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Deliberative Democracy

What do you think of allowing a random sample of citizens to govern?


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Kandahar

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Check out this article in TIME Magazine. James Fishkin suggests a good model for governance: Choose a representative sample of the population, and have them serve as the government. This has been implemented in many localities in several countries...but the greatest success of this form of democracy comes from China, of all places. The coastal district Zeguo governs itself in precisely this manner, by picking a random sampling of its citizens, teaching them about the issues, allowing them to ask questions of experts, and then having them decide on their own.

I really like this idea. I think it would solve a lot of problems with gridlock, incumbency, and partisanship...while also preserving most of the reasons we have democracy in the first place: To accurately represent public opinion, and to prevent abuses of power and corruption.

What do you think of this idea? What flaws (if any) do you foresee in a system like this?

How Can a Democracy Solve Tough Problems? - TIME
 
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Scarecrow Akhbar

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I proposed that idea 15 years ago, except I required the candidates meet minimum requirements of education, productivity, maturity, and loyalty.

Given that American high schools excel at producing unskilled labor, clearly the candidate pool has to have more than a high school education.

The candidate should have some experience living, which means a minimum age requirement of 30 years old. Damn stupid of this country to have children who've never held a job they couldn't afford to lose voting in elections.

A productive person has either held a job long term or run his own business. Thus candidates would have a minimum of five of the seven years prior to his candidacy employed.

The candidate can't be living in his mommy's basement, or attic, or othewise have failed to exit the nest.

The candidate must have proven a sacrifice to the nation to qualify. That means, cop, fireman, military veteran. Americorps weenies need not apply.
 

Johnny

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This is more or less how our government was ran in the first place. The founders didn't intend for the elite/career politicians to only hold office. Public service was meant for you and me and our neighbors. One of the best known examples is George Washington. Granted he was a war hero and wealthy land owner but he served his time the went back to his plantation.

The guy working at a warehouse and living a humble life in his small apartment should have the same chance as the Harvard grad.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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No.

The United States has something called "elections", where the people choose the holders of office, or at least choose the electors.
 

Johnny

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I understand that. Everybody should have the chance to run.

I was speaking against your post. You seem to think those that can't go to college and can't afford a home should be treated as second class citizens.

I never said there aren't elections.
 

Sanitas

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This is more or less how our government was ran in the first place. The founders didn't intend for the elite/career politicians to only hold office. Public service was meant for you and me and our neighbors. One of the best known examples is George Washington. Granted he was a war hero and wealthy land owner but he served his time the went back to his plantation.

The guy working at a warehouse and living a humble life in his small apartment should have the same chance as the Harvard grad.
Agreed. Nobody should be able to make a career as a politician.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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I understand that. Everybody should have the chance to run.

I was speaking against your post. You seem to think those that can't go to college and can't afford a home should be treated as second class citizens.

I never said there aren't elections.
I was speaking that the uneducated are less likely to be good leaders. Which isn't to say that over educated people make good leaders, look at the last few clods we've had in the White House.

But no, a fifty year old tow motor driver at a factory is not someone capable of making leadership decisions, he's never demonstrated any ability in that area. The engineers and businessmen running that factory have the useful experience. No, your average schlub isn't qualified to run a nation. Which is the problem with elections, again, pay attention to the incompetent boob in the White House currently doing more damage to the nation than any of his predecessors. He does not fit the criteria I posted.
 

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No.

The United States has something called "elections", where the people choose the holders of office, or at least choose the electors.
The current political process is a joke and I pray to every god and goddess there is that you understand that.


I would like to see the idea piloted in the US, but I have serious concerns.

What do you do if people get power-hungry, can you force the group out of power if that happens and who does the forcing?

What do you do if you get one egocentric jackass that holds procedures up because he's enjoying the power?

Humans have a natural tendency to "clique", what's to stop cliques among these random people from impairing their judgement?

