Imagine being a citizen of a diverse, wealthy, democratic nation filled with eager leaders. At least once a year—in autumn, say—it is your right and civic duty to go to the polls and vote. Imagine that, in your country, this act is held to be not just an important task but an essential one; the government was designed at every level on the premise of democratic choice. If nobody were to show up to vote on Election Day, the superstructure of the country would fall apart.
2020欧洲杯最新战况So you try to be responsible. You do your best to stay informed. When Election Day arrives, you make the choices that, as far as you can discern, are wisest for your nation. Then the results come with the morning news, and your heart sinks. In one race, the candidate you were most excited about, a reformer who promised to clean up a dysfunctional system, lost to the incumbent, who had an understanding with powerful organizations and ultra-wealthy donors. Another politician, whom you voted into office last time, has failed to deliver on her promises, instead making decisions in lockstep with her party and against the polls. She was reëlected, apparently with her party’s help. There is a notion, in your country, that the democratic structure guarantees a government by the people. And yet, when the votes are tallied, you feel that the process is set up to favor interests other than the people’s own.
What corrective routes are open? One might wish for pure direct democracy—no body of elected representatives, each citizen voting on every significant decision about policies, laws, and acts abroad. But this seems like a nightmare of majoritarian tyranny and procedural madness: How is anyone supposed to haggle about specifics and go through the dialogue that shapes constrained, durable laws? Another option is to focus on influencing the organizations and business interests that seem to shape political outcomes. But that approach, with its lobbyists making backroom deals, goes against the promise of democracy. Campaign-finance reform might clean up abuses. But it would do nothing to insure that a politician who ostensibly represents you will be receptive to hearing and acting on your thoughts.
2020欧洲杯最新战况The scholar Hélène Landemore, a professor of political science at Yale, has spent much of her career trying to understand the value and meaning of democracy. In recent years, she has been part of a group of academics, many of them young, trying to solve the problem of elected democratic representation—addressing flaws in a system that is widely believed to be no problem at all. In her book “” (Princeton, 2012), she challenged the idea that leadership by the few was superior to leadership by the masses. Her forthcoming book, due out next year and currently titled “Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the 21st Century,” envisions what true government by mass leadership could look like. Her model is based on the simple idea that, if government by the people is a goal, the people ought to do the governing.
“Open democracy,” Landemore’s coinage, does not center on elections of professional politicians into representative roles. Leadership is instead determined by a method roughly akin to jury duty (not jury selection): every now and then, your number comes up, and you’re obliged to do your civic duty—in this case, to take a seat on a legislative body. For a fixed period, it is your job to work with the other people in the unit to solve problems and direct the nation. When your term is up, you leave office and go back to your normal life and work. “It’s the idea of putting randomly selected citizens into political power, or giving them some sort of political role on a consultative body or a citizens’ assembly,” said Alexander Guerrero, a professor of philosophy at Rutgers who, in 2014, published an influential arguing for random selection in place of elections—a system with some precedents in ancient Athens and Renaissance Italy which he dubbed “lottocracy.” (It’s the basis for his own forthcoming book.) In open democracy, Landemore imagines lottocratic rule combined with crowdsourced feedback channels and other measures; the goal is to shift power from the few back to the many.
To many Americans, such a system will seem viscerally alarming—the political equivalent of lending your fragile vintage convertible to the red-eyed, rager-throwing seventeen-year-old down the block. Yet many immediate objections fall away on reflection. Training and qualification: Well, what about them? Backgrounds among American legislators are varied, and members seem to learn well enough on the job. The belief that elections are a skills-proving format? This, too, cancels out, since none of the skills tested in campaigning (fund-raising, glad-handing, ground-gaming, speechmaking) are necessary in a government that fills its ranks by lottery.
Some people might worry about commitment and continuity—the idea that we are best served by a motivated group of political professionals who bring experience and relationships to bear. Historically, such concerns haven’t weighed too heavily on the electorate, which seems to have few major reservations about choosing outsiders and weirdos for important roles. If anti-institutionalism has become a poison taken as a salve, then maybe it’s the institutions that require adjustment. Landemore’s open-democratic model purports to work with the people as they are, with no reacculturation or special education required—and its admirers describe the idea as being durable, sophisticated, and able to channel populist sentiment for good.
2020欧洲杯最新战况“Democratic governments are losing perceived legitimacy all over the world,” Jane Mansbridge, a professor of political leadership and democratic values at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told me. “The beauty of open democracy is that it has a firm understanding not just of the complexity of democratic principles but of how to make those principles cohere in a way that meets people’s deepest intuitions.” She sees it as an apt response to population-sized problems, such as climate change, that seem to require solutions more pervasive and willful than professionalized leadership can muster. “Landemore is very much on the side of all the young people in the world who are saying, ‘How the heck are we going to manage this?’ ” Mansbridge said.
Landemore herself would point to the last U.S. Presidential election—a contest between two candidates so unpopular with the people as to have the lowest approval ratings in the history of American Presidential races. Roughly four in ten eligible voters did not bother to show up at the polls, and Donald Trump was elected against the will of the majority of citizens who did. Such an outcome seems to strain the premise of democracy. Could picking leaders randomly, and getting everyone involved, be worse?
I went to visit Landemore one freezing day this winter; newly hardened ice sparkled on branches stretching out over the road. “I think I lost five years of life expectancy renovating this place,” she told me, as I stepped inside the Cape Cod-style house in New Haven where she lives with her husband, Darko Jelaca, an engineer, and their two young daughters. “I don’t know whether I’d do it again.” We sat at a long dining table in a bright nook. At forty-three, Landemore is tall, with long blond hair swept back into a ponytail; she wore a checked flannel button-down, jeans, and Ugg boots. She grew up in a village in France’s flinty Normandy region, and came to Paris at eighteen, with stars in her eyes, to take a spot at the élite Henri IV prep school. She ended up at the École Normale Supérieure, which channels brilliant young people toward a distinctly Gallic strait of glamorized intellectualism. Landemore’s passion then was for philosophy, her interest having grown from a question that had haunted her teen-age years: Why do the right thing? Her parents were atheists; she’d been reared without a faith. In the absence of a god and mediating clerics, she wondered how we were compelled to make good choices.