Democracy in America has failed. In spite of the lack of any reference to “democracy” in both the American Constitution and its Declaration of Independence, the United States has institutionalized the democratic principle to become its world exemplar, which according to some intellectuals is henceforth to be the sole pattern for all governments on earth. Francis Fukuyama, a neoconservative until his ideas were actually adopted by the George W. Bush administration, infamously proclaimed in 1993:

[L]iberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of government,” and as such constitute[s] “the end of history.”[i]

The “Disease”

The Founders’ omission of reference to “democracy” was deliberate, and their mistrust of it clear and prescient. The founding idea of the American Experiment is that our several states have united to form a republic of strictly limited federal powers, not a democracy. Without understanding this kernel idea, that the founders repudiated democracy and consciously labored to restrain it, there simply no possibility of understanding the meaning of America. The most concise statement of this idea comes from Madison’s Federalist 10:

Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths…. A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of repre­sentation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.[ii]

Madison’s fears have been realized. Only in schoolbooks sanctioned by the current democratic regime is democracy depicted as an imperfect but scrappy, happy tumult where everyone gets his “piece of the pie,” if not in the current give-and-take of “consensus” political bargaining, then in the next round of informed and free elections. In repudiation of Locke’s justification of government as the defender of “life, liberty and estate,”[iii] – meaning of course “life, liberty and property” – democratic government has become the predator of property.

A Rectification of Names[iv]

Has the true culprit been named? Granted, America has seen the accelerating replace­ment of lower time preferences with higher time preferences, and private property with “public” property at least since 1918. But does democracy account for that development? Does “democracy” properly name this reality? According to Aristotle, in the Politics, book IV, section 9, it does not:

[T]he appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratical [sic], and the election of them oligarchical.[v]

In this passage he respectively describes the Athenian selection of government officials by random lot as “democracy,” and the Spartan selection of officials by popular election as “oligarchy.” In other words, America is not properly a democracy because it does not select its officials by random lot, that is, by sortition. Is it possible then that true, sortitioned democracy is not only blameless for the decline, but can in fact provide Madison’s “remedy for the diseases most incident to republican [democratic] govern­ment”?[vi] Might it do so either as a replacement for his own ingenious “cure,” federalism, or as its rehabilitation, restoring that sole principle known so far to successfully limit the scope of democracy while preserving self-rule in a mass society?

The Possible “Cures”

Before turning to sortitioned democracy as a cure, let us advance more carefully from the first truth that we have established: That America has always chosen its leaders by the elective, oligarchical principle, and not by sortition, the democratic principle. It may well be that other alternatives exist for encouraging low time preferences and for reversing the replacement of private property with “public” property. Let us consider several of these alternative policy actions.


The decade of the 1970s witnessed the formation of the Libertarian Party and a number of inventive homesteading experiments inspired by libertarian principles, by the writings of Ayn Rand, and by the lack of virgin homesteading venues free of state interference. Werner K. Stiefel, the CEO of the large Stiefel Laboratories, invested his own money to pursue Operation Atlantis,[vii] a floating island in the Caribbean, with an elaborate liber­tarian “master lease” as a kind of constitution binding its members. The island was destroyed by a hurricane in 1972, and Stiefel’s advancing age forced him to abandon several other plans that he had provided as alternatives. Michael Oliver also tried to create a libertarian-inspired island named the Republic of Minerva in the South Pacific.[viii] It was abandoned when its members were menaced by warriors of the Kingdom of Tonga in 1972. His second attempt on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas devolved into a Bahaman political party in 1973; and his third attempt on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific was destroyed by mercenaries of that nation in 1980. A clever attempt to essentially vote oneself a homestead was launched with Jason Sorens’ Free State Project in July 2001. His thought was that by having a critical mass of like-minded libertarians in a small state – 20,000 libertarians in the state of New Hampshire – the community would form a voting block to enact libertarian principles statewide. By February 3, 2016, that number of people had signed the statement of intent to migrate to New Hampshire. How­ever, a judgment on its success must lie in the future: That number is about equal to the number that migrates to the state for other reasons, and of the pledged number, only 10% have actually migrated.[ix]

Empower insurance agencies

A considerable literature exists for advancing the role of private insurance agencies into the protection monopoly currently enjoyed by the state. Some of these possibilities have been imagined by Bruno Leoni, Freedom and the Law (D. Van Nostrand Co., 1961); Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty (Macmillan, 1973); David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom (Harper and Row, 1973); and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Brad Edmonds, The Myth of National Defense (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2003). The difficulty lies in finding a practical way to expand that role in the current democratic landscape of heavy regu­lation of insurance agencies by states jealous of their monopoly of the protection racket. Hoppe acknowledges that the ultimate power to implement this expanded power of insurance agencies is the threat of secession.[x]

Institutionalize a concurrent majority

According to John C. Calhoun, legitimate constitutional government does not rest upon “the few, or the many.”[xi] In view of the impossibility of political unanimity, every majority would be “the government of a part, over a part – the major over the minor portion.” Legitimate constitutional government should rest upon two pillars: The “positive” power of “the numerical, or absolute majority” and the “negative” power of states having “veto, interposition, nullification, check, or balance of power.” The absence of any state veto would corroborate the “concurrent majority” – “the united sense of all,” and would more closely approach national unanimity. The ultimate power to enforce the principle rests upon secession.


Quite naturally for a nation founded on secession from Great Britain, the United States has had a great secessionist tradition, beginning not in the South, but in New England. We catalog a few, in order of the number of possible consequent states. Two states: The Hartford Secessionists,[xii] the Essex Junto,[xiii] the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison,[xiv] the Confederate States of America; twelve states: George F. Kennan;[xv] at least fifty states: Kirkpatrick Sale;[xvi] thousands of states: Thomas Jefferson;[xvii] millions of states: Ludwig von Mises.[xviii]

The breakup of monolithic empires into more manageable seceded states would certainly be a benefit, however achieved. Yet without a revision in the way each state’s leaders are chosen, every seceded state is damned by the following consideration: All would still be voting as oligarchic elective states still infected by Madison’s and Hoppe’s ills of democracy.

Revise voting methods

Oligarchic electoral choice using America’s current plurality-rule method, as used by most democratic nations, delivers the least prospect of fair representative candidates, according to most scholars of the subject. According to Duverger’s law, the method is especially unfair in its encouragement of a two-party political system[xix] – a system of factions despised by virtually all of the Framers of the American Constitution. But after considering most alternative methods, the fact remains that Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem demonstrates that all ordinal methods are defective in that they can allow a least-favored candidate to win.[xx] A suggestion to revise the primary system by Thomas Gangale is hardly a comprehensive remedy.[xxi]

Limit voting to property holders

Certainly a significant factor in accelerating increasingly higher time preferences and the metastasis of “public” property has been the growing dispensation of the voting franchise upon those with no “skin in the game” – upon those with little property, who are more than willing to vote themselves the property of others.

Now since any bald suggestion of limiting the franchise to property holders is doomed from the start, some variation retaining a broad franchise while restricting the theft value of voting fares better. For example, anyone who chose to receive welfare payments could simul­taneously lose the franchise for, say, five years following the receipt of the last government check. Or, the removal of force – that is, theft – from taxation for welfare could be achieved by distributing welfare payments only from a fund created by strictly voluntary contribu­tions. The voluntary welfare fund would grow only if property were not plundered, and its success would provide a model for extending the principle of voluntary taxation to other parts of the government budget.

Such indirect implementations of the principle are obviously necessary. For currently, a strict and immediate weaning of the “public” property recipients from the voting rolls would mean that the entire electorate would be disenfranchised.

The Varieties of Sortition

The victories by Miltiades over the Persian Darius at Marathon in 490 BCE, and by Themistocles over Xerxes at Salamis in 480 BCE ushered in the age of Pericles, three-quarters of a century of Athenian ascendency throughout the Aegean, and its period of greatest flourishing. At about this same time, no later than 477 BCE, the Athenians institutionalized democracy based on klerostocracy (from κλερος, or lot) or sortition, that is, the random selection of government personnel by lot.[xxii] The practice was designed to defeat what the American Framers would come to designate as “factions,” or the agglom­eration of interests united in using the fiction of “society” to enrich themselves. This usage was likely a secular repurposing of the religious practice used to determine the will of the gods:

[Since] Fustel de Coulanges [was] the first to point out that, as the lot was religious in its origin, it must have been in some form or other a custom of very great antiquity.[xxiii]

Therefore, it seems likely that 477 BCE designated not the introduction of sortition, but the date of the invention of a remarkable piece of engineering to apply that practice to the selection of government personnel: The kleroterion (κληρωτήριον). The kleroterion was an upright slab of stone about the height and width of a man, pierced with deep slots something larger than modern USB ports. They were arranged in up to about 50 rows, with five or eleven slots in each row. On the day when juries or state officers were needed, citizens would show up. Each would collect a modest fee for his civic duty, and insert his pinakion (πινάκιον), a bronze strip about the size of a large thumb drive, into a slot. The pinakion was an ID unique to each citizen. The rows were filled so as to number considerably more than the number needed to be selected. A tube was strapped to the side of the stone, into which were dropped brass balls painted black and white. The number of white balls equaled the number to be selected; the rest were black, with the total number of balls equal to the number of pinakion-filled rows. A crank at the bottom let out just one ball at a time. If it was black, the first row of pinakia was dismissed; if white, that row was chosen to form an eleven-man jury when using an eleven-row kleroterion, or five officers when using a five-row kleroterion.[xxiv]

The Athenians were so convinced of the value of sortitioned democracy that they adopted it for every public office but one:

[T]he whole administration of the state was in the hands of men appointed by lot: the serious work of the law courts, of the execution of the laws, of police, of public finance, in short of every department (with the exception of actual commands in the army) was done by officials so chosen.[xxv]

Nor were they deluded in their confidence in this system: Athens declined not by any failure of sortition, but by its ultimate defeat in the Peloponnesian Wars (431–404 BC).

Modern writers and political scientists have flirted with the principle of sortation, for a variety of reasons. A humorous advocacy was put forth by H.L. Mencken in 1949:

I propose that the men who make our laws be chosen by chance and against their will, instead of by fraud and against the will of all the rest of us, as now.[xxvi]

The more serious political scientists fall into two general groups: Those who accept “sortive bodies” in some consultative capacity, and those who accept them to achieve a greater equality in representing the public at large.

Purely consultative sortition

Robert A. Dahl thinks that “sortive bodies,”[xxvii] sometimes called “minipopuli,”[xxviii] may perform some kind of advisory role in forming groups to talk about issues of the day. But since these groups have no power, it’s hard to see their value at all, even as substitutes for opinion polling. Indeed they appear more as a theoretical exercise than anything, since clearly Dahl has no real qualms with democracy in its current form: He scoffs at Madison’s fear of “majority tyranny” and denigrates the term “faction” as uselessly vague.[xxix] James S. Fishkin is of the same ilk, and equally muddled. In one work is accepts “sortive bodies” as legislative advisors or stand-ins for opinion polls,[xxx] but then elsewhere renders them useless because in his view they lack “technical expertise” in lawmaking.[xxxi] Likewise, John Gastil and Erik Olin Wright shudder so much at the prospect of uninformed “sortive bodies” falling prey to “legislative capture” by some staff of law-writing technocrats that they propose “advocacy coalitions” to keep them informed.[xxxii]

Halfway implementations, whether they restrict sortition to purely consultative bodies, or only gradually endow it with legislative powers, or allow it in only one of the two houses of Congress, are cures worse than the disease. They leave in place the debilitating oligarchic elective system and add sortition for no clear reason – a system that ignores the Athenian success in applying sortition across every public institution except the military.

Nevertheless, the one issue that gives pause to advocates of purely consultative sortition must be addressed: The presumed loss of “institutional memory” in a constantly rotating policy-making body of amateurs.

In the sense of the term “institutional memory” as a continuity of values, the oligarchic system can always be suspected of politically motivated change. From support of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, to its abandonment in the Equality Act in 2015, from its members’ universal perception of abortion as a category of murder to a category of human rights, it has made these and other revolutionary breaks, not as a reflection of a changing electorate, but in response to politically aggressive minorities. Raising this point is not to argue the ethical merits of the change; it is to illustrate that any change in long-held values, no matter how whimsical or revolutionary, is, for oligarchical election, politically suspect as vote pandering, while for democratic sortition is always the expression of the collective will of its randomly chosen members.

