Democracy For Young People: a provocative podcast

Democracy For Young People is, in my opinion a very compelling analysis of the ills of our democracy. It’s a very simple idea – which is that electoral democracy massively underrepresents three classes of people whose influence on democracy the great anti-democrats of the ancient world (i.e. all the thinkers whose work has come down to us in any substantial form) were most hostile to. The young, the poorly educated and the poor.

I thought the ‘solutions’ section would end up at selection by lot, but it moved right along from that to lowering the voting age (dramatically!). But then the conclusion on what to do was an afterthought, and not really the focus of the podcast. The analysis was compelling. It’s good points are that the ideas are very simple, clearly important. They’re also clearly right to some extent, though of course there could be very wide reasonable disagreement on that extent.

So I recommend it.

5 Responses

  1. Nick,

    Regarding the ‘solutions’, it should be acknowledged that the 4th century transition to legislative decision making by allotted jury involved an increase in the minimum age from eighteen to thirty, and this was certainly not viewed as an anti-democratic move.


  2. Nick, I must disagree – like so much of the analysis of the “crisis of democracy” by mainstream political scientists, this talk seems like just another self-important elitist story being told by one self-important elitist to other self-important elitists.

    There may be too many baseless assertions and contradictions to allow enumeration. But how about the fact that the young are highly educated compared to the old? Wouldn’t that make them on the “winning” side? Or what does “young” even mean? Are the young anyone who is below the median age? If so, then by definition they are not outnumbered. If anything, a larger percentage of the “young” are now above voting age than ever before. And do we have any evidence that the young are being discriminated against? And why is college education the demarcation line of “being like the elected”? Why not high-school education? Or being a lawyer, or being rich, or being ox-bridge educated?

    And this is before even getting to what seems to be the speaker’s approval of the principle of distinction – thank goodness elections can be relied upon to keep the unwashed away from the levers of power. With this approval, how could the speaker consider sortition to be a good idea?

    No – the unconvincing conclusion was not an afterthought. It was the natural conclusion to the rest of the story.


  3. Thanks Yoram,

    I generally read to find points of enlightenment, not disagreement. If I’m looking for points of agreement or disagreement, I orient my search around what I already know.

    The basic demographic points are obviously both simple and important. That’s pretty much all I look for in trying to think about such a difficult issue as the fate of democracy and, more importantly, how it might be improved. I hadn’t brought them into my thinking and now I’m aware of them.


  4. I don’t see how the fact that the pipulation is getting older is important to democracy. It sesms like a distraction.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: