- I have been trying to remember a quote that I heard that I think George Washington said. Maybe it wasn't George Washington. It went something like "those who seek power don't deserve it." I take this to mean that those who actively try to rule over others, even by trying to win an election, should not lead others, solely because they want to lead others.
- I read a book about Ancient Greece when I was growing up and I remember reading about how they practiced government in Athens. The people (adult males) elected some 500 representatives and of those, only 50 were serving at a time. Those 50 were chosen at random by lots
- I was taking a class called "Quantity Takeoffs" here at BYU, and my professor was very adamant in his opposition toward the current state of the government (this was right after President Obama's inauguration, and my professor was a staunch Republican). I remember him saying that he figures Congress would be a "heck of a lot better off" if everyone was forced to resign and they chose random people from the phone book to be in Congress.
Maybe it would be better to have a committee of sorts search the population for the personality traits, leadership abilities, moral conviction, and the intellectual ability that would make a great leader...but that could lead to societies described in books like The Giver or 1984. It could become easily corruptible.
Perhaps we could remove the human element entirely from the election process and impartially choose people at random to lead us, as if from a phone book, or maybe a computer program to systematically run through backgrounds of people to find good candidates and then randomly choose some.
I think there are some instances where this is already the case. For instance, random citizens are selected to serve on juries. They are empowered to make life and death decisions. There are of course people who screen them to make sure that they are able to do so without any prejudices, but the jurors are a random mix of people who didn't try to get on the jury.
I'm not supposing that we disband congress and have 100 random people serve in the Senate and 435 more random people serving in the House. That would be a total nightmare. I would say that it would be interesting to see how a city government or even a state government would run if there were two houses, one elected and one selected. Those members of the selected house would be only serve for maybe a year, and then a new group would be selected. The selected house could act as a "jury" for the elected government. And if some selected representative does an outstanding job, he or she can be elected, thus making sure that money does not need to be required to serve in government, with the added benefit of having an accurate representation of the community serving in at least one house of government.
Does anyone know if this has been tried in some form, and if so, how it turned out?