The Jury of the Whole

In my latest post on the legislative branch, I look at what happens after a set of concrete proposals are made and published. This is the most transformative aspect of the proposal-jury model. It engages every aspect of a polity, from intellectual and business elites, to the news media, to ordinary citizens. And it is the closest that any large, modern society can come to experiencing direct democracy.

The Service Pool

I don’t think we pay enough attention to the executive branch on this blog, nor do we pay enough attention to the careers of executive branch officials. There’s nothing theoretically fun about it, but when democracies give way to dictatorships, it’s usually through some group of executive branch officials who commandeer the system for their personal benefit.

In part 2 of my never-ending series on the executive branch, I explore ways to create a more professional corps of executive officers. Perhaps one day a force organized along these lines will be able to steer the ship of state with no chance of crashing into the rocks of authoritarianism or running aground on the shoals of dysfunction.

Superminority

Consensus-based legislatures favor bad faith actors. Just getting to a final vote on any measure is a herculean undertaking. This fact makes obstructionist tactics highly successful, so much so that legislatures are largely viewed as dysfunctional throughout the democratic world.

In part 2 of my legislative series, I introduce the superminority, a way of producing laws more pluralistically. It not only introduces a regular pattern for introducing citizen juries, but eliminates most of the tactics that make legislative politics so toxic.

Kill The Assembly

In the first post of my series on the legislative, I discuss what is wrong with the general assembly (spoiler alert: everything). Nevertheless, in the history of the assembly there are the seeds of new growth. We can get back to a more honest, more productive assembly if we take it apart, honor its historical motivation, and rebuild it with some modern innovations.

Sortition in the Executive

Much of the sortition discussion revolves around the legislative branch, but historically, it was often the random selection of magistrates that signaled a true democracy. I would like to start a discussion of how executive officers can be selected by lot in a modern state. This is crucially important, because while the legislature may be the traditional home of sovereignty in a democracy, the executive branch is what most citizens experience as the state.

My first post deals with a structure that I call a coordination hierarchy, which I believe should be the standard way to organize the political layer of the executive branch. In future posts, I will discuss criticisms and challenges to this structure, as well as fleshing out some other requirements to make this system work in practice. My ultimate goal is to describe a way in which the political layer can be populated by a political service: a professional corps of public servants who are responsive to the public through citizen juries, but which operates under a set of constraints that make it look more like the civil service.