[EM] Seized by an idea - my changed views

Joe Weinstein jweins123 at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 28 15:03:59 PDT 2002

Thanks to James G., Bart I.  and maybe others.  Your comments prompt some 
further details I omitted on a first posting.

James worries about infringing on rights or anyhow desires of some citizens 
not to be bothered with full participation in decision-making, even for a 
few days every few years.  I don't want to get into arguments over whether 
government has a 'right' to draft every citizen into a bare minimum of 
equal-burden-sharing service.  Rather, I think all will likely run just fine 
if government observes a basic common-sense principle:  first recruit 
volunteers (and in this case randomly select from among them) before 
drafting the unwilling.  For instance: in providing for the USA armed 
forces, this common-sense principle was NOT followed by Lyndon Johnson's 
during the Vietnam war; but it has been since.

As Bart notes, juries are NOT perfect.  In particular (like the elected 
long-term legislatures and councils they would replace) they will often lack 
needed topical expertise.  Well, I should note that today's trial juries are 
only a rough and incomplete model for decision juries: the latter, like some 
grand juries and legislative committees, would both have the POWER to 
subpoena experts and be REQUIRED to take testimony from all interested 
public - including experts and activists.

Bart also suggests that we 'take the idea a step further-- take everything 
which does not absolutely need to be the responsibility of government and 
place it back where it belongs, on the individual citizen.'

Well, I wanted to keep it simple and focused.  Just what does and does not 
need to be government responsibility is a policy question.  Rather than 
dictate that we must change not only our decision procedures but also our 
policies, I prefer to split the question, and let an improved procedure 
address policies.  I actually agree with Bart's policy principle: I simply 
don't see why a fundamental procedural improvement has to be bundled with 
and held hostage to one or another version of what Bart's policy principle 
should mean.

Bart observes: 'I'm not sure that limiting elections to a "collegiate scale" 
is the answer either, if an example of such would be a typical homeowner's 
association.  They seem to specialize entirely in functions which are 

Well, who said that election procedures, let alone better election 
procedures, always have to be THE answer - or even any part of one?  If the 
decision-making is unnecessary, then don't do it by ANY procedure - be it 
good electoral, bad electoral, or nonelectoral!

Joe Weinstein
Long Beach CA USA

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