The sense of the term “institutional memory” as professional legislative standards is a fiction. The current oligarchically elected Congress is already subservient not only to a staff of law-writing technocrats, but to lobbyists, partisan “think tanks” and opinion polls, administrative agencies, and media pressure. The legislator holding office by oligarchic election currently spends almost half his time fund raising,[xxxiii] leaving the “professional” work of cobbling up the law to staffers; in the remaining half he acquires “knowledge” for evaluating proposed bills not from time-consuming reading or deliberation, but from paid lobbyists whose political contributions promise to keep him in office; his long-term “vision thing”[xxxiv] is acquired from “think tanks” funded almost exclusively by usually wealthy donors with a definite political ax to grind or acquired from the latest opinion poll; the rambling, indecipherable bills – which they demand must first be passed “so that you can find out what’s in it”[xxxv] – allow for the often secret insertion of favors for constituents – and a critical tool for staying in office is “constituent services”; bills are written vaguely in the expectation that administrative agencies will “fill in the details,” a practice which not only reduces court challenges (following the principle of Chevron or Auer deference[xxxvi]), but which disperses responsibility for any damage the laws may inflict; and “debates” in the sense of a lively exchange of facts and ideas no longer exist – instead, members line up to deliver televised soundbites, often to nearly empty chambers. There is the elected lawmakers’ vaunted “expertise.”

In contrast, a sortitioned legislature would take leading ideas not from politically sponsored “think tanks” run by tendentious intellectuals, not from opinion polls, and not from those who market “information” for a foregone political aim, but from disinterested scholars and experts. In the absence of political parties, the market would incentivize the emergence and preponderance of organizations that provide concisely written legislative detail for objective policies.

In short, there is no current “institutional memory” either in abiding shared values or in law-writing conventions; only parliamentary form remains – a matter safely confided to powerless functionaries. In both senses of the term “institutional memory,” the current oligarchic elected legislators exacerbate and perpetuate the ills of democracy.

Egalitarian sortition

A second large group of political scientists writing about sortition are those who, dismayed that over 95% of the elective oligarchy of legislators are white males – and about half of them lawyers[xxxvii] – seek equality in the form of proportional representation for women, for minorities currently based on race, and for unspecified protean “disadvan­taged” factions. Hugo Bonin,[xxxviii] Ernest Callenbach, and Michael Phillips[xxxix] are typical of this group. All of them embrace “diversity” while being curiously blind to the fact that diversity is the opposite of equality. They seek equality for the various factions that are assembled not for their diversity, but for their adherence to a prevailing ideology. What were the unequally represented factions of a century ago? They were the factions of class: Worker, bourgeois, and landlord. Clearly the factions are assembled according to political considerations, and not according to measurable benefits for the society as a whole. For how will those who are half black and half Latino be represented? Would they not be doubly represented? How many legislators will represent the Frisian immigrants? And how many will represent the left-handed Frisians with a limp?

All such schemes that embrace sortition from egalitarian motives fail because they are based on arbitrary groupings formed by the fashionable watchwords of the day.

Thoroughgoing sortition

There is a wisdom in crowds.[xl] Indeed, the free market itself rests upon the superior en masse knowledge of individual buyers and sellers, and libertarian speculation in every field is nothing without the concept of rational spontaneous order of the many.[xli] It is a pleasant irony that the ideas most likely to secure individual freedom and prosperity – ideas confident of Thomas Jefferson’s “natural aristocracy” – have nothing to do with a supercilious disdain for the “great unwashed.”

In 2014, Google launched Project Aristotle,[xlii] led by researcher Julia Rozovsky, tasked to develop the perfect team. For over a year Rozovsky studied over a hundred groups assembled according to various standards, looking for the ideal “group norms,” or “team culture.” The greatest contrast was between Team A, a star group of exceptionally smart and efficient professionals, and Team B, a group of capable but essentially random workers. She found that Team B was more willing to “take risks” and overall performed better. These advantages were expressed in a “collective I.Q.” greater than the sum of its parts because it encouraged the “psychological safety” of each member contributing to the group.

The high time preferences and expansion of “public” property at the expense of private property result from a special case of the “tragedy of the commons”[xliii] – the situation in which one common resource is shared among multiple independent and rational individuals each seeking to maximize his own gain. Each democratic legislator maximizes his own gain at the expense of the “public” property commons only indirectly as a member of a political faction. Obviously there are cases where a legislator will take a bribe or commit a crime without reference to his political affiliation. But these are peccadillos in comparison to the systematic theft legitimized under the conjury of “the state,” advanced under the banner of a political faction. The former are ordinary crimes; the latter is the basis of the ills of oligarchically elected states – mislabeled “liberal democracies.” The effect of adopting sortive democracy as described below will be to remove this prospect of institutionalized theft by a political faction by destroying political parties altogether.

Ours is an age of envious egalitarianism. The temptation to pose as a victim of some inequality, no matter how spurious the claim and no matter how connatural the difference from other people, is sanctioned by the prevailing culture. Sortition does not confer legislative power upon anyone on the basis of any reasoned claim of “desert”; it dispenses altogether with the endless wrangling both over the “equally fair” or “ideal” candidate and his representative “rightness,” and over his “equally fair” or “reasoned” disposal of private property made public; it is in that respect “arational.”[xliv]  Sortive democracy precludes leveling egalitarianism; it guarantees true diversity through its random selection of candidates.

The great obstacle to the guarantee of randomness is the formation of the initial pool from which all subsequent lots are drawn. As described below, the federal amendment is indifferent to claims of “inequality” in the initial pool, leaving the resolution of such endless and futile discussion to the states, who are their own arbiters of voting qualifications according to the Constitution. Whether Utah insists that its candidates convert to Mormonism or New York insists that theirs hold a degree in accounting is a matter of indifference to the positive sortive effect of the Amendment.

I have cast these ideas into a workable 28th amendment. You can follow the link for details. For the description of a complete society based on these principles, called a kleristocracy, get The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Sortition.


[i] Fukuyama, Francis, The End of History and the Last Man (Free Press, January 31, 1992, ISBN 978-0029109755, 418 pages), page xi.

[ii] Madison, James, “Federalist No. 10” (Federal Congress website, last updated October 14, 2018) <> accessed October 15, 2018.

[iii] Locke, John, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chapter 7, Section 87 (The Constitution Society, published February 18, 2013, last updated April 10, 2018) <> accessed October 15, 2018.

[iv] Flanagan, Frank M., Confucius, the Analects and Western Education (Continuum International Publishing Group, December 8, 2011, ISBN 978-0826499301, 224 pages), page 100.

[v] Aristotle; Jowett, Benjamin, translator, Politics of Aristotle (Batoche Books, 1999, OCLC 229015989, 192 pages), page 93.

[vi] Madison, Ibid.

[vii] MacCallum, Spencer, “Werner K. Stiefel’s Pursuit of a Practicum of Freedom” (, published June 19, 2006) <> accessed October 16, 2018.

[viii] Nestmann, Mark, “Want to ‘Rule’ Your Own Country? Here’s how.” (, published October 5, 2016) <> accessed October 16, 2018.

[ix] Ian, “Free State Project Officially Announces 20,000 Signers – 100% Reached” (Free Keene, published February 3, 2016) <> accessed October 16, 2018.

[x] Hoppe, page 287.

[xi] Roesch, James Rutledge, “John C. Calhoun and ‘State’s Rights’” (Abbeville Institute, published August 25, 2015) <> accessed October 16, 2018. This subsection quotes are from John C. Calhoun’s Disquisition on Government and Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States.

[xii] DiLorenzo, Thomas J., “Yankee Confederates: New England Secession Movements Prior to the War Between the States,” in Gordon, David, Secession, State, and Liberty (Transaction Publishers, June 30, 1998, 978-0765809438, 344 pages), page 135-ff.

[xiii] Brown, Charles, The Northern Confederacy (Princeton University Press, October, 1915, 130 pages) pages 7-10.

[xiv] Garrison, William Lloyd, The Liberator, May, 1844.

[xv] Kennan, George F., Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy (W. W. Norton & Company, May 17, 1994, ISBN 978-0393311457, 272 pages) pages 149-150.

[xvi] Sale, Kirkpatrick, Human Scale Revisited: A New Look at the Classic Case for a Decentralist Future (Chelsea Green Publishing, May 3, 2017, ISBN 978-1603587129, 408 pages). Though Sale does not give a specific number, he does present Vermont as a paradigm, one of the 50 states of the U.S..

[xvii] Foley, John P., editor; The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson (Wentworth Press from Funk & Wagnalls 1900 original, August 26, 2016, ISBN 978-1363478736, 1080 pages), page 216, referencing his “ward republics.”

[xviii] von Mises, Ludwig, Liberalism (Liberty Fund, October 1, 2005, ISBN 978-0865975866, 203 pages), pages 109-110. “If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done.”

