Terms like “citizens jury” and “citizens assembly” are useful in places, but: 1) They lack cognates. 2) They are more descriptive than “Demiocracy,” but they aren’t adequately descriptive. A person encountering those terms might wonder, “Don’t we already have juries made up of citizens?” or “Don’t we already have town meetings?” Most importantly, 3) they fail to suggest the vital ingredient of diminution (via sampling), which “demi” does.

  1. Other terms lacking cognates are allotment and demarchy, although they can be used where appropriate.
  2. These terms do have cognates, but are obvious non-starters: lottocracy, stochocracy, and klerocracy.
  3. Sortition has cognates in sortitionism and sortitionistic, but those words lack the common touch. They’re my second choice—or maybe my third, after juristocracy. (I like “Sortinista” for a proponent of sortitionism.) It’s not perfect—but what is? It’s better than the alternatives, all things considered.

Here are other terms that can usefully employ the “demi” prefix and thereby mesh with Demiocracy:

Demi-public and Demi-jury: A citizens jury of one of the three types below; a body of lot-winners (regardless off the details of the lottery), used in place of Dahl’s term, “mini-public.”

  1. Demi-advisory panel: A Demi-public with advisory powers only. (Abbreviated as “Demi-AP”.)
  2. Demi-electorate: A Demi-public with electoral powers—i.e.,  to elect one or more office-holders. It might also have advisory powers.
  3. Demi-assembly (or Demi-Conclave): A Demi-public with the power to pass legislation—though perhaps only on to another legislative chamber, or on a specific topic or resolution. It might also have advisory and/or electoral powers.

Members of the above bodies would be called Demi-jurors, Demi-advisors, Demi-electors, and Demi-assemblymen / Demi-assemblywomen.

Demi-dubbing: The process of selecting a citizen to serve on a Demi-jury by some randomization process. The person so selected has been “dubbed” and he/she is a Demi-winner or Dubbee (i.e., dubbed by “the fickle finger of fate”).

51 Responses

  1. I actually quite like this terminology– it communicates that there is something “democratic” in the lottery system. But at the same time, it differentiates demiocracy from democracy; a difference that, in my eyes, has due to something like a lack of isogoria or ho boulomenos.

    This is something I’ve been puzzling over: in a very simple lotteried government, if you have not been chosen by lot, you have no method of participating in government. In my eyes, such a system is not “rule of the demos”, but rule of the “demi-demos”– a part of the demos that is similar to it, but still cannot be seen as a synecdoche for the demos.

    Even if they have not been elected, the average citizen in an electoral democracy holds the unpaid political office of “voter” and can participate at least to that extent. But due to the exclusionary nature of sortition (those who weren’t selected have absolutely no say in the decisions of that body), I cannot see how one can attribute decisions made by the demi-demos to the whole. I am very skeptical of descriptive representation or statistical similitude as a justification for sortition or synecdoche.

    Still, demiocracy is far more egalitarian and therefore in one sense more “democratic” than an electoral democracy.

    In any case, thank you for this new term– I will be sure to use it!

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  2. Charlie: I’m pleased “Demiocracy” hit the spot with you. i’m hoping more endorsers will chime in.

    I’ve been obsessed with writing up and promoting a variant of sortition for 57 years, after a disillusioning experience with elected representatives when I was a student council president.

    The absence of a good name for my system was a nagging irritation until about three months ago, when “Demiocracy” hit me. After a few hours of thought I concluded, “This is IT!” Every other candidate is either too esoteric, too hokey, or too wordy.

    I agree with you that citizens need to be able to express themselves in a sortition-based-system by balloting and by having a means of post-ballot participation. I’ve got you covered—watch this space! (Assuming Yoram will indulge me.) But I don’t want to discuss those matters in this thread—I like to keep threads single-topic-focused, as much as possible.

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  3. I have been fretting about terminology, seeking an alternative to sortition for years as well. Your proposal is better than most, (except the “dubbing” part), but I still hope we can do better. For a long time I have thought we needed to simply add a descriptor prefix to the word “democracy” because the original Greek democracy was built with the lottery procedure at its core. I resented the modern re-definition of “democracy” to mean an elected representative system that was originally proposed as an ALTERNATIVE in OPPOSITION to democracy (which for 2,000 years meant a system using lotteries).

    If we were to settle on the prefix “demi” I think it needs to be added before “Democracy” as “demi-democracy.” “Demiocracy” will always look like a typo, if the reader even notices the odd spelling AT ALL.

    While I shudder at terms like “lottocracy,” because to me the word “lottery” connotes gambling, or rule by randomness (unconsidered decision making). I have recently, however found some groups in Canada like “lottery,” happily using the term “civic lottery” for a sortition process when they draw samples. But I am not convinced.

    I generally prefer the prefix words “jury” or perhaps “assembly.” “Demiocracy” or “demi-democracy” does not provide the new person with any easy insights into the meaning beyond the negative connotation of “not full.” The term “jury-democracy” goes a long way to helping the new person to immediately appreciate the broad outlines of the system being discussed. For the other parts of speech, we would have the adjective “jury-democratic.” The prefix “jury” could be used throughout… as replacing a “mini-public” with the term a “jury-assembly” etc.

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  4. @tbouricius: This is why high-level dialoging like yours is a good thing: You’ve stimulated me into improving 1) my neologism and 2) my defense of it. Here goes:

    tbouricius: “”Demiocracy” will always look like a typo, if the reader even notices the odd spelling AT ALL.”

    A hyphen solves that problem (and eliminates the pesky need to capitalize): my new neologism is “demi-ocracy “

    tbouricius: “If we were to settle on the prefix ‘demi’ I think it needs to be added before “Democracy” as ‘demi-democracy.’”

    That’s unduly cumbersome; “demi-ocracy” communicates “demi-democracy” more concisely, which is a virtue once familiarity is gained.
    ——

    tbouricius: “The term “jury-democracy” goes a long way to helping the new person to immediately appreciate the broad outlines of the system being discussed.”

    I like the use of “jury” too; it’s why I said that “juristocracy” was my second choice for a neologism. I think that the term “citizens jury” is well-established and should continue to be used frequently, though informally.

    But a term that is immediately comprehensible can become somewhat irritating once comprehension has been achieved. A dilemma of this sort exists when designing a user interface for a computer application: a friendly interface for newcomers can come to seem dumbed-down and clumsy once users get up to speed and become veterans.

    Once the world, or anyway the demi-world of people paying attention to new political ideas, is up to speed with randomization proposals, and especially once sortition-based institutions have become widely adopted, people won’t need the “training wheels” of a “jury” prefix, and will be happier with a term that is briefer and more in harmony with existing one-word names like monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, kleptocracy, democracy, etc. (Political scientists will like a neater, more “fitting” term too.)

    Paralleling the form of those earlier terms will have the unconscious effect of making our proposal seem more serious and legitimate, as opposed to unconsciously seeming concocted and idiosyncratic.

    It helps that demi-ocracy has good cognates—i.e., “demi-ocrat” and “demi-ocratic.” Most other terms lack those.

    Another, stronger objection to “citizen jury” is that it implicitly assigns such bodies to a passive, Yes/No, jury-like role, not to the roles of advice-givers or initiators of legislation, which is what most sortition advocates desire. To describe those roles, a different term, “citizen assembly,” is needed. But its cognates are awkward, and it is not as immediately self-explanatory as citizen jury. (I.e., an “assembly” doesn’t strongly connote a legislature.)

    Worse, its existence invalidates (if we are logical) “citizens jury” as being a valid overall name for a sortitionized political system. To be logical, we need a wider, umbrella term that encompasses both roles: demi-ocracy serves the purpose.

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  5. PS: Some sortitionistas don’t want members of a sample group to discuss matters amongst themselves, so neither “jury” nor “assembly” would be proper terms for their version of a sortition-based system. “Demi-ocracy,” though, accommodates their version.

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  6. Roger I appreciate your taking a crack at this. My main focus over the past year has been trying to find ways to mainstream these concepts that make them understandable and appealing to the general public (in my case that means everyday Americans). Having started studying rhetoric and having approached and engaged close to 300 complete strangers in different parts of the US, I don’t yet have the magic words. I would, however, like to complicate/enrich this discussion a bit by stating the following (much of which everyone already recognizes but I think an occasional reminder is healthy):

    – For all our talk of statistical representation, the sortition space is highly unrepresentative of the general public. Here on Equality by Lot, in Democracy R&D member organizations, and in the academic field, we appear to be very disproportionately white, male, middle-class, college educated, academic, liberal/progressive, and interested in democratic processes and history. This is obviously not intentional, but nevertheless it is problematic, we need to address it (for a whole host of reasons), and until we do we should be careful not to have too much confidence in what WE feel is clear and appealing terminology – especially if we want to reach populations we are not a part of. We are a very poor focus group.

