Our Politicians Would Probably Be Better If We Picked Them by Lot
As we near November, Americans hear political partisans arguing more and more intensely that if we would just vote for them and their coconspirators that would put us in the best of all possible worlds. It reminds me of Will Rogers’s quip that “if we got one-tenth of what was promised to us…there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.”
Such assertions are also backed by get-out-the-vote efforts that even include making voting mandatory, as Miles Rapaport and Janai Nelson recently argued for in the Los Angeles Times. However, despite such supercharged hyperbole and extreme proposals, there are good reasons to question whether the political world as we know it would be as good as it gets if only the right party were put in charge. And there is a simple thought experiment, proposed by Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) founder Leonard Read in his 1964 book Anything That’s Peaceful, that can help us consider the issues involved.
Read suggests considering choosing most officeholders by lot for single terms, in comparison with the current system, in which politicians and their partisans “compete to see which one can get himself in front of the most popular voter grab bag in order to stand foursquare for some people’s supposed right to other people’s income.”
At first, the idea seems shocking. After all, as Read noted, “Voting is deeply embedded in the democratic mores as a duty.” However, “any person who is conscious of our rapid drift toward the omnipotent state can hardly escape the suspicion that there may be a fault in our habitual way of lo
Article from Mises Wire