Changing Equality-by-Lot’s subtitle

It has been suggested that the current subtitle of this blog (“The blog of the Klerotarians”) is esoteric and may be both discouraging for potential readers and detrimental to the blog’s search engine ranking (specifically, when searching for “sortition”).

Several alternative subtitles have been suggested – listed below. If you have other ideas, please add them in the comments. (Please no more than 2 per person.) In a week I will create a post asking readers to vote for their preferred proposal.

While we are discussing this, maybe we should consider changing the banner image as well? The kleroterion is a bit of a cliché at this point, in my opinion, and it may not be the most attractive piece of graphics to represent sortition. Any ideas about a new banner?

Proposals for subtitles:

  • The blog of the Klerotarians (i.e., keep the subtitle as is.)
  • The political potential of sortition
  • Sortition as a democratic tool
  • No democracy without sortition
  • Because you can’t have democracy when you don’t have sortition
  • The democratic potential of sortition

89 Responses

  1. “Sorting out sortition”
    “A blog to sort out sortition”
    “The blog that gets sortition all sorted out”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maximus in minimis
    Put the man in the street in the catbird seat

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In the U.S. at least, a number of organizations are trying to move from the word “sortition” to the less cryptic “democratic lotteries.” but to keep the search engine benefits of using “sortition” I propose a sort of blend…
    “Democratic lotteries and the potential of sortition

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We need to be a little wary about changing the graphic — the current one has the benefit of lending itself to a wide variety of applications of sortition. There’s a temptation to replace it with a depiction of modern lotteries (numbered balls etc) but this might trivialise something that has a very long pedigree.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Out of the frying pan into the fire. The word ‘sortition’ isn’t a common word.

    Most people understand “selection by lot” or something explanatory like “selecting political decision-makers the way we select jurors”.

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  6. Nick,

    If you take a look at the earlier conversation:

    a) the blog needs to cover other priorities than they ones you and I share. Conall Boyle, who launched EbL, is primarily interested in equitable distribution of goods and opportunities, rather than political representation.

    b) the reason for the change of subtitle, is because EbL ranks very poorly on google searches for “sortition”.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am glad with this initiative Yoram!
    My suggestion:
    ‘More democracy by random selection of citizens’
    I use ‘more democracy’ because, in my opinion, democracy is not a binary, but a incremental concept.
    I do agree with Nicholas Gruen that sortition is not a common word

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  8. How about ‘Better democracy through sortition’?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Random citizens rule by sortition
    (The last two words are optional—they’re meant for google searches; the first two words might be “Citizen assemblies”.)

    A House of Commoners = common sense sovereignty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The problem with ‘random’ is that those under 30 use it as a pejorative

    (A comment in itself on our atomised, have and have not society)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We may perhaps use ‘arbitrary’ instead of random?

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  12. Arbitrary is even worse than random. And you’re missing the point that what we are seeking is to capitalise on the growing interest in the term “sortition” (245,000 the last time I checked Google).

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Renewing democracy through sortition.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “Because you can’t have democracy WHEN you don’t have sortition” or “because you can’t have democracy IF you don’t have sortition”? I’m afraid I need a native speaker to help me sort this out (pun not intended).
    Beginning with ‘because’ is not strictly needed, but it tries to appeal to the younger generations by imitating the way they speak. An extreme version of this, assuming the word ‘sortition’ was to be already included in the main title somehow (which is not our case), would be to have as a subtitle just “Because democracy”.
    This would of course be going too far and possibly out of place here.

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  15. There’s a big difference between democracy and democratic. The former is limited to a political system whereas if (say) a group of friends is deciding which restaurant to go to then the decision would be democratic if either they put it to the vote or drew lots. We would also say that deciding the final allocation of university places (from a qualified shortlist) by lot is democratic and this is the sort of application that Conall is interested in, so I think the adjective (democratic) is more inclusive than the substantive (democracy).

    I suspect that we will want to put the decision on the title change to the vote, rather than drawing lots between the different suggestions. This would be democratic, whereas drawing lots would be random in the pejorative sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Keith,

    > if (say) a group of friends is deciding which restaurant to go to then the decision would be democratic if either they put it to the vote or drew lots

    As you know all too well, the adjective ‘democratic’ has little to do with your example, and even less in the first case in which the decision is put to a vote. You could call that decision ‘fair’, ‘egalitarian’ or a number of other things, but not ‘democratic’ if you want to use the word properly.

