Monday, June 26, 2017

Elections are giving us bad democracy

The premise of this We Should Just Randomly Select Our Legislators Rather Than Elect Them article is a big eye catching gimmick, of course. But it's a gimmick that leads to some solid analysis. Here, for example, is the part that sold me on the concept.
Even if you managed to remove some financial and institutional barriers to entry for would-be legislators, you’re still left with the fundamental problem that, ultimately, 100% of the candidates you end up with are people who actually want to be in Congress. Inevitably, elections will disproportionately select those who most want to win them, and the people who most want to win elections are disproportionately likely to be venal and self-serving. It is an ancient cliché that those who want power are the least suited to have it. Just think about the people you know in your daily life, the ones who enjoy being the first to speak at meetings, and willingly make decisions on behalf of the group. Most of these people are awful. You might be able to think of one who’s marginally less awful, but still, if you had a choice in the matter, you wouldn’t want 535 clones of them making rules for the entire country.
This is 100% irrefutably true. Any person who takes it into his or her mind that they are cut out for leadership in any capacity is necessarily exactly the sort of psychopath who should never be trusted with power. Until now, I always assumed the only way around that was to engage via a kind of populism that relentlessly attacks even those least bad office holders we begrudgingly vote into office by default in order to force them to behave a little bit.

But maybe this idea of just randomly putting people in Congress is better.  Sounds more fun, anyway.

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