    – Different strokes will work for different folks. As Terry brought up, ‘lotto’ and ‘lottery’ are typically disliked in mostly middle-class, college-educated, liberal sortition space because many of us have negative views of gambling and Powerball Lotteries. But half the US plays the lottery because they like the lottery. Indeed, in my conversations with everyday Americas I have found that the world ‘civic lottery’ (borrowed from the Canadian organization MASS LBP that Terry mentioned) is (a) immediately understood and usually (b) has a positive association in the listeners mind. ‘Jury’ on the other hand, seems to be well liked in the mostly white, middle-class sortition space as it is accessible and understandable, but I have found that it’s coupling with the Justice System in the US does not make it a very popular word in certain black communities. So we probably won’t find a one-size-fits-all terminology.

    – The idea of using ‘Demi’ as the foundation for a naming system appeals to my democracy nerd side, but I honestly think ‘demiocracy’ would appear almost as intelligible and academicy to the general public as the word ‘sortition’.

    – Personally, I wish there was a way to get away from the Greek words and name a system meant to empower everyday people in the language they speak. (I’m not a fan of the terms ‘lottocracy’, ‘demarchy’, justocracy, etc. either) But since that’s probably not going to happen I currently lean toward reclaiming the one Greek word everybody knows: democracy. It would require us to use more edgy framing (i.e. challenging the notion that electoral politics even counts as democracy), but I for one think more provocative rhetoric is one of the major things we are missing.

    – Lotto-centric terms can limit our options and make us sound like we’re more obsessed with a tool (lotteries) than with a particular outcome or vision (good, democratic government).

    – Somewhat based on the conversations I’ve been having (and the words I’ve heard people use to describe the concepts I’ve been explaining to them), I’m currently kicking around a framing for use in the US that focuses on real democracy (which in turn paints electoral politics as ‘sham democracy) and on Lincoln’s still-popular concept ‘of, by, and for the people’. And using the term ‘civic lottery’ to explain the selection process, and phrases like ‘all walks of life’ and ‘cross-section of the society’ rather then academic phrases like ‘stratified sample’ and ‘statistically representative’.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents. Wish we could afford some professional polling and focus groups! Enjoying the post and comments.

    Adam

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  7. Roger,

    Although this is an interesting thread, nomenclature is only a problem for those seeking to replace “electoralism” with an aleatory alternative (my alliterative response to your nifty neologism). But this is a fool’s errand as classical democracy involved a mixture of direct, aleatory and electoral elements and this will also be true of the modern variant. All that is needed to make democracy more democratic is to add the missing element – the final judgment of large randomly-selected juries as a stochastic proxy for the target population.

    CharlieN:> a lack of isogoria or ho boulomenos. . . I am very skeptical of descriptive representation or statistical similitude as a justification for sortition or synecdoche

    Classical democracy was a hybrid of isonomia and isegoria — descriptive representation only applies to the former (under certain exacting conditions). I agree that sortition cannot have a role to play in isegoria – in large poleis isegoria can only be achieved by representation and this involves a complex mix of election, media diversity, citizen initiative (plus votation) and other factors. The longest chapter of my PhD thesis is devoted to representative isegoria, which I would be happy to send you if you wish.

    Roger:> Another, stronger objection to “citizen jury” is that it implicitly assigns such bodies to a passive, Yes/No, jury-like role, not to the roles of advice-givers or initiators of legislation, which is what most sortition advocates desire.

    Well, most sortation advocates are wrong here, for reasons (touched on by Charlie) that we have discussed at length on this forum. The original template is the 4th-century legislative panels, which listened (in silence) to the competing advocates and then determined the outcome by voting. Sortition needs to be distinguished from deliberative democracy which is a set of procedural ideals for a debating chamber and has nothing to do with representation.

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  8. PS for the benefit of those new to this forum, the argument against the role of sortition in isegoria is straightforward — descriptive representation is based on the law of large numbers, which does not apply to the speech acts of individuals in an assembly of several hundred persons, so they are random in the pejorative sense of the word. This is why the only role a randomly-selected legislature can have is isonomic as opposed to isegoric (forgive the neologism) — the jury can only listen to the arguments in silence and then vote (as was the case with the 4th century nomothetai). There are good reasons to believe that each (large) sample of the target population would, when presented with balanced information and advocacy, vote in the same way (given an acceptable margin of error), but this representative fidelity would be destroyed as soon as a randomly-selected person rose to her feet to speak. This is why Harrington (who made the original proposal) advocated draconian punishment for any member of the Prerogative Tribe (who had the decision right) who indulged in speech acts.

    The case for Habermasian deliberation (advocated by some people on this blog) is made on epistemic grounds; but equal speech only pertains to the internal workings of the group. That’s why few deliberative democrats are interested in representation (or sortition). We do need to be very clear about the irrelevance of sortition to isegoria or ho boulomenos, so thanks to CharlieN for pointing this out.

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  9. @keithsutherland: This responds only to your first comment. I’ll leave the second one to those more versed in those matters. (Adam Cronkright: I’ll get around to replying to you soon.)

    Keith: “… nomenclature is only a problem for those seeking to replace “electoralism” with an aleatory alternative (my alliterative response to your nifty neologism). But this is a fool’s errand as classical democracy involved a mixture of direct, aleatory and electoral elements and this will also be true of the modern variant.”

    OK, so we’ll have a mixed political system. (That is, FWIW, the sort of system I desire also, as I indicated to CharlieN by saying that my system would allow citizens to vote and to participate in government after a drawing.) But what if aleatory elements constitute over 50% of the mixture, or if they are mrr important than its electoral and direct (referendum-type) elements? Shouldn’t it then have a name like demi-ocracy, one alluding to its predominant feature—the rule of a part (demi) of the demos?

    And, in the meantime, why shouldn’t “those seeking to [entirely or mostly] replace ‘electorialism’ with an aleatory alternative,” even if misguided, adopt a niftier formal name for what they seek than “klerotocracy”?

    Keith: “The longest chapter of my PhD thesis is devoted to representative isegoria, which I would be happy to send you if you wish.”

    You (and anyone else here) can post your thesis or anything else as a PDF file for free on this site, so anyone can see it, and you needn’t be bothered sending it out one at a time: http://www.pdf-archive.com

    Keith: “The original template is the 4th-century legislative panels, which listened (in silence) to the competing advocates and then determined the outcome by voting.”

    But couldn’t the Council of 500, which surely jabbered among itself, and/or the lot-appointed officials it oversaw, be taken as our template, or anyway as our inspiration?

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  10. Roger,

    If we are goal is to reclaim democracy from “aristocratic” corruption then we have no need to abjure the term. The mix of direct, aleatory and direct elements will change over time, but that’s no reason to reject the term for the rule of (all) the people. I’m glad we agree on the need for a mixed system, and hope the misguided (as you put it) will be more cautious in the light of the Rosenfeld affair.

    >demiocracy — the rule of a part (demi) of the demos

    That’s why we should avoid the term like the plague. The Greeks believed that everyone should rule, either simultaneously or in turn. That’s not possible in large poleis, hence the need for representation. Most Athenian citizens participated in magistracies — hence Aristotle’s claim regarding ruling and being ruled in turn — and this is impossible in large states.

    >You (and anyone else here) can post your thesis or anything else as a PDF file for free

    I intend to turn it into a book and publishers take a dim view of this sort of thing.

    >But couldn’t the Council of 500, which surely jabbered among itself, and/or the lot-appointed officials it oversaw, be taken as our template, or anyway as our inspiration?

    The majority of historians of classical Greece are of the view that the council was a collective magistracy, which acted as a conduit for legislative proposals, not a deliberative assembly (it only had decision power over minor matters). Modern advocates of deliberative democracy who use the council as their template are guilty of wishful thinking (even Fishkin has been guilty of this on occasion). The top limit for a deliberative group is normally seen as 12-24 (certainly not 500), that’s why Bagehot argued that the deliberative forum of the English nation was the cabinet, not parliament.