    Athenian ingenuity draw a crucial distinction between decisions in which the probability of making a choice for the right reasons was high (everybody knew who was the best commander in the battlefield) and decisions where the probability of making a choice for the wrong reasons was higher (as members of the Boule, rich and well-educated aristoi would not represent the general interest any better than the hoi polloi).

    Till the early decades of the 19th century, the first method was unanimously called aristocratic and the second, democratic. The fact that Andrew Jackson robbed us all of those clear meanings in the first election under universal suffrage doesn’t necessarily imply that the result of that robbery cannot be reversed still today, and you should be working towards that end instead of helping consolidate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Arturo,

    What you are referring to is the election of decision-makers (strategoi). Athens was a small enough to function as a direct democracy, so most decisions were made by voting in the assembly. The parallel with a small group deciding which restaurant to visit is an exact one. If, say, the members of the group come up with three proposals, and four people vote for restaurant (b), three for (c) and one for (a), then the democratic choice would be for the group to attend restaurant (b). Voting can be viewed as a procedure to civilise conflict as the right hand which is raised when voting is generally the one that wields the sword — the demos (in the majoritarian sense) has power in both cases, but voting is less costly than fighting. So, yes, this is almost a pure example of democratic decision making. And, unless the vote was equally balanced and a tie-breaker was required, making the decision by drawing lots would be undemocratic (this would also be true if the outcome of this debate was decided by lot).

    Your examples are all to do with political democracy, and my argument for using the word democratic is that it doesn’t rule out the non-political use sortition (attending restaurants, allocating places at university etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Majority voting in the assembly was already a feature or Solon’s timocracy in the early 6th century B.C. The distinctive feature of Clisthenes’ democracy was the selection of the Council by lot instead of, as previously, by election.

    Up until Montesquieu and Rousseau, choosing people (as opposed to making decisions) by lot was simply called democratic.

    Making a decision by lottery (be it which restaurant to go to or which subtitle to add) is obviously unreasonable and, if you want, unfair and unegalitarian. What it is not, because this category does not apply in this case, is either democratic or undemocratic.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. My last suggestion: ‘More democracy by haphazardly selected citizens’ ???

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  20. My last suggestion: ‘More democracy by haphazardly selected citizens’ ???

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  21. Excuse this Athenian history tangent… Keith wrote that “Athens was a small enough to function as a direct democracy, so most decisions were made by voting in the assembly.” Size is not controlling. It was “direct” in the sense that any citizen who wanted could participate in some way, but it was also fundamentally “representative” in that there was always only a small fraction of citizens ACTUALLY participating in any decision. For most purposes, these subsets were selected by lot, and for other purposes they were self-selected. It is also misleading to assert that “MOST” decisions were made by the Assembly. Most decisions are small, though when added together have huge impact. And MOST decisions were made by groups selected by lot, including magistrates in ten-person panels, courts, Council of 500, etc.. Only a relatively tiny handful of symbolic and/or big decisions were made by the Assembly (which remember was a small more-or-less representative sample of the citizenry). The Assembly might decide whether to go to war (a big decision), or grant honorary citizenship to a metic – foreigner (mostly symbolic).

    Since a sample 0f 6,000 citizens (the typical size of the Athenian Assembly) can accurately represent a population of 300,000,000 as well as a population of 30,000, the oft repeated assertion that the relatively small size of Athens makes its procedures inapplicable to large modern states is incorrect.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I think we need to respect the vernacular use of language, and most people (who have never heard of Solon, Cleisthenes etc) would agree that decision making in a small group by majority vote is democratic. I will leave Conall to defend his claim that tie-breaking by lot is democratic (he was the one who came up with the suggested sub title, amended slightly by Yoram), but I don’t think he would approve the hijacking of the blog subtitle by those of us who are only interested in political democracy. And I think it is a mistake — for historical, theoretical and strategic reasons — to claim that sortition is the only democratic mechanism.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. In addition to Terryl Bouritius response to Keith Sutherland (with which I agree), I like to mention that in the grown-up 4th century Athenian democracy the more important decisions (laws) were no longer taken in the Assembly, but by the Nomothetes, a smal body of random selected citizens (like the People’s Courts).

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  24. Ronald,

    We all know that — 4th century Athens is the model that I use for my PhD thesis on sortition. But what we want in this thread is a phrasing for the subtitle of this blog that doesn’t limit it to political democracy.

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  25. Keith,I agree with you that sortition is non the only democratic mechanism.Therefore I suggested teh phrase ‘more democracy’ or ‘betterdemocracy’ as Oliver Milne proposed or ‘stronger democracy’ in the spirit of Benjamin Barber.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Yes, but you’re still limiting it to politics. If you read Barbara Goodwin’s book you can see that sortition has many other applications.

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  27. Google’s Ngram indicates that use of ‘sortition’ has been on a steep upward climb since 2011. A prime ploy of advertisers (at least in the U.S.) is to apply the word ‘new’ whenever possible. ‘Democratic lottery’ has the advantage of seeming familiarity but it also suffers from its association with gambling. The newness of ‘sortition’ draws attention and instigates explanation. Thus, something like:
    Sortition: next step for democracy.

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  28. > I think we need to respect the vernacular use of language, and most people (who have never heard of Solon, Cleisthenes etc) would agree that decision making in a small group by majority vote is democratic.

    My combat (I hope I can get away with using this expression as long as it is not in German) is precisely to explain to other people that they have been lied about what is ‘democratic’. I am somehow appalled that more of you do not see this as the most effective strategy for our cause.

    > I don’t think he would approve the hijacking of the blog subtitle by those of us who are only interested in political democracy.

    Conall will of course answer for himself, but I would like to point to the fact that the main title of blog (which, at least to me, seems to carry more weight than a mere subtitle) refers in full to what he is interested in, namely equality by lot.

    > I think it is a mistake to claim that sortition is the only democratic mechanism.

    Well, I am afraid that sortition happens to be the democratic mechanism par excellence, which doesn’t exclude any other mechanisms, either direct (referenda) or representative (elections), from the conceivable toolbox of a pluralistic political system. As you may remember, I personally favor a mixed system in which each individual is allowed to choose her own preferred path to representation, be it the aristocratic path (election) or the democratic path (sortition).
    In short, sortition is not the only desirable mechanism — but it certainly is, alas, the democratic one.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Wow! It’s great to see so many voices. It’s gratifying to see that there are quite a few people who are interested in the going-ons in this blog.

    My two cents:

    I agree very much with Arturo: concessions toward the lies of the status quo are counterproductive. The subtitle of this blog should not make any such concessions. Terms like “more”, “better” and “renewing” should therefore not be used, IMO, since all of these imply that the current system (or some older version of the current system) is to some extent democratic. It is not. It was explicitly and openly designed not to be demcoratic, so it would be an absurd coincidence if it were.

    Regarding terminology: “sortition” should be used exactly because of its specifically political connotations. “Lottery” should be avoided exactly because of its non-political connotations. If randomness is to be referred to in familiar terms, those should be the terms of statistical sampling, not of chance. This is not merely a marketing tactic. It really reflects the central idea that, through the law of large numbers, randomness is used to produce deterministic outcomes (a statistically representative sample) rather than unpredictability.

    Liked by 4 people

  30. *the political potential of democratic lotteries and sortition
    **(more) democracy via sortition

    I would keep the graphic. It’s become associated with EbL and it reflects the Kleroterian roots.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. There are desirable non-democratic (I don’t mean anti-democratic) uses for sortition (impartiality, anti-corruption, selecting from among a qualified pool, etc.). I don’t have a strong opinion about whether EbL should cater to those other uses, though I like the idea of adopting a subtitle that is ambiguous enough to not exclude these alternative uses for sortition. I think these alternate uses are adequately addressed by the ambiguous lead title “Equality By Lot”, And the randomness, aspect is also captured by the word “Lot”, so adding words like sortition and democracy to the sub-heading seems wise. So, how about….
    “the democratic potential of sortition” or “democracy and the potential of sortition”

    Liked by 3 people

  32. How about “Sortition in service of better governance” or “Better governance using sortition”? “Governance” embraces but is not limited to political decision-making, and avoids the fraught semantics of “democracy” and “democratic”.

