Print Story Too late to die young now
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Mar 13, 2018 at 08:28:26 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Against Elections", "A Passage to Europe". Links.

What I'm Reading
Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck. Short book calling for the return of sortition, where citizens are appointed to roles by lot as in jury service, as an alterative to elections. Sortition was big part of the Athenian democracy and also some of the republics of the Renaissance. Elections were seen as likely to produce an elite, and sortition was seen as essential to a true democracy.

Despite the title, Reybrouck generally advocates mixed systems with some elected bodies and some bodies coming from sortition: in particular kinds of citizens juries which can put policy ideas on the table. He cites some evidence of how this kind of body has worked usefully in recent years when tried.

Overall, interesting book, worth a read. Makes a convincing case that some kind of sortition could help our democracies

What I'm Reading 2
A Passage to Europe by Luuk Van Middelaar. History of the European Union written by a Euro-insider who was formerly an assistant to Herman Van Rompuy, from its origin in the Fifties to a few years ago,

Manages the unlikely trick of keeping the story fairly interesting. The author is generally a Euro-enthusiast, though he's not oblivious to some of the problems. He regards the history of the EU as being generally driven as a response to events, assisted by the tendency of actors in the system to use events to drive further integration.

He reveals some things that I wasn't aware of. In particular he regards the European Court as having seized on the opportunity of certain rulings to make a kind of "coup": it was originally seen as a body that only the member states would interact with, but used appeals to make itself a body where individuals in the EU could interact with.

He's also quite good on De Gaulle's attempts to exert power over the EU. I wasn't aware that for a period of many months he withdrew France from its seats in an effort to gain power by boycott. Van Middelaar regards de Gaulle as being motivated by his own power politics: rejecting UK membership when he believed a Franco-German alliance gave France influence, accepting UK membership after a rift with Germany left him in need of allies.

Overall, an informative history, worth a read.

Review, review.

Socioeconomics. How portable is management? The sad story of Maplin electronics. Agricultural revolution didn't need to inequality and hierarchy. Simulation shows inequality emerging from luck.

Pics. Cecil Osborne's Lost Murals Rediscovered. Program in C.

Sci/Tech. The Condescending Tone of [digital] Detox. Portolan charts.

Random. An island without wheels.

Articles. Are you ready to have friends with kids? via.

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Too late to die young now | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
Inequality and luck by Herring (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Mar 16, 2018 at 03:30:08 PM EST
Undoubtedly there is a lot of that. For reasons, the parable of the Hundredth Idiot from Iain M Banks' Matter appeals:
One hundred idiots make idiotic plans and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plan succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he is a genius

Then there is the Just World Fallacy - which attracts a lot of people on the right.

But then there is also inherited privilege. I would ask: how many people who went to Eton College are now claiming Jobseekers' Allowance? How many of them are living on the street? People with the right connections are always, regardless of ability, going to land on their feet.

And yes, good article because it aligns with my prejudices. Which is everyone's measure after all.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

I'm a big fan of sortition for some positions by lm (4.00 / 2) #2 Sat Mar 17, 2018 at 06:57:06 AM EST
IMO, registering to vote should put your name in the hat for certain offices, especially legislative and local offices.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Nonsense by lm (4.00 / 3) #4 Sat Mar 17, 2018 at 01:49:04 PM EST
Revoking your citizenship certainly should, but then you also need to give up the privileges of living in a given state such as being defended by the armed services, recourse to the courts, etc.

Usually this is only practically possible by moving abroad.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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Too late to die young now | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)