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Thread: Sortition

  1. #1
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    Default Sortition

    I just finished reading this very interesting book:



    Concisely put it makes the argument that for centuries, stemming from Athenian Democracy, sortition (i.e selecting people for positions via lots) was a central democratic tenant. The author goes on to explain that the move towards modern parliamentary democracy was an anti-democratic move designed to put power into the hands of an aristocracy and not ordinary people. This aim was furthered by restricted voting franchises. Pro democratic forces had concentrated on achieving universal suffrage but this has not resulted in true democracy or freedom because the very concept of parliamentary democracy is anti democratic at its core by design. This is why - despite universal suffrage - disillusionment in politics and apathy towards it is at an all time high. The author refers to this as Democratic Fatigue Syndrome. The solution to this situation is to return to the roots of democracy and bring back sortition, wherein ordinary citizens can find themselves (as in juries) called to govern and legislate, thus much of the problems, corruption, election fever, etc, of parliamentary democracy can be solved.

    Personally I found his arguments have a great deal of merit to them and think that sortition can play a useful role but cannot be the sole method of selecting government. Perhaps at a local level it can be of use and possibly even if the Seanad were reformed on these lines it would be very useful in overseeing, debating and proposing amendments to legislation.

    The constitutional convention has been useful, why not replace the Seanad with a sort of permanent body made up of ordinary citizens selected via sortition? It would give ordinary citizens a chance to govern, and in turn, be governed.
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sortition

    Does anyone know exactly how, i.e the formula involved, for selecting citizens for the convention?

    I would be very interested in anyone's thoughts on Sortition, or any discussion on its historical application.
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Dublin
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    Default Re: Sortition

    The Government hired two ( Red C Research and Marketing Ltd....why two?) market research companys to get a representative cross section of the population.

    One of the many troubles with that is that it is impossible to include the many people with enough cop-on not to want to spend their precious spare time giving cover to a government two indecisive and/or cowardly to make up their own mind.

    As far as Sorition goes, well it is so far out there that it will never be a runner. To mis-quote Garret Fitzgerald -it might work in theory but will it work in practice.

    Original quote from Garret:

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/398...work-in-theory

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