Against this background democratic progress is best assured by retracing the decisive, American steps taken to advance the principle of government by consent. Using the common sense realist approach upheld by Jefferson it is possible to develop a conception of democracy which meets radical aspirations but is unimpeded by the constricting circumstances of the period, when it was necessary to maintain an alliance with aristocratic forces. Following French revolutionary defeat the task of superseding this alliance had still to be deferred, even by the American Antimasonic Party, whose activists later became in large part the militant core of Lincoln's Republican Party. For these reasons the US constitution has evolved upon a more conservative path of development than had been envisaged by American radicalism. The evolution of parties along this path was affected by its limitations concerning the influence of factions. Jefferson regarded parties as exerting a sometimes positive but also potentially harmful influence. Famously he stated that if he had to go to heaven with a party he would rather not go. Constrained by relatively narrow parameters, conflict between radicalism and conservatism has tended to polarise. As in Jefferson's life, the self evident truths of common sense comprise the best point of departure to resolve these difficulties. This formulation is not relativist, since these truths have always existed in human society, even if unexpressed. If American revolutionary radicalism had been able to formulate the basic principles of government by consent without the constraints of its time the indications are they would have been presented essentially as follows.

First, that all persons have an equal right to life, and to self defence; second, freedom of speech and to make collective decisions; third, collective decisions if and when necessary should be taken by majority vote held without fear of coercion, that is, by secret ballot; fourth, that where for practical purposes it is necessary to delegate persons to act on behalf of the community they should be chosen by lot, excepting where special skills are indispensably necessary, in which case they can be chosen by majority vote; fifth, that accordingly the tasks of democratic decision making should be tackled intelligently by as many persons as possible and should be publicly funded to this purpose; sixth, that the earth belongs to the living, and so constitutional priorities should be subject to long term review and inheritance tax should be understood as the most socially just way to fund government spending.

These principles are universal in application and can be grasped by anybody honestly willing to use their common sense because they express the general standpoint of the human race in the application of reason to the organisation of political affairs based on consent and equality. They have been realised to a great extent in the American constitution. The shortfall in their application may be explained, as shown, by historical limitations, including the failure of reform in Europe to achieve stable and supportive advance. Democratic reforms to improve political participation can best succeed while preserving the integrity of the electoral process if they conform to and help further realise these basic truths of common sense in regard to political affairs. Three related principles of socio-political organisation therefore emerge as central to this project: sortition, inheritance tax, and payment of ordinary citizens to take part in political work.

These constitutional principles were not fully developed in the American revolution due to the limitations of the time. That is why the aristocratic principle remains artificially dominant in representative democracy. Notwithstanding the universal existence of slavery in the ancient world, the more developed application of the principle of sortition in Athenian elections along with payment for citizen political participation ensured the poor had substantial political influence. By such means the problem of factional polarisation in the modern era between the various aristocracies of inherited wealth and the proletariat that in large part gave rise to radical extremism could be better moderated. A more developed, participatory democracy of this kind could provide a more flexible basis upon which radically distinct macroeconomic systems can be tested over time without the use of autocratic powers which has characterised most socialist forms of government. Jefferson's nineteen-year cycle for constitutional review seems appropriate in this regard. A further consideration is the use of random selection in election and recruitment procedures for state and industrial institutions, including both trade unions and public companies. Self evidently this can help to forestall fifth column practices as well as further democratising industrial relations. Academic institutions may also benefit from such practices, more especially in the social sciences. In this way these reforms can serve as a means by which conflict between radicalism and conservatism can evolve on a still adversarial but less antagonistic and polarised foundation while ensuring greater political participation and also preserving the integrity of the democratic process. Without such reforms voter turnout within present parameters of electoral process may fall to unacceptably low levels.

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