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  11. “The mix of direct, aleatory and direct elements”

    sorry I meant The mix of direct, aleatory and electoral elements

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  12. Adam wrote:

    > reclaiming the one Greek word everybody knows: democracy. It would require us to use more edgy framing (i.e. challenging the notion that electoral politics even counts as democracy), but I for one think more provocative rhetoric is one of the major things we are missing.

    I support this.

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  13. Hello Yoram, I often use the quote: http://classiques.uqac.ca/contemporains/dupuis_deri_francis/esprit_anti_democratique/esprit_anti_democratique.html

    Se réclamant de la « démocratie » – sans toutefois donner plus de pouvoir au démos –, les représentants de nos systèmes politiques n’ont pas seulement piégé le peuple qu’ils prétendaient servir, c’est la langue elle-même qu’ils ont trahie : comment désormais mettre à jour l’anti-démocratisme des discours, des pratiques, des systèmes et des hommes politiques rangés sous l’étiquette de « démocrates » ? Le glissement de sens qu’a connu le mot « démocratie » constitue sans doute le principal coup de maître de la propagande politique moderne.

    and in order to explain our proposal https://equalitybylot.com/2018/03/12/criteria-and-two-proposals-for-the-use-of-sortition-in-politics/ I compare (a part of) our proposal with the Jury in court cases and the whole idea is very quickly understood:

    1- A crime is committed
    – a legislative proposal is made by the elected politicians
    2. The state prosecutor puts the potential criminal in accusation
    – the agenda Jury decides that the legislation proposal is of great importance for the population.
    3. A trial is started an a jury is called (obligation to participate)
    – a legislative jury is called by the Agenda jury (obligation to participate)
    4. De Jury decides guilty or innocent
    – the Jury votes on the legislation proposal (and in our proposal the votes are added to the votes of the elected politicians).

    All the advantages of sortition are kept (see our criteria), short mandate, full inclusion, decisive, simple robust system of sortition, no deliberation but an encouragement of making a short content,..

    The advance knowledge of the ‘Jury’ system in courts makes the ‘political’ sortition proposals more easy to understand and more acceptable. There is no (or little) negative respons to overcome to start with.

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  14. > 1- A crime is committed
    > – a legislative proposal is made by the elected politicians

    Indeed. In a democratic system, why should the criminals – or any other non-representative group – be writing the legislative proposals?

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  15. In our country (Belgium) some legislative proposals of some complexity (energy consumption regulations of buildings) are written by public tender. This way private companies are payed to write legislation that fits their objectives. I have this confirmed by the ministry concerned. There is afterwards an evaluation by the administration but when they can screen such a legislation they could write it also I suppose. And parliament votes accordingly to ‘party instructions’.

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  16. Adam Cronkright>”Personally, I wish there was a way to get away from the Greek words and name a system meant to empower everyday people in the language they speak. (I’m not a fan of the terms ‘lottocracy’, ‘demarchy’, justocracy, etc. either) But since that’s probably not going to happen I currently lean toward reclaiming the one Greek word everybody knows: democracy.”

    Yesterday, in the bibliography of the mini-book “(S)election: The Democratic Alternative” by Terry Bouricious, I came across an entry for “Imaginative Randomocracy” by Garry Stevenson and Peter Stone. But that word, “randomocracy,” won’t work, because its cognates, “randomocrat” & “randomocratic,” don’t include an allusion to the demos, and therefore are “off.” However, the cognates “randemocrat” & “randemocratic” are OK, and the root, “randemocracy” (based on our “everyday language”), is very much “on.” (It’s certainly better than my “demi-ocracy” (although it might still play a minor role) and than “juristocracy.”)

    I don’t suggest that “randemocracy” should be used in preference to informal terms like “citizen jury” or “citizen assembly,” which are more descriptive and communicative when “selling” the idea of sortitionism. But those terms need supplementation, being only specific instantiations of a larger principle of government. (Analogously, “parliament” and “bicameral legislatures” are specific instantiations of the larger principle of democracy.) Our larger principle is sortition (which doesn’t lend itself to cognates) or, in everyday English, random allotment—hence “randemocracy.”

    Adam Cronkright>”I currently lean toward reclaiming the one Greek word everybody knows: democracy. It would require us to use more edgy framing (i.e. challenging the notion that electoral politics even counts as democracy), but I for one think more provocative rhetoric is one of the major things we are missing.”

    How about this for “an edgy framing” of “electoral politics”: “DeMockery”? (The capitalization helps people to read it as “the mockery” instead of mis-reading it as “dem-ockery.” Probably only the “M” need be capitalized.) (It’s another neologism of mine.) It’s clever, concise, confrontational—and memorable. And how’s this for the title of an Oxford Union (or equivalent) debate: “Randemocracy vs. Demockery”?

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  17. PS: “randemarchy” might in a few decades become (or might even be used much sooner by advocates) a shorter alternative to “randemocracy,” after people had become accustomed to the sotitionistic implication of “randem.” Its cognates, “randemarchist” and “randemarchistic” are OK. And “demarchy” already has standing in political science as an appropriate term.

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  18. >“Randemocracy vs. Demockery”?

    This runs the risk of making our project appear monumentally silly. I’m with Adam — all we need to do is reclaim the original term by making democracy more democratic. Note: this has the implication that we are seeking to improve, rather than replace, our current political arrangements.

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  19. >Roger, on your “randemocracy” suggestion

    It’s an interesting twist, but I think from a framing perspective we would be shooting ourselves in the foot to use anything with the word ‘random’ in it. In my conversations with everyday Americans, at least, any time I’ve used ‘random selection’ or ‘randomly selected’ to describe a citizens legislature the response has been negative (“You’re gonna just put a bunch of RANDOMS in Congress?”). It seems that many people who are not sortitionists or mathematicians associate the word ‘random’ with chaos or haphazard.

    I have found people (Americans) are much more comfortable with the idea of a ‘civic lottery’, and I think it is because the state-run lotteries they participate in are controlled, orderly, legitimate, etc.

    And while I get your point that this would be more of a high-level term and we would continue to talk of Citizens Juries, etc. when addressing lay people, it still seems like we would be handing our political opponents an advantage by branding ourselves at least in certain spaces as proponents of ‘randemocracy’, which they could twist to play on common people’s negative associations of the word random.

    >Keith, on ‘making democracy more democratic.’ and on ‘the implication that we are seeking to improve, rather than replace, our current political arrangements.’

    I respectfully disagree. While I probably wouldn’t use ‘DeMockery’ either, for me the framing isn’t about making democracy more democratic, it is about calling out electoral politics as not truly providing us a democracy, and offering up truly democratic alternatives that can – at the very least incrementally – replace our current political arrangements. While I do NOT advocate randomly selecting individual public offices or really any position requiring special skills/characteristics, I do NOT think that our current political arrangements are democratic, effective, nor sustainable. In my country (the US) and in others our current arrangements also degrade the capacity of citizens and are tearing us apart at the seams. Electoral politics appears to bring out the worst in everyone, candidates, voters, and elected officials. And the increasing frustration and desperation that broad swaths of society have toward our current political arrangements that has been fomenting for decades, is making them more open to authoritarian demagogues. Just to name a few: Trump in the US and now the newly-elected Bolsonaro in Brazil who, among other horrible things, has said that the Brazil’s past military dictatorship didn’t kill enough people.

    There may be some countries in this world where the politics are not so bad that a purely complementary role for sortition would foot the bill. But around the world I find it increasingly doubtful that consultative and complementary uses of sortition will solve our deepening political crisis, and frankly I don’t think most everyday people will be excited about proposals that do anything less than replace our broken political systems. Simply improving this game of politicians and parties simply isn’t going to cut it. We want real democracy.

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  20. Adam,

    Although we’re all frustrated with the crisis of electoral democracy, we need to bear in mind three points.

    1. Classical democracy involved a mixture of direct, electoral and aleatory mechanisms. Although some historians view the age of Pericles as a quasi-dictatorship, this period is still associated with the high water of democracy.

    2. Trump, Bolsonaro (and also Sanders and Corbyn) did not create the sharply-divided societies we inhabit. Populism is simply a response to existing cleavages within public preferences. Absent a consensus decision rule, there is no reason to think that allotment would generate different outcomes.

    3. Although we all agree on the role of large randomly-selected juries in deciding legislative outcomes, it is hard to see how policy proposals can be generated democratically without recourse to election. See David Owen and Graham Smith’s draft paper The Circumstances of Sortition: https://ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/929-utopias-2018/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Owen-and-Smith-PS-special-issue-on-Sortition.pdf The authors are highly regarded in their fields (political theory and democratic innovations, respectively).

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  21. Keith,

    Enjoying the back and fourth. I have a strong feeling that we might actually see things pretty similarly but are simply be missing each other because of our definitions of ‘democracy’ and what it would mean to ‘replace current political arrangements’.

    As I mentioned in my comment, I do NOT think sortition should be used to fill all public offices, and even in the student governments we’ve worked with it is clear that sortition alone will not lead to political equality or equal representation (other practices like rotation and democratic decision-making processes are essential). I also don’t see sortition as a magic bullet or cure-all, and I think we need qualified executives to execute policy decisions made by allotted bodies and that there are also important roles for voluntary self-selected groups and even for referendum and some variation on voting. I’m not a sortitionista. All that being said…

    1. I agree that classical Athenian democracy constituted a mixture of direct, electoral, and aleatory mechanisms, and I think we both agree it would be a positive to move toward something resembling that ‘high-water mark’ (while obviously pushing well past it with the enfranchisement of everyone). In my mind, anything even remotely resembling the Athenian model would mean a radical change to our current political arrangements and in many instances a replacing of current structures and processes. It wouldn’t be the electoral politics we’ve seen for the past 200 years with a few new bells and whistles. Athens wasn’t all sortition all the time, but it didn’t look much like modern ‘democratic’ politics.

    2. I agree that there are existing cleavages within public preferences, but are you suggesting that the highly-polarizing partisan tactics used to win elections in a place like the US have no amplifying affect on those cleavages? No doubt there will be political divisions among allotted legislatures, and I agree that majority, super-majority, and consensus decision-making processes play an important role, but from a basic starting point wouldn’t you agree that a well-run civic lottery would be less polarizing and divisive than the increasingly polarized and debasing electoral campaigns we see around the world?

    There also appears to be ample evidence suggesting that even when mini-publics are charged with deliberating on deeply divisive issues, they tend to engage with one another across their differences in civil and respectful ways, a stark contrast to something like the US Congress. How a member of a legislature is selected, who they owe political favors to, and whether or not they are posturing to win reelection do influence the way they engage with others who hold different opinions and preferences.

    P.S., the reason I mentioned Trump and Bolsonaro isn’t because they are right-wing, its because they clearly have authoritarian and anti-democratic leanings, and they both WON presidential elections. I may not agree with Sanders’ positions or rhetoric, but he isn’t glorifying past and present military dictators – there is a difference. It’s also more powerful and salient to talk about people who actually won elections to show where elections can lead us, than to talk about someone like Sanders who didn’t even win his primary. I don’t know much about Corbyn, apologies for my Americentrism.

    Also, I realized I confused matters by using elected presidents as my example. Again, I do NOT think sortition should be used for individual offices or for any position requiring special skills and characteristics (like a president), but I do think sortition could dramatically improve (even from a polarization standpoint), presidential elections. For example, we could replace the American party primary system (unfortunately the only one I know much about), which is flooded with money and is often won by playing to the most radical base, with a large, allotted, and non-partisan ‘Citizen Nomination Commission’. This group of citizens could spend a year or two head-hunting the most qualified leaders from around the country (public administrators, CEOs, etc.), interviewing them, interviewing people who have been lead by them, and settle on a handful of highly-qualified candidates that then go on the ballot for a nation-wide presidential election. Similar concept to that put forward by David Schecter and Terry Bouricious in An Idealized Design for Government. Part 2: Executive Branch Accountability: http://www.academia.edu/11673705/An_Idealized_Design_for_Government._Part_2_Executive_Branch_Accountability

    I would presume/hope that this kind of deep, informed, and deliberative citizen-lead process would be less vulnerable to polarization and demagoguery than party primaries where those doing the nominating (voters) have little more to go off of than soundbites and slogans they’ve seen on TV.

    3. I’m familiar with both David and Graham’s work. I am a bit confused, however, as you referenced it to back up your statement that “it is hard to see how policy proposals can be generated democratically without recourse to election.”, and yet David and Graham seem to suggest not elections but the testing out of a “separate sortition agenda-setting assembly.” In ancient Athens, which you referred to as the high-water mark of democracy, the agenda for the assembly was set by the alloted Council, not an elected body. So why would you suggest that its hard to see how we could set an agenda without elections? I agree with David and Graham (and the ancient Athenians) that one big do-it-all sortition assembly is not our best bet for good, democratic governance, but in my mind that increases my interest in multi-body sortition proposals, like the one also made David Schecter and Terry Bouricius in ‘An Idealized Design for the Legislative Branch of Government’.

    Again, I don’t think you and I are that far apart in how we view this stuff and where we want it to go – we seem to be just missing each other on our definitions. I have a feeling like perhaps you took my call to replace our current political arrangements to mean everything should be decided by one big allotted body, which has NEVER been a view that I subscribe to. At the same time, I don’t think the most radical change we should hope for is a complementary role for sortition in the form of consultative mini-publics, and it seems you don’t either (“we all agree on the role of large randomly-selected juries in deciding legislative outcomes”). And to me, anything involving large randomly-selected juries with actual decision-making authority would constitute a radical and important shift away from our current political arrangements. A shift toward real democracy. And that’s a shift I would welcome.

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  22. I do see strong similartities between the proposal and explanations of the work by David Owen en Graham Smith mentioned in previous posting (The circumstances of sortition) and our proposal (https://equalitybylot.com/2018/03/12/criteria-and-two-proposals-for-the-use-of-sortition-in-politics/). It is clear that a further study in dept is needed and we plan a second round ‘think with us’ to improve our list of criteria, to expand the motivations of the criteria, and maybe even improve our proposals. We are now translating some additional documents and we hope to be able to start soon with the publications. In the mean time, all comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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  23. Hi Adam [in haste]

    I agree that we agree about most things — in particular that sortition is not suitable for the selection of executives and that minipublics should have a statutory rather than advisory role. I think we also agree that the goal is to reclaim democracy, rather than replace it with a clunky neologism. By reclaiming democracy, I mean returning to its (Athenian) roots. As to whether or not our plans are radical, I think that’s more a question of rhetoric — in particular whether you want to work with or against the grain.

    It strikes me that the only thing we disagree on two things:

    1. Does sortition has a role to play in agenda setting?
    ========================================
    I don’t have the Owen/Smith paper in front of me (I’m at work right now), but as I remember it they agree with the consensus amongst historians that the council was an administrative secretariat rather than a deliberative body (it’s hard to imagine deliberation between 500 people). Deliberative democrats who use the Athenian council as their template are guilty of anachronism and wishful thinking. I’m going to ask the authors if we might use their draft as the basis for a post, as it struck me that the principal thrust of their argument was that election was an essential part of agenda setting. I seem to remember at the end they do briefly float the idea of a separate allotted agenda body but this is no better worked out than Dahl’s original throwaway remark. The reason that it would undemocratic is simple — the law of large numbers does not apply to the speech acts of a group of a few hundred people, only to their aggregate votes (as all votes carry the same weight). If you look at the draft again they are clear that the nomothetai are their model, and all they did was listen to the arguments of the advocates before determining the outcome.

    2. The rhetorical style of a representative allotted body
    ===========================================
    Of course it’s true that populist leaders from the right and the left amplify existing cleavages, but they don’t conjure them up out of thin air. It’s also true that experiments in deliberative democracy have consensus as the goal but a) such bodies have no statutory power and b) deliberative democrats are not interested in representation, only in communicative norms. If the allotted body is to have statutory powers then representation is the key factor, and this has serious entailments — participation has to be quasi-mandatory, and the differences that exist in the target population (very significant in multicultural and highly-polarised societies) have to be preserved, otherwise different samples would come to different conclusions and there would be no way of knowing which one was the representative one. This would suggest a forensic model of deliberation (Gary Remer is very good on this, and Bernard Manin is largely in agreement) between competing advocates, with the jury having a purely decision role. This may not go down well with Habermasians, but our concern is representation not communicative norms.

    Sorry this is in haste, but I’m a bit pushed for time at the moment.

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  24. Adam,

    From p. 11 of the draft:

    Those who wish to retain an agenda-setting role for a sortition legislature must provide a stronger account of how this role is to be facilitated and how leadership is to be enacted to drive agendas in a way that does not undermine political equality. Consequently, there are good reasons to remove agenda setting from the sortition chamber, which could make it a more responsive body that engages primarily in scrutiny.

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  25. Keith wrote:
    >” Populism is simply a response to existing cleavages within public preferences. Absent a consensus decision rule, there is no reason to think that allotment would generate different outcomes.”

    We can’t know for sure the relative significance of pre-existing societal cleavages compared to manufactured “enemies” that are beneficial for voter mobilization in electoral situations. As Adam suggests, at the very least we should agree that electoral contests can exacerbate any existing cleavages.

    As for a decision rule… there are many possible approaches… Here is one used in some conflict situations: Each opposing side drafts and submits a proposal that an impartial judge (mini-public) then must select from. Each side is then motivated to present the most “reasonable” proposal they can live with for fear that if theirs is too extreme it will be rejected, and the OTHER side will get THEIRS chosen.

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  26. Terry,

    Agree completely, that’s almost an exact paraphrase of Harrington’s (1656) decision model based on the analogy of two children dividing a cake:

    For example, two of them have a cake yet undivided which was given between them that each of them therefore may have that which is due. “Divide,” says one to the other, “and I will choose, or let me divide, and you shall choose.” If this be but once agreed upon, it is enough, for the divider dividing unequally loses in regard that the other takes the better half. Wherefore, she divides equally and so both have right.

    This, Harrington claimed, was a good principle for a bicameral legislature, in which the divider was elected and the chooser (in part) selected by lot. It clearly presupposes a radical separation between advocacy and judgment, I guess the only thing we differ on is the role of election in choosing the advocates for “each side” — arguably election is more democratic than leaving it to charisma, muscle, tribal leadership, heredity, divine right or whatever.

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  27. In response to the criticism above, I withdraw “demi-ocracy” and “randemocracy.” In their place I submit “CITOCRACY,” my best and final offer. It means “Power to, and in, the Citizens.” This meaning is broadly the same as democracy’s meaning, “Power to (and in) the People.”

    But it’s not a mere redundancy, because It implies that that power will be exercised significantly by persons who have not been elected—i.e., by ordinary citizens—and not, or not only, by elected intermediary professional politicians. And also not exercised by such unavoidably accompanying afflictions of mass democracy as political parties, propagandists, pressure groups, the press (aka the middleman media), and pelf-possessors, whose character and interest notably differ from citizens’—for the worse.

    I hereby dub our current system “POLOCRACY”—“power to and in the politicians (“pols” and the “political class”).” It is a neatly orthogonal term that covers the remainder of “the people”—i.e., elected citizens and their minions.

    (Perhaps, for clarity until familiarity has been achieved, the terms might be hyphenated, thus: “cit-ocracy” and “pol-ocracy.”)

    “Citocracy” is ordinary English and doesn’t suggest anything off-puttingly foreign, archaic, esoteric, academic, or radical. (And yet it has a satisfying hint of radicalism in its allusion to the French Revolution’s battle-cry appeal to “citoyens!”) So, persons hearing the word might be willing to hear more about it. At which point a proponent could say:

    1. Citocracy implies a system in which “citizens panels” (advisory) and/or “citizens juries” (proposal-evaluators and/or legislator-electors) and/or “citizens assemblies” (legislators) would play a major role. (The “cit” prefix in “citocracy” builds naturally upon those three commonly used terms.

    2. Citocracy implies the elimination or curtailment of the six above-listed Pernicious P’s (which a proponent could describe and denigrate), starting with professional party-system politicians, who reign under “polocracy”—a system that our Founders didn’t intend. They had in mind instead a system of amateur citizen legislators—though “notables,” to be sure—i.e., a citocracy.

    OTOH, if, as is more likely, a sortition proponent had “led off” by advocating “citizen juries,” etc., he could later, at his option, say, “a handy name for a democracy that employs citizens in this manner is ‘citocracy,’” stressing the first syllable in both words to emphasize their alignment.

    Our audiences will get used to the word in the time it takes to make an omelette. (I.e., in anywhere from three minutes or three years.) Its cognates “citocrat,” “citocrats,” & “citocratic” are linguistically acceptable too. That set of terms, translated, would likely also work in French and other Romance languages.

    Third time’s the charm—eh, what? I daresay “citocracy” is as perfect as it’s going to get. What say you, Adam? Yoram? What say you all? Have we got a consensus? Or should we … vote on it??
    ——————

    OBJECTIONS:

    1. Isn’t “democracy” good enough?

    No, because everyone strongly associates the unqualified word “democracy” with elections. Like other sortitionistas, Van Reybrouck laments this, saying, “The words ‘elections’ and ‘democracy’ are noways synonymous to almost everyone” (Against Elections, page 34).

    So we need a word, acceptable to almost everyone, that implies democracy but does NOT connote pure electoralism, as “democracy” unfortunately does.
    —————————

    2. Isn’t “real democracy” good enough? “Democracy” implied sortition to the ancient Greeks. Since they have dibs on the word, why not accept it? Can’t we “reclaim” it from its misuse among us by the use of “real democracy” as contrasted with our current “fake democracy”?

    No (other than as an intra-academic exercise), because:

    A. Multi-word terms are a clunky “handle”; and, in addition, “real democracy” is undescriptive, unlike “citocracy.”

    B. Ancient Greece doesn’t have a patent on “real” democracy. Maybe the “real democracy” we should build on is what was practiced by Rousseau’s oak-tree peasants, or by other non-sortitionistic proto-democracies.

    C. Ancient Greece was a political failure in many ways. (What people think of when they think of ancient Greece are such bloopers the execution of Socrates, unending city-state civil wars, the tyrannous Delian League, the Peloponnesian war, and the expedition to Syracuse, followed by decline and domination by others. Even its fabled Assembly wasn’t all that popular—many citizens had to be rounded up and herded into it by guards with red-dyed whips.) So its form of sortition evidently didn’t express Greeks’ primal general will: to survive and prosper.

    Our audience will have a vague memory of the negatives above, and our opponents will sharpen it, tainting sortition by association. (Even if a closer look at history would absolve sortition of the blame and put it on the Assembly, that will not be given much credence by many, who won’t be listening, or who will view it as motivated reasoning.) We should avoid giving opponents a stick to beat us with, by circumspectly not implying that ancient Athens was exemplary.

    D. Ancient Greece wasn’t as purely sortitionistic as many citizen jury advocates believe, according to Keith Sutherland, citing research by an associate.

    “Democracy” is an umbrella term that includes mixed elements of both “citocracy” (rule by citizens) and “polocracy” (rule by politicians) in some proportion. Ancient Greece had about an 80/20 mix. We have a 5/95 mix. We should try to strike a happy medium.

    E. Americans may suspect they are being “sold” something with a hidden downside when they are urged to embrace “real democracy, such as they had in ancient Greece.” They’ll think of the warning, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” and wonder, “what’s the catch?”

    (And who’s to say what’s real and what’s phony? Aldous Huxley wrote a paragraph, which could have been titled “Spare Me the Real Anything,” in which he pointed to instances where the supposedly “real” and “true” versions of something (e.g., “real freedom”—i.e., submission to an alleged general will) were actually inferior to the unadorned, plain-term versions.)

    Once Americans learn that “real” democracy involves the loss of their vote (if one chamber of a legislature will no longer be elected, for instance, or if lots of powers will be transferred from both houses to an unelected house) many of them will say, “Aha!—I knew there was a catch!” and tune out.

    (I think that what’s needed to finesse the eternal, dealbreaking objection of “No Vote—No Deal” is the “BalLotery” mechanism I proposed in my October 20, 2018 thread, “Demarchy—small, sample electorates electing officials,” at https://equalitybylot.com/2018/10/20/demarchy-small-sample-electorates-electing-officials/ Using a BalLotery, citizens would cast multiple “BalLots” for their acquaintances. These would be put into a pool, along with some ratio of Lots (say 50:50 to begin with), from which a sample-body sovereign would be drawn.) I’ll say more on this technique in future comments on that article.

    Also, some audience members might take offense at any imagined hint that they, by being adherents of “democracy,” are suckers for “buying” something phony—i.e., for not buying “real” democracy..

    F. Americans as a general rule don’t want something old-fashioned; they want something modern. “Democracy’s” appeal is old-fashioned and wearing thin (as van Reybrouck documents), because it’s associated with the Pernicious P’s, so invoking robe-wearing ancients on its behalf doesn’t help much.

    “Citocracy,” OTOH, sounds like a new invention, or at least like an exciting “new and improved” version of democracy. “Positioning” sortitionism in this way, as something deserving of a new term, is better marketing than attempting to sell it under the old label. Sortitionism will be attractive if its brand-name suggests “a radical and important shift away from our current political arrangements,” to quote Adam Cronkright—but still not anything too kookie, because it relies on citizens.
    ————–

    3. Is “demockery” too ridiculous to use?

    We should not forswear it. It’s a good arrow to have in our quiver. When to use it depends on the context. in a heated oral debate an ardent proponent could throw it in his opponent’s face to good effect, given the right opportunity. E.g., “You call it democracy; I call it demockery!”

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  28. Roger:> “Democracy” is an umbrella term that includes mixed elements of both “citocracy” (rule by citizens) and “polocracy” (rule by politicians) in some proportion. Ancient Greece had about an 80/20 mix. We have a 5/95 mix. We should try to strike a happy medium.

    Sure, that’s why we want to reclaim the word “democracy”. For over two millennia the 80/20 mix was what people had in mind when they used the word, the recent equation with election is a mere blip in time.

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  29. I guess, unfortunately, that not everyone will embrace “citocracy,” and will continue to prefer “real democracy” or similar terms. Persons who aren’t attracted to “citocracy” don’t have to use it.

    But several people here have expressed frustration with existing terms. If I’ve provided them with what they’ve been longing for, then that’s something accomplished. I hope that it will hit the spot with as many as half of EBL’s readers.

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  30. Roger,
    “Citocracy” does not have the severe problems of terms like “lottocracy,” and I could accept it if it caught on, but it doesn’t grab me initially. (Some might assume it is intended for city residents over rural). I agree that “real democracy” doesn’t work. If anything, that term is owned by referendum direct democracy advocates… and listeners would assume we were speaking of an impractical system where everybody got to vote on everything over the Internet. I still lean towards a modifying adjective like “jury democracy” Or “democracy by jury” (for other parts of speech… things like jury-democratic).

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  31. Terry:> I agree that “real democracy” doesn’t work. If anything, that term is owned by referendum direct democracy advocates

    Actually its provenance is older than that. In his essay ‘Traditional and Critical Theory’ Max Horkheimer expands on Karl Marx’s notion of ‘real democracy’:

    Democracy is for Marx the political form of socialism . . . democratic institutions on this view should no longer be aggregative or based on rational self-interest; rather, they should be participatory and based on richer notions of reason and solidarity. (J. Bohman, 1996, p. 191)

    The antithesis of this is liberal democracy (which some seek to disparage as electoral democracy). The liberal case for sortition retains elections but supplements them with final decision making by large randomly-selected juries. That’s why I seek to improve, rather than replace democracy, and am opposed to neologisms, nifty or otherwise.

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  32. Jury has an acceptable ‘automatic connotation’. It is called upon when necessary, it has a short time mandate, they listen to the experts of both sides, it has decisive power. The only misunderstanding may be the number of jury members which is very low in the juridical case. There is no ‘representativity’ whatsoever. This was also not the initial requirement. This was only the impartiality and minor chance for manipulation in the short time they are active (also protected by all kind of laws).

    For thousands of years, though, civilizations have given great mystical prominence to an even dozen. The 12 days of Christmas. The 12 hours on the clock. The 12 tribes of Israel. Twelve months of the year, 12 houses of an astrological chart. A baker’s dozen.
    And 12 jurors. That’s the tradition and the law in most states. An ancient Welsh king, Morgan of Gla-Morgan, who established trial by jury in A.D. 725, is said to have declared, “For as Christ and his 12 apostles were finally to judge the world, so human tribunals should be composed of the king and 12 wise men.”

    Now we know what descriptive representation means.

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  33. I’m not proposing that we abandon terms that are more descriptive and evocative, like “jury democracy” or “citizens juries.” All I’ve advocated (but didn’t make clear enough above) is that in addition we need a one-word term (like demarchy or kleristocracy, which are too academic/obscure) for a system of government that includes sortition in a significant way—and that is in ordinary English, and isn’t too cute-sy (like lottocracy or randemocracy). “Citocracy” is it, and should be used where it would be appropriate in context.

    Similarly “citocrat” is what we can call ourselves, instead of “klerotarians.æ There is a need by reporters for a handy handle like that, or there will be in the future, when we are making more of a stir. “Jury” lacks a handy cognate. “Democrat” is actually misleading, in the U.S.

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  34. PS: And “citocracy” has the wonderful attribute of segueing neatly to and from the most commonly used descriptive terms in use, “citizens juiers,” citizens assemblies,” and citizens panels.”

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  35. […] I defend it in my latest comment in my thread, “Demiocracy—a Nifty Neologism,” at https://equalitybylot.com/2018/10/17/demiocracy-a-nifty-neologism/#comment-24489. Here is its first […]

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  36. First, here is a link to a long comment by Jonathan Crock in the “tab”: What is sortition? in which he finds not quite satisfactory the terms currently in use for our system: https://equalitybylot.com/introduction-to-sortition-government-by-jury/#comment-19394. It was this comment, and a couple of others elsewhere, that prompted me to come up with my three new candidates above.
    ——————

    Here I’ll respond (and in some cases re-respond) in sequence to specific persons’ criticisms above of “demi-ocracy,” which I still think is attractive (especially since “citocracy” might apply to direct democracy and referenda):

    >Terry Bouricius: “[1] I resented the modern re-definition of “democracy” to mean an elected representative system …. [2] If we were to settle on the prefix “demi” I think it needs to be added before “Democracy” as “demi-democracy” …. [3] The term “jury-democracy” goes a long way to helping the new person immediately appreciate the broad outlines of the system being discussed.”

    1. I think it’s too late to un-define “democracy” now, and attempting to do so would cause confusion, entangle us in a semantic dispute, and put off much of our audience. (And using “real democracy” instead would mislead out audience into thinking that we are proposing mere fringe “good government” fixes like campaign finance reform, easier voting, proportional representation, etc.)

    2. I can accept “demi-democracy.” Perhaps, after a decade in which it became commonly used, people would shorten it to “demi-ocracy.”

    3. Terms like “jury-democracy” (and “citizens jury”) are good introductory tools and should be used where they are useful, but are inexact (as I detailed earlier) and are not a concise term for a political system, unlike “monarchy” and “democracy” (as commonly understood today). I’m mostly proposing “demi-ocracy” for use by political scientists and commenters here as a replacement for “demarchy,” “kleristocracy,” “lottocracy,” “juristocracy,” and “sortitionism.” If we ever formed a political party, we would have a nifty name for it and for ourselves: “the Demi-ocrat party” and “we demi-ocrats.” The other terms I listed do not form such attractive cognates.

    >Adam Cronkright: “The idea of using ’Demi’ as the foundation for a naming system appeals to my democracy nerd side but … would appear almost as intelligible and academicy to the general public as the word ’sortition.’”

    ii disagree. As I wrote at in my head post, “it immediately communicates: 1) That it’s a variant of democracy (only an ‘i’ has been added), and 2) That it’s something small (a ‘demi-democracy’), from the prefix ‘demi,’” At least half the population is aware of the meaning of “demi.” Anyway, as I said to Terry above, this term isn’t meant to be used in an introductory context.

    >Keith Sutherland: “… nomenclature is only a problem for those seeking to replace “electorialism” with an aleatory alternative.”

    But “demi-ocracy” suggests only a modification, not a replacement. (And modification is my goal too.) Only MASS elections would be replaced—and maybe not even all of those, at least at first.

    >Keith Sutherland: (quoting me:) “demi-ocracy—the rule of a part (demi) of the demos”

    “That’s why we should avoid the term like the plague. The Greeks believed that everyone should rule, either simultaneously or in turn. That’s not possible in large poleis, hence the need for representation.”

    But I wasn’t attempting to justify the rule of a part of the whole by alluding to the Greek precedent. It’s think it is self-justifying. We already have the objectionable rule of a part (elected unrepresentative and compromised representatives) over the rest of us. I’m proposing that that part be replaced by a better part, an uncompromised part that is representative of all of us, i.e., the demos. And I’m not denying the need for representation. To the demi-demos would be delegated the right, after it divided itself into a multitude of small electoral groups, for each one to elect one topic-focused representative. He would not necessarily—or likely—be a professional party politician. IOW, demi-ocracy substitutes mini -democracy for macro-democracy.