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  33. Sortition is the future of democracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I agree that the title “Equality by lot” is good. Do we need more?

    I think calling ourselves Kleroterians is ridiculous by the way! Worse than any of the proposed alternatives :)

    Liked by 1 person

  35. It looks like there will be an embarrassment of riches (an awful lot of options) when it comes to the vote and there’s a real danger that the outcome will be random (in the pejorative sense), so there might need to be a two-stage process. Many of the options are similar to each other, so one approach would be to arrange them into groups (with the authors’ consent) and have an initial vote on the group, followed by a second vote on the particular. For example:

    Equality by lot: The political potential of sortition (Conall Boyle)
    Equality by Lot: The Democratic Potential of Sortition (Yoram Gat)
    Equality by Lot: the political potential of democratic lotteries and sortition (Ahmed Teleb)

    Personally speaking, I’d be happy with any of these (although I have a marginal preference for Yoram’s version).

    >“Lottery” should be avoided exactly because of its non-political connotations. If randomness is to be referred to in familiar terms, those should be the terms of statistical sampling, not of chance.

    That would mean that the founders of this blog (Conall Boyle and Peter Stone) would no longer be able to post. It would also exclude Barbara Goodwin, Oliver Dowlen and the vast majority of political theorists, who view the arationality of the lottery as its principal virtue. Although my own work is on statistical representation I would not want the blog to become an echo chamber for like-minded people. That’s why the subtitle should just indicate the topic area, rather than advocating any particular approach.

    We should also remember that the debate (which I originated) is over the subtitle only and was motivated by a desire to pick up on the exponential growth of internet searches for “sortition”.

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  36. I like emphase that our political system is, for say 90%, an aristocracy and for 10% a democracy and that it is good always to strive for 100% (pure) democracy, knowing that it is unattainable. So I think it is better to speak of more or stronger democracy!

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  37. > “Yes, but you’re still limiting it to politics. If you read Barbara Goodwin’s book you can see that sortition has many other applications.”

    The vast majority of the posts on here are about sortition in the political context – it would make sense for the subtitle to reflect that. That doesn’t mean we can’t have posts and discussions about non-political uses of sortition!

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  38. Oliver,

    Agreed, but you need to state it subtly, hence my preference for:

    Equality by lot: The political potential of sortition (Conall Boyle)
    Equality by Lot: The Democratic Potential of Sortition (Yoram Gat)
    Equality by Lot: the political potential of democratic lotteries and sortition (Ahmed Teleb)

    Very few Blind Break theorists (named previously) post on this blog and if the subtitle binds it too closely to descriptive representation, replacing election with lot etc., then we’ll have lost them for good and end up circling the wagons and talking to ourselves. That would be a great shame, just at the time when sortition is beginning to appeal to a broader audience. It really is important to talk to people you don’t agree with.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. PS Dowlen’s book (which won the annual PSA theory prize) is called The Political Potential of Sortition and he believes it has nothing to do with representation. Ditto, Stone, Goodwin, Boyle etc. I think they’ve got it wrong, but that’s all the more reason for including them in our community.

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  40. So how about ‘Better politics through sortition’?

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  41. That would be much to limiting. Have a look at Barbara Goodwin’s book Justice by Lottery and you’ll see that most of her arguments are to do with impartial distribution, not politics: http://books.imprint.co.uk/book/?gcoi=71157109108210

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  42. Remember, Yoram started this whole thread because the Google search engine algorithm wasn’t sending as many people to us as it might if words like “sortition” were in our title (which is a word a lot of uninitiated hear and wonder about). A lot of people search for “democracy” but the sheer number of search results from that word that will be above us, that that word probably doesn’t help raise our search results significantly. I know there are people who offer a service of optimizing your search results, and while I don’t know if that is a scam or real, somebody must know how to “test” various subtitles. Indeed, we could even try rotating various subtitles until we find a good one. I hate to be at the mercy of Google’s algorithm, but that is the reality.

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  43. “…., somebody must know how to ‘test’ various subtitles. Indeed, we could even try rotating various subtitles until we find a good one.”

    A very good idea from Terry Bouricius! Then we can stop our ‘ideological’ discussions about the just concepts for a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. There’s always a significant time gap between SEO work and measuring the results, so it would be better to get it right in the first instance. And it’s nothing to do with ideology, it’s coming up with a formula for the subtitle that contains the relevant keywords and doesn’t make Blind Breakers feel that their discourse is unwelcome.

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  45. Yes Keith, my remark is a little bit to radical. If I understand you well if you say that we, must not tout for visitors with terms that are totally at odds with the blog. But I would say that we dont have to fine-tune the concepts. I believe that we must lay the emphasis on the political side of sortition.

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  46. Yes Keith, my remark is a little bit to radical. If I understand you well if you say that we, must not tout for visitors with terms that are totally at odds with the blog. But I would say that we dont have to fine-tune the concepts. I believe that we must lay the emphasis on the political side of sortition.

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  47. How’s this for inclusiveness: ‘The sortition blog: democracy, impartiality, and everything in between’

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  48. I don’t think we were planning changing the main title — Equality by Lot has a 10-year pedigree that is of great value — so sortition has to come after the colon.

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  49. Apologies – to clarify, I meant ‘The sortition blog: democracy, impartiality, and everything in between’ to be the subtitle. Obviously having the subtitle have its own subtitle might be a bit unwieldy.

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  50. *** Bouricius’ idea: “rotating various subtitles until we find a good one” i. e. a google-efficient one, looks very good
    *** A possible subtitle: Sortition, impartiality, equality, People’s rule

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  51. ‘People’s rule’ is a little clumsy – how about ‘Sortition, impartiality, equality, democracy’? Or ‘Sortition for impartiality, equality, and democracy’?

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  52. I believe search engine algorithms look to see how many other legitimate web sites LINK to the one in question (in short if real people think it is worth linking to, then it is probably a good result to put in search results). Do we know if Sortition Foundation, newDemocracy Foundation, Healthy Democracy, etc. link to us? I just looked, and the English language Wikipedia “sortition” article has us at the top of the list of “external links.”

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  53. That’s interesting Terry. I believe SEO work has nothing to do with external links, it’s providing relevant content. And I think the title is probably the most important. If you google “equality by lot” you get:

    Equality by lot | The blog of the Kleroterians
    equalitybylot.com

    No mention of sortition. The blog was designed some time before Google became all powerful, so I wonder if there are other optimisation tricks we are missing?

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  54. The rotation proposal is very much in the spirit of sortition. The only problem is technical – changing the subtitle often would require some work (especially if we want the subtitle embedded in the banner, as it is now). If we can overcome the technical issue, then it would be ideal.

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  55. As for rotating headings, we don’t know how long to wait. I don’t know how quickly the search algorithms update their site rankings. Search sites like Google and Bing use “web crawler” bots to wander through the Internet to find things and update rankings, etc. I bet somebody here knows somebody who knows somebody who can advise pro bono on search optimization strategies… Indeed, I would guess a Google search for site optimization would find some basic strategies.

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  56. I like Yoram’s “The democratic potential of sortition”

    Otherwise maybe:

    “Democracy through sortition”

    “The democracy through sortition blog”

    “The democratic potential of sortition blog”

    “Sortition’s democratic potential”

    “The blog about sortition’s democratic potential”

    Is “democracy” more often searched than “democratic”? If so maybe put “democracy” in the subtitle.

    Should the word “blog” be in the subtitle, or is it of no real use? It seems useful to me.

    I do like “The blog of the Klerotarians” but I guess it is a bit esoteric and few search the word “Klerotarians.”

    I think the word “political” is too narrow for the subtitle, and prefer “democracy” and “democratic” because they are more inclusive and I think more meaningful and likely for a search.

    I do not think “democracy” is limited to politics. I think these sentences make sense: “We have a lot of democracy at our workplace, we vote on everything and set our own hours.” “Our family is a democracy when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we vote on it.” “Our family is a democracy when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we take turns deciding what it will be.”

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  57. Oliver :> ‘Sortition for impartiality, equality, and democracy’

    Or: “Sortition for democracy, fairness and good governance”

    I don’t think we need “equality” in the subtitle when it is in the title. I prefer “fairness” to “impartiality.”

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  58. Given the enormous number of suggestions for subtitles, could I suggest that ho boulomenos make ONE final proposal for subsequent voting in the EbL ecclesia (sorry no sortition involved). Here’s mine (stolen from Yoram):

    Equality by Lot: The Democratic Potential of Sortition

    If everyone else makes only ONE suggestion then I imagine it will generate around a dozen options for the final vote. Superminorities in action!

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  59. If that’s what we’re doing, the final proposal I’ll back is Simon’s ‘Sortition for democracy, fairness and good governance’.

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  60. I’m also happy with Simon’s proposal

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  61. Equality is already in the header. Lets start with ‘democracy needs sortition’ and look if it brings good results?

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  62. > I think these sentences make sense: “We have a lot of democracy at our workplace, we vote on everything and set our own hours.” “Our family is a democracy when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we vote on it.” “Our family is a democracy when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we take turns deciding what it will be.”

    You are right and that is our common tragedy. The trivialization of the word ‘democracy’ has allowed the 1% to rob us of its true meaning for the last two centuries. These sentences should read instead:
    – We have participative decision-making at our workplace, we vote on everything and set our own hours.
    – Our family is egalitarian when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we vote on it.
    – Our family is pluralistic and inclusive when it comes to deciding our weekly family activity, we take turns deciding what it will be.

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  63. Arturo,

    The change of title is in order for us to enhance our google profile, which is based on the everyday use of words, so Simon is right — albeit at the expense of etymological purity. Besides which, people can read “democracy” or “democratic” in the subtitle and attribute any meaning to it as they see fit.

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  64. As usual, Sutherland presents his own opinions as if they were established facts or consensus position.

    The change in title is not “in order to enhance our google profile”. It is in order that the title conforms to what those involved in the blog desire. Improving search ranking is no more than one possible consideration.

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  65. Well, it was my idea to change the subtitle, and I’ve been pushing for it for a long time.

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  66. You are welcome to let us know about your own objectives for your prolonged effort, then. Please avoid engaging in your standard manipulation of asserting or implying that your own views are shared by others.

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  67. My concerns are:

    1) to capitalise on the exponential growth of interest in sortition.
    2) to ensure that the blog title encourages posts on the full range of applications of lotteries — rather than the preoccupations of frequent posters (like you and me) with statistical representation.

    I imagine (and hope) that there are many other contributors and readers who share these concerns.

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  68. I regret the manner you approach Keith Sutherland. When you disagree with him on a subject be respectfull and give your counterarguments only and not these generalizising negative remarks, please!

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  69. My reply of 7.14 was adressed to Yoram.

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  70. *** I agree with Arturo Íñiguez. We must not follow the trivialization of the word ‘democracy’ by using it for all communities. It is actually dangerous for the democratic idea.
    *** A couple or a residential condominium or a small isolated village are communities where face to face interactions are rather strong and permanent, which is not true in a demos/populus/people. In ancient Cities, and especially giant ones as Athens or Syracuse, the most famous democracies, there were face to face interactions only between friends or between people discussing in small groups in the Agora, and they were not permanent. In modern States it will be the same (changing Agora into Internet). Some kleroterians think of face-to-face debates between allotted citizens, but that would be an artificial institution, separated from everyday life (NOTE: artificial is not pejorative, many useful things are artificial, for instance writing).
    *** It is important to make this distinction. First intellectually: reasoning must not be the same, and analogies may be fallacious. Second, I saw in the French media several examples of antidemocrats taking example of the condominium assemblies against the idea of (ortho-)democracy, whereas at least some defects of these assemblies come from the interpersonal relationships.
    *** Deciding by turns in a conjugal community may be a good idea, but not for major choices: having a baby or migrating to another country; or even going to another place or buying a house. Giving this procedure as an example of democracy could be used against the democratic idea.
    *** Ruling by turns is not intrinsically democratic. Let’s imagine the sovereignty is given to an individual citizen allotted absolute king each year. That would not be democracy. By citizens ruling by turns Euripides’ Theseus says “ho demos anassei” , the demos reigns; but it is because magistrates panels and more surely big juries are somewhat the mirrors of the entire people. Conjugal rule by turns is not a good analogy.
    *** Majority vote is a basic point of democracy. They were assemblies in archaic Greek Cities (see Homer’s Ithaca), but dêmokratia occurred only when the debates were followed by majority votes (hands or pebbles) rather than researches of consensus, easily dominated by the elites. Considering conjugal communities leads to forget the majoritarian principle. (Note that in polygynic marriages, polyandric marriages etc, majority vote is possible, but they are face to face communities, not civic ones, as said before).
    *** I conclude we must restrict the use of the word “democracy” to the political rule of civic communities. In other cases, let’s speak of “equality in rule’.
    *** That said, I agree the blog must be open to discussions about equality by lot not only in civic communities. Thus, the subtitle must include the word “equality”, not only “democracy”, to avoid restriction.

