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Political scientist Helene Landemore wants us to think a little harder about what we mean by "democracy"
In response to calls to protect democracy, some online commentators have claimed that America isn’t a democracy; it's a constitutional republic. In my mind, there is some good-faith argument in that position and some bad-faith trolling.
Helene Landemore’s response to the claim is “you’re right! And we should make it more of one.”
Landemore argues for more a more radical vision of democracy. In her recent book, she explores how randomly selected representatives of the people might serve as decision-makers for a government, like a jury might for a court. She points to examples like the Icelandic constitutional reform and the French Citizens Convention for Climate as early experiments in what is possible. She argues that these bodies were more “democratic” than the bodies created by elections, which are often unrepresentative legislatures.
Klein and Landemore also touch on one workplace-related research finding: that if you want to raise the IQ of a group, you are better off picking people to it that are a little more diverse than recruiting people that are little more individually intelligent. Perhaps this is true outside the workplace, too!