How do you ensure you dont accidentally end up selecting a group of all one particular political persuasion, which in America isnt terribly unlikely?

What do you do if groups start counter-manding each other or trying to undo the work that one group just did because they disagree with it?


I'm not opposed to it, but I am somewhat skeptical. Again, I would want to see the idea piloted in a major city or even a state before I would start gelling into being for or against it.
 

Kandahar

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What do you do if people get power-hungry, can you force the group out of power if that happens and who does the forcing?
As I understand the idea (or as I would suggest), the random sample of the population only serves for a certain length of time, just like Congress. Once their two years (or however long) was up, there would be a new random sample of the population that took office.

Hoplite said:
What do you do if you get one egocentric jackass that holds procedures up because he's enjoying the power?
I suppose that's always a possibility. However, there are a lot of egocentric jackasses in our legislatures that currently do it. I bet that the amount of that would be severely reduced, since the people who were holding power wouldn't come in (in most cases) with any partisan animosity, worries about reelection, or grudges against their colleagues.

Hoplite said:
Humans have a natural tendency to "clique", what's to stop cliques among these random people from impairing their judgement?
Nothing...but we currently have cliques in most legislatures around the country (i.e. political parties) that certainly impair their members' independent judgment. Now I'm sure that people would group with other like-minded people. They won't always choose right. The idea isn't that they would do everything perfectly; just better than the current system.

Hoplite said:
How do you ensure you dont accidentally end up selecting a group of all one particular political persuasion, which in America isnt terribly unlikely?
I'm not sure what you mean. Why would this be more likely to happen in America than anywhere else?

If you take a random sample of the population, you should get an accurate idea of the public's views. This is the premise on which polling is based and there is a lot of statistical support for this argument. The bigger the sample you took, the more likely it would be to accurately represent the public.

Hoplite said:
What do you do if groups start counter-manding each other or trying to undo the work that one group just did because they disagree with it?
I don't think this would happen unless you didn't change groups very often (i.e. every two years). The next group that comes into power will probably be very similar to the previous one, since they were both random samplings from the same population. Unless the voters have drastically changed their opinion on something while the officials have not (which would probably only happen if the officials implement something that becomes a disaster), I don't see any circumstances where this would happen. And under those circumstances, it's probably a good thing that the new group would try to undo the work of the previous group.

Hoplite said:
I'm not opposed to it, but I am somewhat skeptical. Again, I would want to see the idea piloted in a major city or even a state before I would start gelling into being for or against it.
Ya, I'd like to see more localities adopt it. I'm not sure if it would be constitutional at the state level, since the US Constitution guarantees states a republican form of government and I'm not sure if this would qualify. But it would definitely be good to see major cities willing to pilot this idea.
 
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peepnklown

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This model has already been tired a long, long time ago; Athenian democracy had this feature.
We need to follow the Declaration of Independence! We need to put government back into their small boxes (federal & state); then and only then, we can talk about you and our neighbors running for office.
 

Kandahar

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This model has already been tired a long, long time ago; Athenian democracy had this feature.
Yes, the article mentions that. What are your thoughts on it?

peepnklown said:
We need to follow the Declaration of Independence! We need to put government back into their small boxes (federal & state); then and only then, we can talk about you and our neighbors running for office.
Why does the first need to be resolved before the second? :confused:
 
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samsmart

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Check out this article in TIME Magazine. James Fishkin suggests a good model for governance: Choose a representative sample of the population, and have them serve as the government. This has been implemented in many localities in several countries...but the greatest success of this form of democracy comes from China, of all places. The coastal district Zeguo governs itself in precisely this manner, by picking a random sampling of its citizens, teaching them about the issues, allowing them to ask questions of experts, and then having them decide on their own.

I really like this idea. I think it would solve a lot of problems with gridlock, incumbency, and partisanship...while also preserving most of the reasons we have democracy in the first place: To accurately represent public opinion, and to prevent abuses of power and corruption.

