RANDOMCRACY: How it would work

On March 22, 2010 the “Daily Babel” carried an editorial titled RANDOMCRACY: the case for a Neo-Athenian Direct Democracy. The opening statement was: “We’re slowly watching Democracy transform itself into nothing more than a stage-play put on by a media-savvy, bank-friendly plutocracy. The average citizen today has no more say on how his or her government should govern, than a dog has in making requests from his master”.

The concept of a random and selective way to a direct, popular sovereignty was born in the United States some twenty years ago. The idea was: representative democracy is a sham, as the electoral mechanism is responsible for the usurpation (= illegal seizure of power) by an oligarchy of professional, career, lifelong politicians, normally corrupt or corruptible. In order to be elected or re-elected, a professional politician must either own really vast money (which is plutocracy) or sell his/her vote and influence to the lobbies, one of the de facto lobbies being docile voters who trust campaign promises.

The radical alternative to pluto/klepto-democracy should be (in due time will be) direct democracy: going back to Athens, where democracy was invented some 25 centuries ago. However the Athenian direct democracy implied very small numbers of full, privileged, male citizens. No woman, no foreign-born, no slave. In a colossal country of today the right thing to do is canceling the electoral process (voting would stay in referenda only) and reducing the sovereign citizenry to a “macro-jury” made of a small percentage of the entire population: its temporary members (f.i. 6 to 12 months) would be randomly selected by a computer-assisted lot. No elected official at all. The ‘macro-jury’ concept is referred to the body of persons who are randomly (within limits) selected to render verdict in court in lieu of the entire people, which in theory is the source of justice. Such source is not the professional judge. He or she transforms the popular (=jurors’) verdict into a technical sentence.

A succession of computerized lots within the small percentage of pro tempore sovereign citizens (hyper-citizens) would select, with progressively more demanding criteria, the persons to act at the various levels of government. Say, plain persons could be added to better qualified ones in the bottom level of the macro-jury, the level where the small town councillors would be drawn. Well higher qualifications should be necessary to those among whom the members of state or national legislatures would be randomly selected by the computer.

Of course qualifications should be determined by objective, unquestionable facts. For instance, if managing a serious business is chosen as a pre-requisite to be randomly picked as a member of a given body, the official computer must verify that the said business has been in operation for a number of years. Analogously, if a person claims to be a scientist, evidences should exist that he/she does research work in an university or reputable institution. No arbitrary, disputable element should play a role.

Innumerable additional problems should be solved, changes made, controls introduced. The computer-assisted selections must be beyond any doubt. After the disappearance of professional politicians, advisors, burocrats and technocrats would become too important, so they should be submitted to special supervising committees of hyper-citizens. Myriads of additional issues would confront us. The end result of randomcracy would be the cancellation of career (robber) politicians; the abrogation of evil role of money in the political process; the exercise of sovereignty by revolving sections of the general public; the chances for everybody to be selected for short terms of office, if qualified.

Anthony Cobeinsy