Notre Dame philosopher Gary Gutting meditates on a different sort of electoral college.
Why not, then, randomly choose, from the list of registered voters, a national jury that would meet for a week or two before the election? The jurors would be sequestered and listen to presentations from and debates among the candidates and their policy teams. The jury might also hear from and question experts on major policy issues. The result would be voters informed to a level most us can only hope to achieve. We would need a fairly large jury — perhaps several thousand — to properly represent the nation’s diverse views and interests. Televising the proceedings would help ensure transparency. Since the jury was randomly chosen, its vote would very likely represent the outcome of an election in which we were all well-informed voters.
Here's an interesting rebuttal.
Most importantly, the idea that the problem with society is simply one of widespread ignorance, which can be cured by a concentrated dose of factual knowledge, is an ahistorical and idealist conception. In fact, it reproduces, though in a very vulgar form, certain conceptions of utopian theorists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They believed that enlightened monarchs who were educated and guided by impartial mentors, experts and, of course, philosophers, could overcome the ills of society. In reality, the exercise of political judgment and its transformation on a mass scale is a far more involved process than Gutting appears to admit, involving complex historically formed socioeconomic circumstances and interests.
You might recognize, from the rhetorical tics, that the criticism comes from the left.  That's what makes the recognition of emergence ("complex historically formed socioeconomic circumstances and interests" implies "mutation plus selection plus adaptation.")  That's true, whether or not it's possible for the governing classes to manipulate the jury selection in the first place, or tamper with the jury before or after it's sequestered.

No comments: