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The Ideal Form of Government: Jury Democracy

What would be the ideal form of government? I think it would be one where every adult citizen or registered voter is fully informed about each issue or decision to be made, carefully considers it and deliberates on that issue with other equally well informed citizens, and then the entire body of citizens votes on that particular issue or decision, separate from other issues, and the issue is decided by majority vote or even more preferably by consensus. That is not possible in large societies such as ours because there are a lot of decisions to be made and we all have our lives to live so we do not have time for all of us to hear evidence and carefully consider every issue. Therefore we elect representatives to do the decision making for us.

But that is not necessary. We don’t all have to consider every issue and spend our time hearing the evidence and arguments, deliberating, discussing with others, and making a considered decision. By statistics, we get the same result (plus or minus a margin of error) with taking a relatively small sample of the citizenry. We can randomly select as few as 400 registered voters to represent all of us, hear the evidence and arguments on a particular proposal or decision, deliberate on it with others who have also heard the evidence and arguments, and then vote. That gives the same result as you would get if every citizen could gather for the same process with a margin of error of ±5% with 400 citizens, ±4% with 600 citizens, ±3% with 1,000 citizens, or ±2% with 2,000 citizens.

With a large jury of randomly selected citizens or registered voters hearing evidence and arguments on a particular bill, proposal, or decision, reading the bill or proposal under consideration, deliberating on it with other members of the jury who are equally well informed, and then voting, if you require a 55% majority to pass the bill, with a jury of 400 citizens or more you can be certain that had you convened every citizen for the same process, you would have had at least a majority vote for passing the bill.

I think this is an ideal form of government. It replicates the results and the decisions you would get if every citizen were fully informed on every proposal and carefully considered every decision on its own merits and voted on every decision or proposal. It eliminates money and influence from decision making. Decisions are not made on the basis of emotion and anger but on the basis of reason and careful consideration, with due consideration of our emotions. All sides get to present their arguments and evidence, regardless of the money and influence possessed by each side. And the citizen representatives do not serve as Republicans or Democrats or partisans of any sort but just as citizens.

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1 Comment

First, I'll say, I won't be voting for you. However with that admission aside, let me also commend you for promoting what you call "Jury Democracy", and what otherwise is

known as Sortition, the selection of policy-making representatives by lot. As I am sure you know, it was shown to be effective in the Athenian democracy of the classical era. I have been an advocate for Sortition for some time, after determining that our existing system was not as really democratic nor as effective as it could be. So I encourage you to remain active on behalf of Jury Democracy after the election. In a post-election time, if you would be interested to continue such advocacy, I'd be interested in…

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