Short refutations of common arguments for sortition (part 4/4)

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3. I conclude this series of posts by refuting three “philosophical” arguments. These arguments purport to provide theoretical bases for the use of sortition. 10. “The Blind break”: The trouble with elections is that it appoints decision makers based on bad reasons – connections, wealth, ambition, etc. Sortition selects decision […]

Short refutations of common arguments for sortition (part 3)

Part 1 Part 2. The arguments below make a case for sortition that is based on a general, rather vague sense of a need for change. 6. Elections are an 18th century technology. We need to modernize democracy by adopting new, modern ideas and institutions. Sortition is one such new idea and is enabled by […]

Short refutations of common arguments for sortition (part 2)

Part 1 is here. The two arguments presented below pin the problem with elections on the voters. 4. The masses are rationally ignorant. Therefore any system that relies on their judgement would not function well. Sortition does not rely on mass judgement. According to this argument elections present a variety of choices to the voters, […]

Short refutations of common arguments for sortition (part 1)

Some years ago I wrote a set of posts refuting several standard arguments against sortition (1, 2, 3, 4). It seems useful, however, to refute some oft-offered arguments for sortition as well. These are arguments that provide a poor foundation for the idea of applying sortition in government. Such arguments are made, and repeated reflexively, […]

Somin: Sortition won’t solve political ignorance

Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, is the author of the book Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter. Somin opens an opinion piece in the Washington Post thus: Widespread political ignorance is a serious problem for modern democracy. In recent years, many scholars have argued that we can overcome […]

Rangoni and Vandamme: Is deliberative democracy a hopeless ideal?

“Is deliberative democracy a hopeless ideal?” is the title of a recent books review by Sacha Rangoni and Piere-Étienne Vandamme on the Social Europe website. The review deals with three books discussing “deliberative democracy”: Le tournant délibératif de la démocratie, Loïc Blondiaux and Bernard Manin (eds), Sciences Po, 2021, Deliberative Democracy, Ian O’Flynn, Polity Press, […]

Canadian Senator advises against an allotted Senate

Paul J. Massicotte, a senator representing De Lanaudière, Quebec, responds to a piece by Prof. Arash Abizadeh advocating changing the selection procedure of the Canadian Senate to sortition. Massicotte offers a modern version of the Socratic argument against sortition: Who wants to play hockey for Team Canada at the next Olympics? Who knows — there […]

“Limiting who can vote”

Ripples from Van Reybrouck’s book made it across the Atlantic and into the Washington Post where Dutch professors of political science Eric Schliesser and Tom Van Der Meer see fit to discuss his proposals for using sortition together with a proposal to “disenfranchise the ignorant to slant political rule toward experts”. They write: Both [proposals] […]