    >Paul Nollen: “The advance knowledge of the ‘Jury’ system in courts makes the ‘political’ sortition proposals more easy to understand and more acceptable.”

    Yes, but “demi-ocracy” can serve a purpose too, in a different context.

    >Adam Cronkright: “I currently lean toward reclaiming the one Greek word every knows: democracy. It would require us to use a more edgy framing … but I for one think more provocative rhetoric is one of the major things we are missing.”

    We needn’t all agitate in lockstep. If edgily reclaiming democracy works, I won’t object. Just hold “demi-ocracy” in reserve for use if it might be useful, or as a kind of “inside baseball” terminology here. (I should have been less sweeping in my initial claims for “demi-ocracy.”)

    >Keith Sutherland: “I’m with Adam—all we need to do is reclaim the original term [ALL!] by making democracy more democratic.”

    But if we can’t reclaim the term until after we’ve implemented the reform, it won’t be any help in “selling” our sortitionized democracy. Furthermore:

    >Adam Cronkright: “for me the framing isn’t about making democracy more democratic, it is about calling out electoral politics as not truly providing us a democracy.”
    ……….
    “Anything remotely resembling the Athenian model would mean a radical change …. It wouldn’t be the electoral politics we’ve seen for the past 200 years.”

    So a new name would be a helpful supplement, to underline the distinction between mini- and macro-democracy.
    ——————

    BTW, a significant number of Americans are not enamored of democracy. They say, “We’re not a democracy, we’re a republic.” This is commonly rebutted with these words: “A representative republic is a democracy.”

    But that phrase doesn’t entirely dispose of the original claim, which is really implying that office-holders should not all be directly elected in a mass election, but indirectly, by insiders who know their real characters better, and who could filter out the unworthy (e.g., demagogs) more effectively. This is what the Founders were attempting to institutionalize with the indirect election of senators and presidents. But the rise of political parties killed that dream—they filtered out the best instead.

    So the indirect method of election by a small group hinted at by “demi-ocracy” would pique the interest of “We’re-a-republic” Americans.

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  37. Roger:> We already have the objectionable rule of a part (elected unrepresentative and compromised representatives) over the rest of us.

    But all voters get the right to choose, even if the power of each individual vote is miniscule and the range of candidates is limited

    >I’m proposing that that part be replaced by a better part, an uncompromised part that is representative of all of us, i.e., the demos.

    It’s not that straightforward — as Terry has pointed out, volunteers would be entirely unrepresentative of the target population. And they are only uncompromised ex ante (arguably they would be even more corruptible ex post as they would not be constrained by party discipline and the need to secure re-election).

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  38. Roger:> We already have the objectionable rule of a part (elected unrepresentative and compromised representatives) over the rest of us.
    keithsutherland:> “But all voters get the right to choose, even if the power of each individual vote is minuscule and the range of candidates is limited.”

    Of course. But my demi-ocracy would not remove the right to vote. Persons within every State would be able to cast five (say) “BalLots” for fellow State-residents of their acquaintance. (Residents of tiny States would be allowed to vote for persons within a 150-mile (say) radius.) These would go into a BalLotery box from which winners would be drawn when needed to top up the pool of in-reserve demi-electors.

    (The drawing procedure above employs some essential bells and whistles to filter out too-strenuous BalLot-seekers—i.e., those who receive too many BalLots. The box would also contain some ratio of “Lots”—a percentage determined either by a referendum or by Terry’s “Rules Council.” These wrinkles are described in my thread, “Demarchy—small sample electorates electing officials,” at https://equalitybylot.com/2018/10/20/demarchy-small-sample-electorates-electing-officials/)

    keithsutherland:>”… that’s why we want to reclaim the word “democracy”. For over two millennia the 80/20 mix [of sortition / election] was what people had in mind when they used the word, the recent equation with election is a mere blip in time.”

    1. It’s not a blip if it’s population-weighted. It’s a blob—a big one.

    2. Current electoral democracy is not a blip (a temporary deviation) in communal memory, even among persons with a knowledge of history. As far as 99.9% of the public is concerned, our revolutionary ancestors created representative democracy, the only conceivable form in a large jurisdiction. Its only predecessor, to their knowledge, is direct democracy, inappropriate for large states. Ancient Greece’s sortitionism is what the public would consider to be the blip, if it became aware of it on its radar screen at all. The public is not prepared to say, “Oops, I didn’t realize that Ancient Greece had dibs on democracy. I’m glad you clued me in. Here, take away my vote.”

    3. On the contrary, some segment of Americans (25%?) would not only resist the rebadging of “democracy,” but would also push back furiously at what they would regard as an attempt to sucker them out of their birthright with hi-falutin’ flim-flam, Only if the populace retains the right to cast ballots—albeit into a BalLottery box instead of a ballot box—will it even consider accepting sortitionism. (Perhaps, to get a better microcosm, the winners of the draw could be stratified-sampled to some degree.) Politics is the art of the possible. It’s impossible that the public will give up its ballots. We must “deal with it.”
    ————

    Patrick Chalmers> “Late to the party, I realise.”

    No, it’s barely begun—I hope.

    Patrick Chalmers> “I’d avoid fiddling with the word “democracy” – which has the advantage of huge worldwide currency and 2,500 years of history.”

    But, if we are proposing to “fiddle” with the SUBSTANCE of what “democracy” currently means to its numerous worldwide adherents, and with what it has meant for the past 250 years, we should be up-front that we are doing so by giving our variant a different name—ideally one that helpfully piggy-backs on the current name (demi-ocracy) or that is almost self-explanatory (citocracy). Such name-tweaking would be viewed indulgently, as a clever hack.

    Patrick Chalmers> “Nifty or not, your neologism stands next to no chance of gaining any sort of meaningful linguistic traction in the face of it. Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude.”

    First, if we try to call our variant “democracy—full stop,” it will be viewed as 1) ho-hum, 2) confusing, and 3) deceitful. It will not play in Peoria. The general public will not accept this arrogation of its “baby.”

    It can, however, accept a new term for a new variant of democracy, because it already is aware of such variant forms of democracy as majoritarian and proportional (representation), and Parliamentary and Bicameral. In a similar spirit it could also accept, like Terry, “demi [i.e., mini-public] democracy.” The public WANTS something different from government by elected politicians—which is what “democracy” connotes to it—so long as it’s essentially democratic. A name that implies those two things, like demi-ocracy or citocracy, will hit the public’s hot buttons—or at least its getting-warmer buttons.

    Second, let’s put your claim of my neologisms’ unpopularity to a test. (My “Citocracy” thread has drawn three Likes, FWIW.) Let’s have a vote here to see how popular they are in comparison to other alternatives that have been offered. I intend to ask Yoram if his software system can handle membership-voting, the way other forum software does. If he says Yes, and if he is agreeable to holding a vote, we can party on.

    Patrick Chalmers> “This is a process successfully employed by LGBT activists for the words “queer”, and “gay” – something known as culture hacking (https://therules.org/#/about). Feminists have done the same and also people of colour. There’s no reason why “democracy” shouldn’t be reclaimed in the same way,”

    There IS a reason. Those reclaimings involved adopting a negative name and turning it into a positive. Adopting “democracy” does the reverse—it hijacks a positive name in order to to disguise what the majority would view as a negative.

    Patrick Chalmers> “It would be entirely possible, and comparatively cheap, to rebrand/hack democracy as something closer to the original. Not easy though.”

    Not easy is right! If anyone is enamored of The Struggle for its own sake, or enjoys a quixotic crusade, convincing the world that democracy means something new and strange will satisfy him. (It can ENCOMPASS something new and strange, but that’s different.)

    “Demi-ocracy,” “Citocracy,” “Polocracy,” and “Demockery”—these all have audacity and some panache, which we need to boldly project to make an impact, and which some of our audience will like immediately, and others will tolerate after a period of acquaintance. They avoid working against the grain of our audience; they do not try to redefine them out of their opinion.
    ————

    Many decades ago, in college, a campaigner for a group named “Action!” knocked on my door. He wanted to abolish the student government and had managed to get enough signatures to put the proposal up for a referendum. I was sympathetic to the idea, disliking the hall-monitor types that infest such bodies and their Mickey Mouse campaign issues (although I believed that reform rather than abolition was the way to go).

