Short refutations of common objections to sortition (part 4 of 4)

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

16. Why not use direct democracy?

“Direct democracy” is not a democratic mechanism – it suffers from much of the same fundamental problems of electoral systems.

Much in the same way that an electoral candidate has to have the backing of powerful people or organizations in order to become well-known enough to have a chance to be elected, so a proposition has to have powerful backing in order to become well-known enough to have a chance to appear on the ballot. Just like people have no real way to know how well a particular elected official represents their views and interests, so it is difficult to know what the effects of a particular proposition will turn out to be.

In addition, there is too much for government to handle for the cumbersome proposition mechanism to handle. Much of the business of government will necessarily be handled by professionals. “Direct democracy” offers no mechanism for controlling those professionals as they carry out the day-to-day workings of the government.

17. An electoral career provides training for statesmanship.

That is a very questionable assertion. An electoral career provides training for manipulation and self-promotion. A person habituated in such ways of thinking is not likely to pursue policy which serves the public.
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BBC: The Philosophy of Russell Brand

A recent segment on the BBC radio show Analysis is titled “The Philosophy of Russell Brand”. The audience is warned ahead of time to hold on to their hats as “Jeremy Cliffe enters a world without rules, without government, but with plenty of facial hair”. Following this introduction, and the expected sound bites from the Brand-Paxman interview, the segment talks about the attention Brand received, the Occupy/Indignados protest movement and features interviews with Paolo Gerbaudo, David Graeber, Michael Hardt, Peter Turchin, Daniel Pinchbeck, and a few friends of Cliffe.
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