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  71. Ronald,

    I regret that you support Sutherland’s despicable attempt to impose his views on others. There is nothing to respect about such attempts. Such attempts need to be exposed and condemned rather than tolerated or condoned. (I would add, by the way, that this is far from the first time Sutherland engages in such behavior on this blog.)

    Again, Sutherland is welcome to express his views. He must avoid, however, implying those views are shared by others who do not or may not share them and certainly must avoid trying to assert that those views are ground rules to which all should adhere.

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  72. Yoram,

    I defend the right of Keith (and any contributor) to express his opinions, without being personally attacked. I hope that we can debate on this blog in the spirit of Voltaires famous adagium: “I wholly disagree with you …. and will contend …. for your right to say it”.

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  73. […] the call for proposals for changing the subtitle of this blog, we have the following […]

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  74. Andre,

    I’m glad that you confirm that majority vote is the sine qua non for democratic governance. Sortition is of value in mirroring the salient population parameters of the full citizen body (when size precludes everyone meeting in person), and can protect the sovereign body against manipulation. I also agree that it is not possible to scale up the dynamics of small group interactions into a working polis. Simon was using the term democracy in the (loose) egalitarian sense and small groups rarely resort to the secret ballot. When such a group makes a decision by “drawing straws” the process is better described as aleatory rather than democratic.

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  75. Historical note. The extended use of « democratic » for « equalitarian » in spaces other than the macrosocial/civic one can be found in texts from ancient Athenian democracy, but (as far as I know) always in a satirical way. In Aristophanes’ “The Frogs” 948-952 it is used for the playwright (Euripides) who gives important speaking roles to characters of unequal status and says “my woman spoke, as did the slave as well. Or master, maiden or old woman”. In “The Assemblywomen” 631 it is used for a decree implementing equal sexual opportunities for all women and all men, of any age or looks. (But here it can be said that the decree brought sexuality into the macrosocial space).

    Liked by 1 person

  76. The subtitle is truly awful, esoteric and nerdish, but think you should sort out the title first: “Equality by Lot” hardly speaks to the man or woman in the street. Something like “Real democracy now!” with a subtitle of “Empowering everybody through sortition” would be better. Sorry if I’m opening a can of worms but I believe it all needs a rethink.

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  77. Peter,

    If you look back at the earlier comments you’ll see that the blog is intended to serve a wider range of interests than those of us just interested in sortition as a medium for democratic representation.

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  78. > The subtitle is truly awful, esoteric and nerdish

    We can reconsider periodically.

    > Real democracy now!

    “Real democracy” is too amorphous to be useful IMO – it could mean anything. The value of exclamation points can be debated. To me they are very much associated with the electoralist a-rational, or anti-rational politics. Thus the “nerdishness” of the current title and subtitle is part of the anti-electoralist message.

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  79. Yoram, what is your email address?

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  80. I have send you a message on this address a week ago!

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  81. Reply on 3:07 from Ronald

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  82. Ah – I now see it in my spam folder. I’ll send you an invitation.

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  83. Anonymous on 3:07 is from Ronald

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  84. Ronald – I see that you are already a contributor to the blog. You should be able to submit posts.

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  85. Yes I know, but I was not been able to make a contribution. So please instruct me how to do it.

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  86. Yes, I can and what is the next step?

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  87. Once you are logged in, you should be able to add a new post.

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