No Democracy without Sortition :
the cause of the causes of our powerlessness
is that we let the political professionals draw up
and modify the Constitution

First, here is the text (complete) of the 15 minutes synthesis
that I had prepared for the TEDx conference (on March 22nd, 2012 in Paris) :

pdf file:

PowerPoint ppt file:

Mp3 file:

L'homme qui parle anglais ci-dessus s'appelle Michael. Il habite non loin de chez moi. Il m'aide énormément à m'exprimer en anglais, à l'écrit et à l'oral, ici et ailleurs (et donc à semer nos graines d'idées plus loin, à travers le monde). Je dois lui dire ma profonde reconnaissance. Quand il parle anglais, c'est de la musique. Il est le plus gentil des hommes. Merci Michael.

I also prepared my contribution for the Sortition Workshop in Trinity College of Dublin (Ireland, 12 October 2012):

Bilingual pdf file:

Étienne Chouard
Marseille, France

Lottery workshop at Trinity College of Dublin
11-12 October 2012


This workshop, which was about Sortition as a democratic Institution, was based on an initial text by Peter stone, Gil Delannoi and Oliver Dowlen:

In order to be able to make an oral commentary on the initial text, I had to prepare the following written document. I hope that you find it useful.

Thank you for your kind invitation and for your attention.

Étienne Chouard,
31 October 2012,

PS: I don’t know if you wanted this translated but it is something I had already corrected.

Comments on Peter Stone’s report (Dublin)

On Part 1
(benefits of drawing by lots in politics)

I have, myself, drawn up a list which recaps on the vices of elections and the virtues of sortition (Cf. Annexes). I have found most of these virtues in your report, and I shall therefore not insist on our numerous points of agreement.

I should nevertheless like to highlight some important, but frequently neglected points:

1. The equalizing virtue of sortition (the rulers of today are the ruled over of tomorrow) must be defended not only for itself but for its main consequence i.e. rulers (producers of the law) who know that they will soon become ruled over (subject to the laws in question) will naturally and mechanically take decisions that are in accordance with the public interest (because they know that they will be personally impacted), whereas elections, on the contrary, incite elected representatives to draw up laws that are all the more severe and contrary to the public interest since they know that they themselves will be sheltered from them (this always happens when they are the people who draw up the constitution).

2. This same virtue works the other way around (the ruled over of today will be the rulers of tomorrow) and has another important and pedagogical knock-on effect that is well expressed by de Tocqueville:

« The jury is above all a political institution.


By the jury I mean a certain number of citizens drawn by lot, and invested with a temporary right of judging.


The jury, and more especially the jury in civil cases, serves to communicate the spirit of the judges to the minds of all the citizens; and this spirit, with the habits which attend it, is the soundest preparation for a free people.

It imbues all classes with a respect for the thing judged, and with the notion of right. If these two elements be removed, the love of independence is reduced to a mere destructive passion.

It teaches men to practice equity, every man learns to judge his neighbor as he would himself be judged.


The jury teaches every man not to recoil before the responsibility of his own actions, and impresses him with that manly confidence without which political virtue cannot exist.

It invests each citizen with a kind of magistracy, it makes them all feel the duties which they are bound to discharge towards society, and the part which they take in the Government. By obliging men to turn their attention to affairs which are not exclusively their own, it rubs off that individual egotism which is the rust of society.

The jury contributes most powerfully to form the judgment and to increase the natural intelligence of a people, and this is, in my opinion, its greatest advantage. It may be regarded as a gratuitous public school ever open, in which every juror learns to exercise his rights, enters into daily communication with the most learned and enlightened members of the upper classes, and becomes practically acquainted with the laws of his country, which are brought within the reach of his capacity by the efforts of the bar, the advice of the judge, and even by the passions of the parties.


I do not know whether the jury is useful to those who are in litigation; but I am certain it is highly beneficial to those who decide the litigation; and I look upon it as one of the most efficacious means for the education of the people which society can employ.

What I have hitherto said applies to all nations »

(Source: Tocqueville.)

3. The second virtue that we should highlight:

Sortition (just like real democracy) is based on a healthy and constructive MISTRUST of any power: it does NOT assume the virtue of the people who are designated (unlike election), and this powerful feature of REALISM explains the multitude of finicky and permanent CONTROLS that necessarily go with sortition.

This makes the drawing by lots a much safer procedure for those who are being governed, and by definition, a real (sustainable) guarantee against the abuse of power.

It should also be noted that this fact makes sortition (with its permanent controls) a much better procedure for assigning positions in large political communities.

