Thursday, July 9, 2009

Better Than Elections

"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens."
--George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 17, 1788

Contrast the above with what follows:

Congressmen Who Vote for Government-Run Health Care Agency Should Be Its First Customers
Thursday, July 09, 2009
By Matt Cover

( – Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) introduced a bill Monday that urges members of Congress who vote to create a government-run health insurance agency to give up their own comprehensive health insurance plans to join the new the public option they advocate for others.  The bill, H. Res. 615, says members of Congress who vote for a government-run health care bureau should become the inaugural customers of government-run health-care.

Kent comments:

The fact that anyone would need to propose this kind of legislation is one of many signals of the end of the Republic.  There is now and has been for some time a political class - much to the chagrin of those who love liberty.  Elected officials at the national level have bestowed upon themselves all sorts of perks, many of which do not end when their term of office ends.

My guess is that H.R. 615 will never see a vote in the House.  Far too many who serve in the higher levels of government take the phrase ‘an honor and a privilege’ to mean, “I now deserve special privileges.’  And have them they do.

For some time now I have been convinced that we would be much better off replacing elections with citizen lotteries.  It would work like this:  the names of all those age-qualified for an office, residing in the appropriate location for that office, would be put into a big hopper.  (This could make a fun TV show, by the way.)  When the time came for a given office to be filled, a name would be drawn.  If for some reason that person did not want to serve, another name would be drawn, until a willing person was found.  A person could serve at a given political ‘location’ (House, Senate, etc.) only once.  The person serving would have all reasonable expenses paid out of the public treasury – nothing more.

And that’s how we would fill our various offices.  I think the is a very high likelihood that we would have better government with this system.  It appears to me that the ability to convince people to vote for you in an election is more likely to make you an undesirable office-holder than it is to make you a good office-holder.

Of course, with a citizen lottery in place of elections, we would get some ‘losers’ in office.  But when you ponder the likes of Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi (just to name a couple), how likely is it that we would do worse with a lottery?  I would much rather trust political decisions to one of my randomly-chosen neighbors than to the kind of people who run for office, often seeking power and prestige.

People selected in a lottery who agreed to serve would be people who didn’t really want the job, but agreed to do it temporarily.  These are both excellent qualities for office-holders.  When they finished their terms in office, they would be back living under the conditions they were creating.

You might think I am joking about this, but I am not.  There are so many things to recommend this system, and almost none that count against it.  What do you think?

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