[xix] Poundstone, William, Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It) (Hill and Wang, February 17, 2009, ISBN 978-0809048922, 352 pages), page 175.

[xx] Ibid, page 20.

[xxi] Gangale, Thomas, From the Primaries to the Polls: How to Repair America’s Broken Presidential Nomination Process (Praeger, December 30, 2007, ISBN 978-0313348358, 280 pages).

[xxii] Headlam, James Wycliffe, Election by Lot at Athens (Forgotten Books hardcover from 1891 original, ISBN 978-9333680820, 2016, 240 pages), page 79. Online at <>.

[xxiii] Ibid, page 81.

[xxiv] Gaurier, Pierre and Masini, Patrice; “La machine qui tirait au sort les citoyens d’Athènes” (CNRS, Le journal d’Aix-Marseille Université, published May 5, 2017) <> accessed October 17, 2018. Click “Transcript” if the video will not launch.

[xxv] Headlam, page 2.

[xxvi] Mencken, H.L., A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writings (Vintage, April 12, 1982, ISBN 978-0394752099, 627 pages), page 378.

[xxvii] Dahl, Robert A., After the Revolution?: Authority in a Good Society (Yale University Press, Fastback Series, November 28, 1990, ISBN 978-0300049640, 168 pages), pages 122-123.

[xxviii] Dahl, Robert A., Democracy and Its Critics (Yale University Press, July 24, 1991, ISBN 978-0300049381, 397 pages), page 340.

[xxix] Dahl, Robert A., A Preface to Democratic Theory (University of Chicago Press, April 15, 1963, ISBN 978-0226134260, 154 pages), page 30.

[xxx] Fishkin, James S., Democracy When the People Are Thinking: Revitalizing Our Politics Through Public Deliberation (Oxford University Press, July 5, 2018, ISBN 978-0198820291, 272 pages), page 53.

[xxxi] Fishkin, James S., “Random Assemblies for Law-Making? Prospects and Limits,” (University of Wisconsin, Madison, Seminar on Real Utopias, Spring Semester, 2018, page 6) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxii] Gastil, John; Wright, Erik Olin; “Legislature by Lot” (International Observatory on Participatory Democracy [IOPD], Eighteenth Conference, Barcelona, 2018, page 13) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxiii] O’Donnell, Norah, “Are members of Congress becoming telemarketers?” (CBS 60 Minutes, published April 24, 2016) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxiv] Mack, Robert J., “The Republican ‘Vision Thing’” (The American Thinker, published October 8, 2011) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxv] Capehart, Jonathan, “Pelosi defends her infamous health care remark” (The Washington Post, published June 20, 2012) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxvi] Daniel, Justin S., “Scrutinizing Deference to Administrative Agencies” (The Regulatory Review, published November 27, 2017) <> accessed October 17, 2018.

[xxxvii] “Membership of the 117th Congress: A Profile,” Congressional Research Service (edited December 14, 2022) <> accessed April 10, 2024. Obviously the categories of lawyer and politician overlap.

[xxxviii] Bonin, Hugo, La démocratie hasardeuse: essai sur le tirage au sort en politique (Éditions XYZ, format Kindle, 19 octobre 2017, ASIN B076K4KRD1, 2217 KB, 121 pages).

[xxxix] Callenbach, Ernest; Phillips, Michael; A Citizen Legislature (Bookpeople, November 1, 1985, ISBN 978-0960432059, 90 pages). Online at <>.

[xl] Surowiecki, James, The Wisdom of Crowds (Anchor, August 16, 2005, ISBN 978-0385721707, 336 pages).

[xli] “Spontaneous order” (Mises Institute, Mises Wiki, last updated October 16, 2013) <> accessed October 18, 2018.

[xlii] Duhigg, Charles, “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team” (The New York Times Magazine, published February 25, 2016) <> accessed October 18, 2018.

[xliii] Hardin, Garrett, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” (Science, 162.3859, 1968), pages 1243-1248.

[xliv] Dowlen, Oliver, The Political Potential of Sortition: A Study of the Random Selection of Citizens for Public Office (Imprint Academic, Luck of the Draw: Sortition and Public Policy series, first edition, August 1, 2008, ISBN 978-1845401375, 264 pages).

Terry Hulsey

Terry Hulsey is a former computer programmer now retired in Guanajuato, Mexico. His two major achievements, his two daughters, enjoy successful careers in New York City. His study of sortition resulted in The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Secession, available through Shotwell Publishing and elsewhere.