4. If I only had 5 minutes to talk about the political benefits of sortition, I would particularly insist on a very striking (and totally misunderstood) feature, if compared to elections:

In Athens, during the 200 years of sortition, the RICH people NEVER conducted the affairs (rich people were never numerous enough to take decisions at the Assembly), while, during the 200 years of elections, the rich have ALWAYS been the ones who govern (rich people can easily help their servants to capture the political power by financing their electoral campaigns; and this plutocratic regime was kindly called "capitalism"), as if the election always gave power to the rich.

Please, note this.

I believe this systemic delinking (uncoupling) of economic power and political power (by putting political power out of reach of the rich) is the most important effect of the drawing by lots and the inseparable characteristic of a democracy worthy of the name.

On part 2
(HOW to integrate drawing by lot in the institutions)

I see several ways of using sortition in politics, and it is important to distinguish these different uses to avoid confusion, because the arguments differ from one case to another:

1. Full direct democracy, like the Athenian one: representatives chosen by drawing by lots are weakened, so that representatives remain servants and can never become masters. Sortition is then used by the people to protect their own power at the assembly against their representatives.

2. Representative government improved by integrating citizens in the exercise of power:

• In addition to the House of Parties, composed of professional representatives like today, a second Legislative Chamber could be chosen at random: it would be called the "House of Citizens' => composed of amateurs, it would reflect the nation.

• All established bodies could be placed under the daily supervision of several Control Chambers, all drawn by lot.

• A "House of Referendum", chosen at random, could examine all suggestions, even the individual ones, to choose those to be submitted to (the very essential) popular initiative referendum.

3. But (by far) the most important use of drawing by lot is that of the Constituent Assembly: indeed, whatever the modality chosen to integrate sortition in our institutions (drawing by lot all officials so that all citizens can be legislators, drawing by lot of one of the two legislative chambers, drawing by lot of the different Control Chambers...), NONE of these reforms, absolutely none, will ever be implemented by an elected Constituent Assembly. EVER!

Any Constituent Assembly elected among professional politicians will always - by definition and inevitably be poisoned by the most serious conflicts of interest.

Elected officials will never be able to institute (against themselves) the controls that we all need.

It is therefore of the utmost importance (and the motivation of my trip here is to come and talk about it), it is completely strategic, to place the drawing by lots of the Constituent Assembly at the forefront of our priorities.

If not, we are condemned to sterile chatter of a people rendered powerless by a false constitution, because we do not attack the problem at its root, because we gesticulate about consequences without identifying the cause of causes, while politicians continue to establish the finest workings of the plutocracy which guarantees their antisocial privilege.

Thank you for your kind invitation and for your attention.

Étienne Chouard


The election is THE CAUSE which allows merchants to colonize the City

Many of us complain about the colonization of our imagination by merchants (that is to say, ultimately, by the bankers, that are always becoming the richest merchants): gradually, merchants succeed in making us believe that yarn that "everything that has a price has a value and that everything that has no price has no value" while, on the contrary, all that really matters (love, quietude, happiness, peace, passion, fulfillment, joy, honour ...) does not have a price, and what has a price often has little or no real value.

But the nuclear heart of this colonization of our imagination (and of our institutions) by merchants, is the election because it is the election that allows the rich merchants to help the elected to be elected in order to make the elected DEPENDENT on the rich, INDEBTED so to speak.

Somehow, ELECTION enables the generalization in the political arena SERVITUDE BY DEBT, developed by the money merchants to force all people to work for them.

Through the political mechanism of the election, the merchants place their merchant priests throughout the social body in a position to influence public choices to their advantage.

THE WEAK LINK of this colonization of politics by economics, IS THE ELECTION!

And this Achilles' heel of the rich is within the reach of the poor, but only if the poor stop being so proud, thinking stupidly (and denial of all the contrary facts that prove their error) that their collective will (though easily deceived) is better than chance (yet incorruptible) in the designation of political servants of the city.

It would be easy and judicious to replace election by chance, the usual gamemaster in nature, and —experience proves— always respectful of equilibrium and the survival of all.

THINGS ARE WELL DONE BY CHANCE, we forget it because of our pretentiousness: chance is a probability that is not subject to our control (itself vulnerable to bullshit, easy to deceive); CHANCE IS INCORRUPTIBLE.

The ELECTION, IDEALISM supposing TRUST (before abandoning the idea of governing)-vs- SORTITION, REALISM supposing MISTRUST (before organizing to govern)

It is important to understand a paradox (or a contradiction): contrary to appearances, the election is based on trust, while the sortition is based on mistrust. The election is based on an ideal (in my opinion perfectly inaccessible and masking a fraud) that an elected official would be righteous by the mere fact of being elected and would remain durably due to the same election (also intended to enable a sanction by non-reelection), the people being supposed to be able to choose their masters... which is extravagant, a true myth, completely unrealistic.