    He showed me a poster he wanted to put up on one or more bulletin boards and asked me what I thought. I was startled, because it largely justified the abolition in terms of anarchist theory. It may even have mentioned Kropotkin. I told him to downplay or drop that stuff—if he didn’t, readers would think, “beards, basements, bombs.” His eyes widened in shock—he could see my obvious point, but it hadn’t occurred to him. He was so idealistic, pure-hearted, and theoretically oriented that he hadn’t realized how rare those qualities were in those he would be addressing.

    I applied myself to revising his document so it would “speak to their condition” more effectively (i.e., more earthily and humorously), and he accepted my changes. Subsequently his referendum won. (Attn. Yoram, Keith, and Patrick: I’m drawing an analogy here!)

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  39. PS::: The comments from Patrick Chalmers above were originally posted in a different thread, https://equalitybylot.com/2018/11/06/a-niftier-neologism-citocracy/#comment-24582, and moved here by me to keep the disussion of my neologisms confined to one thread.

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  40. Roger:> It’s impossible that the public will give up its ballots.

    Yes that’s right, but not perhaps for the reasons you are suggesting. Political theorists like Hanna Pitkin and A.P. Griffiths have identified at least four kinds of representation (ascriptive, symbolic, descriptive and active), of which only the latter two are of relevance to democracy. Commentators on this forum focus exclusively on descriptive or statistical representation, assuming that a large randomly-selected microcosm of the target population will be sufficient to ensure democratic representation. But this ignores the vital role of the active representation of interests, whereby a person (or political party) may represent the views and interests of a section of the demos without resembling them in the slightest (on the regular parameters of age, gender, ethnicity and a range of socio-economic factors). This is the rationale behind electoral democracy. We all agree that the vote tally of a large randomly-selected jury is the best way of approximating the informed judgment of the whole demos, but it’s hard to see how the democratic agenda-setting role can be achieved without political parties and elections. We need to reform, not replace, democracy, hence my opposition to any neologism.

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  41. maybe our proposal, with agenda setting is an answer? https://www.pdf-archive.com/2018/10/23/untitled-pdf-document-16/untitled-pdf-document.pdf The Agenda- Jury and the Evaluation Jury are two way’s to set the political agenda.

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  42. Paul,

    The argument against an agenda-setting jury is quite simple, and I’ve yet to see a convincing refutation:

    1. The democratic case for an evaluation/decision jury depends on the law of large numbers, according to which the voting outcome of any number of large, randomly-selected samples of the same population is likely to be the same (subject to certain exacting conditions and pre-specified margins of error).

    2. The speech acts of individual persons within a body of several hundred are not subject to the law of large numbers — they are likely to be random in the pejorative sense — i.e. they would vary according to the views and persuasiveness of the individual persons involved (in all likelihood a small subset of those selected by lot).

    3. Therefore there is no democratic case for agenda-setting by jury (although some people have claimed [unconvincing] that there is an epistemic case).

    It’s worth noting that in the only historical precedent we have (4th century Athenian lawmaking), random selection was limited to the decision body, not the agenda-setting body (the council was an administrative magistracy, not a deliberative forum). Everyone had the right to make agenda proposals, not just a tiny number selected by lot, and everyone in the assembly got to vote on whether or not to send the proposal for deliberative scrutiny. Clearly ho boulomenos is impractical in large multicultural states, hence the need for “representative isegoria”. Unfortunately sortition is not a candidate for this role, for the reasons given above.

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  43. Hello Keith,

    in our proposal we have used the experience of Demoex

    https://everipedia.org/wiki/Demoex/
    Thinning out consists of removing any irrelevant questions. In the thinning out process, all the public affairs that the local parliament is dealing with are presented. The voters report (on a scale of 1-5) what affairs they want to discuss and vote for. If an affair gets higher average report than 3.00, there will be a debate and a vote.

    and the practice in the ‘Initiative and referendum’ system. Also the proposal for changes in the California ballot system by using a jury appointed by sortition instead of the signature gathering.

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  44. Paul,

    These all sound like filtering/evaluation procedures (“thinning out”), rather than coming up with original proposals (equivalent to the Athenian ho boulomenos). You acknowledge that in the Californian proposal (from Fishkin?), jury evaluation replaces the need to reach the necessary signature threshold, rather than formulating the original proposals. We all agree juries are good at this sort of decision process, but it remains an open question as to the volume of proposals that would come in to a sortition-based decision system with real legislative power. Yoram has argued previously that the volume would be extremely high. I would also claim that it is democratically necessary for all citizens to be able to cast their vote at this comparatively early stage in the legislative process, and that the jury element should be reserved for the final yes/no decision. That’s certainly how it worked in the 4th century and we have no other historical precedent.

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  45. Hi Keith, yes indeed, I meant the the ‘Fishkin’ proposal for California. Your comment : I would also claim that it is democratically necessary for all citizens to be able to cast their vote at this comparatively early stage in the legislative process: in our proposal all citizens can take part of the Agenda setting if they want to. The same way as the they do in the referendum process. But in a two stage process. As far as the workload is concerned, I have an idea about that, I was registered at a website in the US who presented all the legislation proposals for the US Senate with the possibility to mail to your ‘MP’ if you wanted. I had to give up that very quickly, even if I had all day to study and work on those legislative proposals. That is why I, in our proposal, all civil organisations who want to be involved can do so. With all the possibilities and the knowledge of previous experiments and the way Initiative and Referendums are working today, I think it is a (technical) achievable proposal, al least at (our) national level. Of course it is not political achievable because we don’t have any kind of democracy here. The European level might be even more problematic but we are far away from any experiment at that level. The ECI http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/welcome?lg=en is hardly a workable instrument. Furthermore, our proposal is only an ‘addition’ to the other political instruments.

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  46. Keith and Paul, and Yoram as admin.

    Discussion of agenda setting is a vital topic (and I have lots to say about it (i.e. why I think Keith is mistaken))… but it is not neatly fitting into this thread on neologisms. Is it possible to start a new thread, and move the recent posts there? I would then weigh in.

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  47. Paul: >all citizens can take part of the Agenda setting if they want to

    If genuine decision power was granted to the allotted institution, then there would be a very large number of proposals.

    >all civil organisations who want to be involved can do so

    These would quickly become a front for lobbying groups. Representative isegoria (which sounds oxymoronic) is a deeply complicated process and political parties (and elections) will always play a leading role.

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  48. Yes, we looked at that but we can’t know exactly the workload before a real trial. I worked in a political party and one of my activities was to keep track of all proposals send to us. There is always some methode of ‘filtering’ be it by a Jury appointed by sortition or signatures for a referendum or lobbying or whatever. Our concern was not to miss that one suggestion that was interesting or important. As far as the civil organisations is concerned, I think we can’t avoid this, even if we should want it (freedom of organisation is also one of the essential freedoms for a democracy). At this moment I also use some ‘civil organisations’ in order to get a quick idea about some legislative proposals (short cut) without to read the original text (at this moment the Madagascar convention about immigration). Of course this opens the way to manipulation but we are aware of that. We have to see where they can fit in and where not. In our proposal they are part of the agenda setting.
    Until now we have made some small changes of our proposals but we also wrote some additional documents. This week we have them translated in French and it will take some more weeks to finish the English translations. Then we start a second round of ‘Think with us’ in order to improve (or change) our proposals and to expand and motivate the (even pore important) criteria we use for our proposal, or to evaluate other proposals. Therefore the proposal from Terry to start a separate thread about Agenda setting might be very interesting for us at this moment.

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  49. Do we discussed here the paper of David Owen and Graham Smith: The circumstances of sortition? I can’t find it with a search. They also discuss ‘agenda setting’ but what is interesting me is their proposal with a ‘two step’ sortition system.

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  50. Paul, we have discussed briefly the Owen/Smith paper — I was going to start a thread on it but can’t find the time right now.

    >At this moment I also use some ‘civil organisations’ in order to get a quick idea about some legislative proposals (short cut).

    Hmm, sounds pretty much like the standard activity of lobby groups. Have you come across the (deeply alarming) book by Stephen Elstub on “associational democracy” in which he argues that civil society groups should have a highly privileged role in lawmaking. The only difference between a “civil society group” and a political party is that the latter has to gain support from the electorate in order to have any influence (a valuable filter, IMO).

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