What do you think of this idea? What flaws (if any) do you foresee in a system like this?

How Can a Democracy Solve Tough Problems? - TIME
I think it would work best at the county level and state level than at the federal level.

However, at the federal level, I'd prefer a reform that institutes the Wyoming Rule. The Wyoming Rule would give the state with the least population (currently Wyoming) 1 seat in the House of Representatives. The number of seats the other states get in the House would be based around this. This way, a more representative democratic process is instituted in the House.

I'd also prefer Instant Run-off Voting for elections so third-parties can get elected.

If this "deliberative democracy" gets instituted, however, I don't want any restrictions on who gets chosen. What's great about the democratic process is the openess of who is allowed to take part in decisions. If you place restrictions on that, then you automatically favor one group or special interest over another. I think that's wrong in a democratic society.
 

American

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I understand that. Everybody should have the chance to run.

I was speaking against your post. You seem to think those that can't go to college and can't afford a home should be treated as second class citizens.

I never said there aren't elections.
No, he was saying they shouldn't run the government. If you're too stupid to wipe your own ass, should you be allowed to make decision for others who can? The answer is NO.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Check out this article in TIME Magazine. James Fishkin suggests a good model for governance: Choose a representative sample of the population, and have them serve as the government. This has been implemented in many localities in several countries...but the greatest success of this form of democracy comes from China, of all places. The coastal district Zeguo governs itself in precisely this manner, by picking a random sampling of its citizens, teaching them about the issues, allowing them to ask questions of experts, and then having them decide on their own.

I really like this idea. I think it would solve a lot of problems with gridlock, incumbency, and partisanship...while also preserving most of the reasons we have democracy in the first place: To accurately represent public opinion, and to prevent abuses of power and corruption.

What do you think of this idea? What flaws (if any) do you foresee in a system like this?

How Can a Democracy Solve Tough Problems? - TIME
Well - this 'blue ribbon' initiative is what smart leaders do *rather* than pretending they know what to do - they're at least trying to grasp, understand and figure out the problem.

However- people *do* do that. I've read quite afew different proposals and plans from others over 2010, 2011 budgets and so on - what they money should and shouldn't be spent on, where hikes and cuts should be made. People dedicate - volunteer - their time to these things and sometimes these things make their way to DC through someone and find their way - in whole or part - into various actions taken by Congress, etc.

Having any-ole body coming up with ideas isn't very comforting to me. . . neither is our current system.
We're still *very much* out of the loop on those decisions.
 

Camlon

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Check out this article in TIME Magazine. James Fishkin suggests a good model for governance: Choose a representative sample of the population, and have them serve as the government. This has been implemented in many localities in several countries...but the greatest success of this form of democracy comes from China, of all places. The coastal district Zeguo governs itself in precisely this manner, by picking a random sampling of its citizens, teaching them about the issues, allowing them to ask questions of experts, and then having them decide on their own.

I really like this idea. I think it would solve a lot of problems with gridlock, incumbency, and partisanship...while also preserving most of the reasons we have democracy in the first place: To accurately represent public opinion, and to prevent abuses of power and corruption.

What do you think of this idea? What flaws (if any) do you foresee in a system like this?

How Can a Democracy Solve Tough Problems? - TIME
For local areas, sure it could work fine. For government, no way! It all depends on how it will function. First off, many cases are way too difficult and uninteresting that the average voter can set himself into. For instance, who cares about "Veterinary Services Investment Act" that was just recently passed.

Secondly, a difference in Deliberative Democracy is that it tries to achieve consensus. You will probably find that quite hard for some issues, some issues that require some tough policies to improve the conditions.
 

RightinNYC

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I proposed that idea 15 years ago, except I required the candidates meet minimum requirements of education, productivity, maturity, and loyalty.

Given that American high schools excel at producing unskilled labor, clearly the candidate pool has to have more than a high school education.

