Democratic Government… Why Don’t We Have It?

In the Sixth Century BC the Greeks of Athens created a true democratic government for a truly democratic society (by the standards of the time).  All male citizens had the right to stand for a lottery which picked which citizens for a time would serve as representatives. The citizens of Athens had already experimented with elective government and found it unsatisfactory for the exact same reason our elective government is unsatisfactory.  The only major difference is that they solved the problem some 2600 years ago…  Just goes to show that we aren’t anywhere near as “smart” as they were.  They had had their own 1% too. Who also just like today’s 1% made sure that those who got elected would protect wealth.  Made sure that the non-wealthy didn’t interfere in the primitive capitalism of the time. Mankind really hasn’t changed that much since the dawn of civilization 8,000 years ago. But what the citizens of Athens did was to establish a new political system, one that was based upon random selection of representatives.  No more elections. No “favorite sons” who would do what the wealthy wanted.  There was conflict, the wealthy didn’t give up easily. But the “numbers” were on the side of the people, and the people wanted some real “change”.  They invented “demarchy”.  Selection of representatives via a lottery.

Most people have heard the saying attributed to Mark Twain: “The Finest Government That Money Can Buy…” in an observation of the federal government. The same is also unfortunately true with state and local governments. Money supplied by “special interests” is funneled through the two major political parties into the campaigns of selected people running for public office.  Usually the individual with the most money wins.  Mainly due to being able to flood the media with campaign ads. Also, the individuals who are selected by the two major political parties tend to be people who their party considers have some chance of being elected.  Back in 2012 we watched the Republican primary, which pitted a number of candidates against each other. With the exception of Ron Paul, they all in their way represented the right wing ideology of today’s Republican Party, although in the case of Michelle Bachmann, she represented the Christian fundamentalist far right wing and the anti-tax Tea Party. The debates were interesting entertainment, but there were no really original ideas in any of them.  Apparently their ideology prevents such ideas from being considered. Ron Paul did of course use the forum for his diatribe against the Federal Reserve which he has opposed now for a number of years. In any case, no real solutions were offered for the problems with which we now have.  Apparently that is beyond their intellectual capacity.  Nor are the Democrats any better. Obamacare is a copy of the same ideas that were put into play in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor there.  It doesn’t solve the problem of excessively high cost health care, it merely spreads the costs around, leaving taxpayers on the “hook” as to how all of this is supposedly supposed to provide “affordable” health care to those who can’t afford our overpriced health insurance. Those who have been following this blog know fully well I have “solved” that problem as far as it can be solved.  The “key” of course is the de-monopolization of health care and an end to the professional government enforced monopolies that force us to pay far more for such services as would be made available if our professionals had to compete in a true free market.

The problem we face is simple enough.  The people who do get elected to public office are for the most part people who follow the party line to the letter.  None of them appear to have the ability to do anything more than repeat what someone else has already stated. Nor do they actually represent the average American.  Our “representatives” tend to be either professionals who favor the existing professional monopolies, or are mostly wealthy businessmen who favor the form of “crony capitalism” that is now ruining our economy. In any case, they all support whole heartedly the existing status quo. In effect, they are next to useless so far as it comes to actually coming up with effect answers to our problems…  We need a type of representative and senator that actually does represent all of us!  And the solution was discovered by the Greeks 2600 years ago!  Selection of representatives by lottery.  Same basic principle as we use for the selection of jurors.  An honest cross section of the American people, ranging from the poor to the rich.  All races, sexes, young to old!

We’d probably have to have minimum educational requirements.  High school graduate as the minimum level.  US citizen as a requirement. Citizen of a state another.  Of course those who wish to serve will have to put their names into the lottery.  Age requirements would be the same as we now use for the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Same for those seeking to be selected for state government positions.  We probably should still have elections for President, Governor of a state, Mayor of a city, and so forth.  However all the other positions that we normally elect people for should be done via the lottery, although the individuals who are offering their services must be qualified for the office. That’s pretty much it.  It worked for the Greeks.  It was done in Venice in more modern times.  We’ve been selecting jurors this way since the country was founded in 1789 and maybe before that.  Of course with jury duty you don’t have a choice, but I don’t think we want to do things that way when it comes to selecting our representatives and senators.

Would these people support the idea I’ve expressed in this blog?  Some of it probably, but most likely the majority would favor single payer health care similar to what we have with Medicare.  If that is what they want, that is what they will get.  Repeal of prescription laws will of course lower costs in any case, as will the other suggestions I’ve made in this blog. I believe there is majority support for changing our drug laws, and majority support for a less “aggressive” foreign policy.  The automated financial transaction tax is far simpler than anything we have now, and delivers more revenue at lower rates than any other sort of tax. Nor do I think the American people are all in love with the idea of free trade as we now do it.  Granted the price of our consumer goods would go up without free trade, but again, that is up to our representatives and senators to figure out.  Hopefully the idea of a Basic Income will get a fair consideration, as it does solve a lot of problems that we now have.

Jerome Bigge “muskegonlibertarian,”


About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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