Why "Sortition" Offers an Alternative to Our Corrupt Ruling Class
As the lockdowns have shown, even well-established democracies are unable to mobilize the judicial and parliamentary tools to ward off the onslaught on liberty. Without means of legal resistance, people have had to accept that the basis of their livelihood has been taken away or at least severely damaged.
Democracy by popular vote provided no guarantee against tyranny. Given the failure of the usual system of democracy by competitive election, it might be time to give "demarchy" a try. There's no reason to assume that it would be any worse than what we have now.
Under a system of demarchy, also called sortition, the people's representatives on the legislative body are selected through lot. Concerning the method, only sortition requires a random mechanism to select a representative sample of the population to serve as the lawgivers.
The problems with the present system of democracy through the election of professional politicians who represent political parties are well known and documented.
As I've explained here at mises.org in the past, this method has a long history.
Critics of demarchy claim that a parliament whose members are selected by chance has less expertise than an elected parliament and that this would increase the power of the bureaucracy. The truth, however, is that the specific knowledge that is now present in the assemblies is in knowing how to gain and to exert power. Nonpolitical competence is missing. Even more so, the current system of party politics has led to a huge bureaucracy and a massive buildup of the power of the state apparatus. The political parties and the bureaucracy cooperate to maximize their power, which they achieve by having more state, not less.
With the public's support to change the structure of the party democracy, the first step would be to complement the present system with an additional chamber. In this chamber—a kind of senate or upper house—members chosen by lot would possess veto rights over the decisions taken by the parliament (Congress) and government (the presidency) including the judiciary (Supreme Court). Such a "fourth power" would be the "voice of the people." Although it is not yet a government and not yet the lawgiver, the senate composed of members chosen by lot has the right to stop the encroachments of government and of the state bureaucracy because of the veto power it holds.
The next step would be to create a general assembly to serve as the prime lawgiving body. The assembly must be large enough to represent the people. For that purpose, it must comprise persons who are selected randomly from among the constituency. Establishing the general assembly requires a reform of the election laws. In order to achieve this, libertarians must get a majority in the existing parliament (Congress). The final step in the reform of the state structure would be to add a supervisory body and an executive branch of the assembly.