The candidate should have some experience living, which means a minimum age requirement of 30 years old. Damn stupid of this country to have children who've never held a job they couldn't afford to lose voting in elections.

A productive person has either held a job long term or run his own business. Thus candidates would have a minimum of five of the seven years prior to his candidacy employed.

The candidate can't be living in his mommy's basement, or attic, or othewise have failed to exit the nest.

The candidate must have proven a sacrifice to the nation to qualify. That means, cop, fireman, military veteran. Americorps weenies need not apply.
So you proposed a government run by middle/upper middle class military folks and cops over the age of 30. That's not exactly what the OP anticipated. Saying you proposed this idea 15 years ago is like saying you came up with the idea for twitter, except your idea involved writing notes on paper and handing them to friends in class.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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The current political process is a joke and I pray to every god and goddess there is that you understand that.
I understand perfectly that the Democrats have done every possible thing they can imagine to corrupt the process.

Early voting.
Universal absentee voting
Motor voter registration.
Opposing any and all efforts to demand verification of citizenship of prospective registered voters.
Opposing any and all efforts to demand the presentation of lawful ID at the polls.
Opposition to basic literacy requirements.

ANYTHING and EVERYTHING the Democrats can do to corrupt elections, they've been doing.

Yes, I'm FULLY aware of the problems with the American electoral process.

What do you do if people get power-hungry, can you force the group out of power if that happens and who does the forcing?
What group? Under the scenario I presented, the office holders are chosen from the candidate pool randomly, for a fixed term. Then they get to go back to their civillian life and live under the laws they passed.

Naturally, there will still be a written constitution with specifcally enumerated powers and a specifc bill of rights. I mean, the US Constitution, when followed, provides the most secure guarantees of individual liberty in human history.

If you're referring to the nonsense we have today, it's becoming increasingly clear that the brick and stone walls in Washington could be put to better use with firing squads in front of them.

What do you do if you get one egocentric jackass that holds procedures up because he's enjoying the power?
You mean like when Patrick Leahy deliberately stonewalled Bush judicial appointees simply because Bush was a Republican and might nominate judges that believe the Constitution is a limit on goverment?

The word is "term limits" and an end to arrogance.

Humans have a natural tendency to "clique", what's to stop cliques among these random people from impairing their judgement?
What's to stop Obama from hitting the links?

Nothing.

What's to stop government office holders from developing an us vs them attitude?

Term limits.

How do you ensure you dont accidentally end up selecting a group of all one particular political persuasion, which in America isnt terribly unlikely?
Amazing thing about the word random. It keeps people from selecting.

What do you do if groups start counter-manding each other or trying to undo the work that one group just did because they disagree with it?
I have no idea what kind of weird power structure you're pretending to see.

And, frankly, I WANT the Republican to not only demolish the edifice of socialism built in this nation by the evil Progressives, but I demand they bury the corpse of socialism in the world's deepest salt bed.

So, you're saying there's something wrong with undoing the efforts of preceding office holders?

I say we have to fix the mistakes of the past and replace the socialists with Americans.

I'm not opposed to it, but I am somewhat skeptical. Again, I would want to see the idea piloted in a major city or even a state before I would start gelling into being for or against it.
The method I proposed violates significant portions of the US Constitution and will not be implented, ever, anywhere.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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So you proposed a government run by middle/upper middle class military folks and cops over the age of 30. That's not exactly what the OP anticipated. Saying you proposed this idea 15 years ago is like saying you came up with the idea for twitter, except your idea involved writing notes on paper and handing them to friends in class.
No.

Saying I thought it up 15 years ago is a simple statement of fact.

I'm retarded enough to see any value in twitter and there's no way I could have imagined anything as useless as that.

When I was in high school, in 1978, I postulated that since the TV repairman told me that the CRT was the weakest point of a TV, that we could possibly use LCD's to make TV's. That's as far as it goes, since I'm a mechanic, not an electrician.