  • THT says:

    An excellent article. A few terse definitions:

    Democracy – rule by the people.
    Aristorcracy -rule by the “virtuous”.
    Plutocracy – rule by the rick
    Oligarchy – rule by the few.
    kakistocracy – rule by the worst
    Meritocracy – rule by the “deserving” or the “educated”. That is, the intellectuals.
    Monarchy – rule by one.
    Anarchy – absence of hierarchy.
    Governance – rules, laws and principles that criminalize the use of force within society.
    Government – monopoly of governance rooted in qualified immunity (police), judicial immunity (judges), absolute immunity (state prosecutors), eminent domain, asset forfeiture, monopoly sanctioning, money creation.

    As the author said, it is erroneous to equate democracy with elections. Elections consist of all of the other “acracies”, with the exception of monarchy and maybe anarchy. Elections are simply “outsourcing” the rule of law to “specialized” aristocrats, oligarchs, intellectuals, plutocrats, and kakistocrats. Sortitive democracy implies that the law is so understood that even the marginal eligible citizen can administer it. That is, the law is clear, objective, consistent, and constant.

    • THT says:

      kleptocracy – Rule by the corrupt.

      As you can see, elections tend to produce at best, an aristocracy and at worst, a kakistocracy. Multi-tiered sortition, however, would produce “those that are not interested in ruling” types.

      Like in Gladiator when Marcus Aerelius asks Maximus, “Are you not grateful for this honor?”
      “With all my heart, no.” says Maximus.
      To which Aerelius replies, “That is why it MUST BE YOU!”

      The only type of voting that should exist amongst the “constintuency” should be on referendum. Yes or No. For instance, “Do you think that Texas should secede from the Yankees? Yes or No”.

  • Barbara says:

    What can individuals do to make this happen? My state legislators take money from outside the state to get elected and there is a limit to what they are willing or able to do as a result and my guess is that it’s the same in every other state legislature.

    The evil moneybags who have a death grip on every aspect of our lives censor us and take away all our other freedoms. I’ve been warned about my speech on youtube. I would like to request that Brion also post his videos on Rumble and give us a place where free speech is still allowed. We don’t have much ability at this point to get anything done and nobody represents us or cares what we want.

    Is there a way to try to get this amendment by citizen action because I think people will not only support it but we’re desperate for it?

    • THT says:

      Individuals, in the system in which we are, can probably only become educated, informed, and ready to act when opportunities present themselves. There can be no set plan. Only preparedness and spontaneity. Opportunities abound. It is a question of recognizing them and grasping them.

      The problem is, democracy has been labelled Mob Rule, which it is not nor never was. Elections and voting are Mob Rule. Sortition and selection cannot be.
      Rule by the people requires individualism. Yes, a system which minimizes the economic damage that bad men commit. It is a system that does not require seeking out the “aristocrat” to govern you.

  • R R Schoettker says:

    All systems of governance boil down in the end to selecting, by one means or another, a certain group of individuals to rule over all the others and as a result all governments are soiled with the reality of rulership. That absurd and evil concept that someone else not only has the right to, but knows how to run another individual’s life; to dictate and control his behavior and actions, better and more competently than each individual can do for themselves. The fallacious and obscene concept of rulership is at the root of all the deleterious social consequences that inevitably follow from its coercive imposition. All attempts to reform or fine tune this mistake are pointless and futile and only its ending can rectify and eliminate the continuing harm of its existence.

    “The progress from an absolute to limited monarch, from a limited monarch to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”
    —-Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” [1849]

  • JJR says:

    If you want a far better discussion of republics and democracies read the April10 , 2024 blog Republic or Democracy by Kevin Orlin Johnson . The ancient Greek words demos =people and kratos =power. In other words “people power”. We the people are very definitely mentioned in the founding documents of our country. Nowadays , when the Founders are mentioned the Federalist faction is always mentioned as THE founders with the rest being dismissed as racist hypocritical or inconsequential. It needs to be remembered that the constitution initially failed to be ratified when most states demanded it be amended to guarantee basic rights. The federalists initially resisted but had to give in . The Bill of Rights was ratified with the constitution. This Yankee is playing their usual word games. All advocates of tyranny have the same line about democracy causing tyranny.

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