//Panel of Our Peers

Panel of Our Peers

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Our system of justice is based on the theory that we have a fundamental right to be judged by a panel of our peers versus by the king’s (or state’s) representatives. To field a panel of our peers, we use random selection (conscription). (Once upon a time, we employed this same technique to field an army of citizen-soldiers.)

What if our system of governance were similarly based? What if, at all levels, our personal and collective interests were represented not by self-interested, eminently-corruptible politicians, always seeking personal advantage, but by average citizens selected by lot?

What if there were no career politicians? No negative campaign ads? No endless electioneering? No gerrymandering. No entrenched partisanship. No shameless dissembling? No political robo-calls? No PACs? No pundits? No Donald Trumps?

What if our entire culture were constructed around the notion that every citizen, however humble in his or her abilities or achievements, was subject to conscription into public service, just as every (male) citizen was, once upon a time, subject to conscription into a common defense? Indeed, isn’t this what a democracy really is?

2018-10-24T14:27:18+00:00October 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|4 Comments


  1. Tom Fitzgerald October 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    What JFK should have said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what you can do for each other.”

  2. Barry Cook October 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Call me elitist, but a system where people with double digit IQs have the same amount of influence as those with triple digits can run into difficulties.
    Yes, the civic duty side needs strengthening. As JFK said to a divided nation, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” It didn’t unite us, as I recall – but we seem to have accomplished more with that kind of aspirational leadership.

  3. Matt Fitzgerald October 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I’d be fearful that our average citizen leaders would be easily outwitted and manipulated by the experienced “expert” leaders in other, particularly adversarial and hostile nations.

  4. Joshua F Sandeman October 3, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    It’s a nice idea, but among the many reasons our current leader is such a disaster it that he lacks the knowledge, experience, temperament, and capacity for the job. I’d rather see term limits for all public servants and publically funded elections.

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