Lots and lots of people come up with ideas and they lack the skills and capital to do anything with them.

It means nothing.

You should focus on the issue, not your personal creative failings.
 

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Agreed. Nobody should be able to make a career as a politician.
Not only shouldn't they, they shouldn't be permitted to. We ought to have serious term limits. You can work for no more than 2-3 terms in *ANY* political office, then you are not eligible to hold any elected office again until you have worked at least one term in the private sector. This should be true of every elected office in the country.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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I was speaking against your post. You seem to think those that can't go to college and can't afford a home should be treated as second class citizens.
No.

I think that those who aren't educated and can't support themselves aren't practical candidates for leadership. Certainly there's exceptions, but in general, grow up, okay?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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How's Alvin Greene, the poster child for the uneducated everyman, doing for South Carolina?
 

Kandahar

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How's Alvin Greene, the poster child for the uneducated everyman, doing for South Carolina?
While it's true that (in general) members of Congress are more intelligent than the voting public as a whole, I'm not sure that necessarily translates into better results. There are a number of features of our current system that actually favor WORSE results: Politicians worrying about reelection instead of doing what's right, political parties with agendas that preclude compromise, entrenched incumbents who are completely out of touch with most people, corruption that comes from spending years in a political culture that tells politicians it's OK as long as you don't go overboard, etc.

While most people aren't as smart as their congressman, I think most people are motivated to do well when called upon for service. As long as you give them access to experts on the issues to ask questions (especially experts who disagree with one another), they'll be able to come to a reasonable decision most of the time.
 

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I proposed that idea 15 years ago, except I required the candidates meet minimum requirements of education, productivity, maturity, and loyalty.

Given that American high schools excel at producing unskilled labor, clearly the candidate pool has to have more than a high school education.

The candidate should have some experience living, which means a minimum age requirement of 30 years old. Damn stupid of this country to have children who've never held a job they couldn't afford to lose voting in elections.

A productive person has either held a job long term or run his own business. Thus candidates would have a minimum of five of the seven years prior to his candidacy employed.

The candidate can't be living in his mommy's basement, or attic, or othewise have failed to exit the nest.

The candidate must have proven a sacrifice to the nation to qualify. That means, cop, fireman, military veteran. Americorps weenies need not apply.
I like these ideas, they are worthy of being weighed and entertained....
We must or should know that China has had its ups and downs, but has been around longer than Europe/America. So, an innovative ide from China should be no surprise.
My vote was neutral..
There are too many non-thinkers around here with all those "NOs".
 

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This is more or less how our government was ran in the first place. The founders didn't intend for the elite/career politicians to only hold office. Public service was meant for you and me and our neighbors. One of the best known examples is George Washington. Granted he was a war hero and wealthy land owner but he served his time the went back to his plantation.

The guy working at a warehouse and living a humble life in his small apartment should have the same chance as the Harvard grad.
The founders did make many mistakes, one must remember that they were new to this game....to an extent much as President Obama is.
I feel that either the worker or the grad should be able to serve in govenrment is they have the qualities necessary..
And who does the selection?
Neutral vote.
 

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While most people aren't as smart as their congressman, I think most people are motivated to do well when called upon for service. As long as you give them access to experts on the issues to ask questions (especially experts who disagree with one another), they'll be able to come to a reasonable decision most of the time.
I don't buy for a second that most people aren't as smart as their congressman. Most, and perhaps virtually all congressmen and women are corrupt. The office requires it. Most of them think they are somehow entitled to the power that they've gotten and anything they're doing, they deserve to get away with because they're somehow special. If you remove the concept of lifetime politicians, you remove any impetus for that kind of thinking.

I think that most people who actually would want the job could do a reasonable job, so long as they are surrounded by experts, as you say, to help them make decisions. Those experts ought to be rotated regularly as well, to stop them from getting a big head and using their influence to push a personal agenda.
 
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