Policy Guidelines

Sortition business methods are informed by research which is conducted on the basis of an advanced theoretical perspective on global developments. The following perspective rests on theoretical premises which grant full recognition to the dependent relation between common sense and non partisan forms of democratic practice. Although, as James Madison recognised, perfect impartiality is unattainable, the practical goal of formulating general principles of approach which are the least imperfect nevertheless remains valid and, clearly stated, can help ensure policy is conducted within non partisan parameters of discretion.

Today world events are increasingly defined by the longstanding distinctions and limitations which circumscribe the alternate possibilities suggested by and embodied in the American and European constitutions.

Company policy recognises the modern US Constitution to be the most democratic constitution in the world at the present time. This landmark achievement in political progress could nevertheless be improved upon in three areas by appropriate amendments, all of which are consistent with the democratic intentions and political philosophical tenets of common sense realism known to and almost certainly upheld by the founding fathers. This could include more fully incorporating the organisational strengths of Athenian democracy in their relation to what Alexander Hamilton termed representative democracy.

Modern representative democracy is vulnerable to deleterious factional influences, including those associated with the interests and social effects of inherited wealth. The US Constitution could be amended to favour a tax regime which more consistently upholds the self evident truth that we are all born equal by, where possible, shifting the burden of taxation from wages and profits to inherited wealth. On this basis it could incorporate the non-partisan democratic decision-making flexibility of sortition as a means of election. These amendments could thereby facilitate experimentation with radically distinct methods of macroeconomic organisation which properly require testing over time through stable forms of democratic scrutiny which are less vulnerable to conflict engendered by factional extremism. An important supplementary amendment consistent with these changes could favour an increase or transfer of public funds to finance remuneration for the work of scrutiny performed by ordinary citizens through non-partisan forms of democratic participation, as was the practice in Athenian democracy.

A weakness of the European Constitution is that its provisions generally fail to distinguish the self evident from truths which can be derived from such knowledge. It is presupposed by a legacy of philosophical misconceptions concerning the constitutional role of common sense the origins of which can be traced to the difficulties and shortcomings of the French Revolution. Britain and America built their democracies on the foundations of Magna Carta and the 1688 Bill of Rights. The constitutional tenets incorporated in these documents in turn rest upon the authentically Athenian democratic practice of trial by jury, and with this the sovereignty of common sense. French republicans inherited and have largely continued to maintain a centralised autocratic state which the monarchy had constructed to serve the requirements of feudal absolutism. The French Declaration of Rights does not include the right to trial by jury despite the fact that Thomas Jefferson had advised that this right is the only means by which a government can ultimately be held accountable to its constitution. The European Constitution does not contain the right to trial by jury largely as a result of these shortcomings and is consequently vulnerable to extremist factional influences, including those associated with totalitarian ideologies. In its present lengthy form it is probably too prescriptive and complex to accommodate non-partisan forms of democratic macroeconomic decision making flexibility, but if radically amended in ways which accord with the improved version of the US Constitution suggested above might nevertheless still provide a viable constitutional framework for political progress.

Sortition policy will be to promote dialogue and to support initiatives which can facilitate these aims, such as the holding of a
Conference on International Electoral Standards.