Democracy in Crisis, Part 3: Alternatives to Elections

Submitted by webmaster on Wed, 25-11-2020 - 19:45

In deze podcast praat Brian Standing met vier gasten: Paul Cartledge, Hélène Landemore, Terry Bouricius en Madeline McCaren. Ze worden kort geïntroduceerd aan het begin van de podcast en uitgebreider in de shownotes.

Uit de podcast:

Bouricius, die zelf jarenlang gemeenteraadslid en deelstaatparlementariër is geweest:
'Electoral chambers are inherently uninterested in deliberation. They have no motivation to figure out solutions. When I was a legislator if opposing party brought forward a bill, our first task was to figure out how we could attack it, how we could smear them, their motivations, their competence; whether they were evil. Elected people come to a body pre-judging just about every policy. There is no give-and-take in a chamber; it is a performance to help win the votes in the subsequent election. Policy is merely the weapons, the tools, the battleground on which we fight for power. And the illusion that we have a genuinely representative group of people is merely an illusion. Elections produce a body that is inherently incapable of democratic government.'

Bouricius, over zijn waarneming dat gekozen vertegenwoordigers zelden woninghuurders zijn:
'By not having a diverse body, it was impossible to be genuinely representative. They weren't agents for their constituents, they were human beings, and they were not representative of the population'

Bouricius, over vermeende incompetentie van gelote burgers:
'When you talk about a group of random people, a lot of folks say "Oh, well, they don't know anything, they're not competent", and I really want to stress that I know legislators: they are not better than the rest of the population. They are different in that they tend to be ego-driven males, but they are not more competent. And the fact is: we don't really care about the individual competence of each individual member. We care about the competence of the group as a whole. And the fact is, by having a diverse group, you create a more competent overall group.'

'The worry that the Athenian anti-democrats had, wouldn't apply to our system because we are more aware of the limitations, the potential defects, of the random system, and then leading onto the final decision, we are more sophisticated about that. But I still think we don't educate ordinary people, early on, enough.'

Bouricius,  over het wel of niet verplichten van deelname aan gelote burgerberaden:
'I would like to have a final authority. Not throwing it to a referendum, or throwing it to an elected body, but instead throwing it to a compulsary jury, a large jury, maybe five-hundred, maybe a thousand people, where it's compulsary service, unless you have a good excuse to get out of it. For two weeks you are going to listen to the pro and con arguments, and then you're just going to vote, and that body should by fully representative of the entire population. And the only way you can really do that, is through some sort of mandatory service.'

Bouricius, over hoe een nieuwe wet tot stand zou moeten komen:
'Proposals can come from anywhere, and then a smaller group will perfect it to a final proposal, and then a large mandatory jury would be the final thumbs-up thumbs-down on the final draft that comes forward. The mere act of writing a proposal makes you unsuitable to be the judge of what you have produced. That's why I think we need separate bodies: one to propose, one to dispose - one to decide yes or no.'

Landemore, over het ter verantwoording kunnen roepen van beslissers:
'The accountability is interpersonal. It is based on the desire to be recognized by one's peers to contribute to the common good. The care, the affection, the group dynamics, that's what keeps these people motivated, but that's also what keeps these people accountable, to each other and to the larger group. People who object to these bodies always bring this up as the slam-dunk objection: "Ah, these were non-elected therefore they are not accountable."  Accountability is a complex notion. It can be achieved through many, many years. We still have to work on how to make those bodies accountable, but it is a possibility for sure.'

Bouricius, in aansluiting hierop:
'Accountability doesn't really even perfectly apply to a democracy constructed out of randomly selected mini-publics, because each person is just representing themselves, they have no constituents, they are just going with what they think is best. But with elections there is absolutely no accountability, because of rational ignorance: there is no reason or no possibility for the average voter to monitor all the things, dozens and dozens of different things that politicians are dealing with. Therefore they cannot hold them accountable. The accountability that elections do offer, is false accountability.'

'Democracy in Crisis' is een driedelige serie van discussies over het inzetten van gelote burgerberaden ter bevordering van de democratie.

Democracy in Crisis, Part 3: Alternatives to Elections
WORT-FM (Madison, Wisconsin), 28 augustus 2020

(1 uur en 2 minuten)

Bron: Democracy in Crisis, Part 3: Alternatives to Elections, WORT-FM