Whereas, on the contrary, the Athenians, very pragmatic, knew themselves well, distrusted each other and built institutions acknowledging the reality of their imperfections and based on distrust, on permanent control of the representatives who were the masters of nobody; institutions relying on the staging of conflicts, on contradictory arguments, during public debates, in which no decision could be taken without all having been forced to listen and publicly refute the arguments of the worst opponents.

The election is a political abdication, renunciation, a gesture of trust before consenting to obey for several years; it is a political organization that only leaves to people the hopeless right to choose their masters.

Whereas sortition is at the heart of a political organization which embodies a desire of all men to keep political power and to appoint only servile executors to represent them.

It must not be forgotten that in a democracy, it is not the people who have been drawn by lot that are in power (they used to be called "magistrates"): it is the Assembly of People in body that exercises full political power. The people drawn by lots only serve to perform the tasks that the Assembly can not perform itself: e.g., the preparation and publication of the agenda, the execution of the decisions of the Assembly, the physical organization of the draw, the accountability, etc.

7 vices of the election and 11 virtues of sortition, let's recap:


1. The election leads to lying: first to come to power and secondly to keep it, because candidates can not be elected, and re-elected, unless their image is good: it mechanically leads to lying, about the future and the past.

2. Election leads to corruption: “sponsored” politicians must inevitably "return the favor" to their sponsors, those who have financed their election campaign: so, corruption is inevitable, by the very existence of the campaign, the cost of which is inaccessible to the candidate alone. The system of election therefore allows, and even imposes, the corruption of politicians (which probably suits some wealthy economic actors).

Thanks to the principle of ruinous campaigns, our representatives are for sale (and our freedoms along with it).

3. The election encourages the grouping into leagues and submits political action to clans and especially to their leaders, with its procession of turpitudes linked to the logic of hierarchical organizations and the ultra priority (critical) the quest for power.

Political parties impose their candidates, which makes our choices artificial. Because of the participation of political groups in electoral competition (unfair competition), the election deprives the most isolated individuals of any chance to participate in government of the City and this fosters the lack of political interest (or even rejection) by the citizens.

4. The election delegates… and therefore exempts (keep away) citizens from daily political activity and promotes the formation of castes of elected people, political professionals for life, moving away from their constituents to finally no longer represent anyone but themselves, turning the protection promised by the election into a political muzzle.

5. The election only ensures the legitimacy of elected people without any guarantee of distributive justice in the distribution of charges: an Assembly of officials and doctors can not understand the common good as would an Assembly drawn by lot.

An elected Assembly is never representative.

6. Paradoxically, the election stifles resistance against the abuse of power: it reduces our precious freedom of speech to an episodic vote every five years, vote perverted by a fake bipartism offering only false choices. The advice of "useful vote" is a political gag.

7. The election selects by definition those who seem "the best", some citizen deemed to be superior to the voters, and thereby forfeits the principle of equality (yet posted everywhere, falsely): by construction, the election designates more leaders who look for power (dominators) instead of representatives who accept power (mediators, listening and serving the citizens).

The election is deeply aristocratic, not democratic at all. The term "democratic election" is an oxymoron (a blend of contradictory words).

A major disadvantage of this elite, it is this feeling of power that develops in the elected representatives to the point where they finally take any liberties.

IN FACT, for 200 years (since the early 19th century), the election has always given political power to the rich and only to them, never to the others: the election of political representatives enables COUPLING political power and economic power, in a lasting manner, gradually creating irresponsible and unaccountable monsters writing the laws for themselves and appropriating the monopoly of public power for private gain.


1. The procedure of the draw is fair and impartial: it ensures distributive justice (logical consequence of the principle of political equality stated as central goal of democracy).

2. The draw prevents corruption (it even deters corrupters: it is impossible and unnecessary to cheat, it avoids intrigues): leaving no room for any will, neither for the one nor the other, it gives no chance to cheating or manipulation of of people’s will.

3. The draw never creates rancour: no vanity to have been chosen, no resentment at not having been chosen: it has virtues to pacify the City, systemically.

4. All participants, representatives and represented are really made equal.

5. Chance, reproducing rarely twice the same choice, naturally leads to the rotation of responsibilities and mechanically prevents the formation of a politician class always tending to pride themselves on their condition and always seeking to enjoy privileges.

The major protective principle is this: the governors are more respectful of the governed when they know with certainty that they will soon return themselves to the ordinary condition of the governed.

6. The draw is easy, fast and economical.

7. Chance and large numbers naturally and mechanically, make for a representative sample. Nothing better than the draw to compose an Assembly that looks exactly like the people who want to be represented. No need for quotas, no risk of intrigues.

8. Knowing that he may be drawn encourages every citizen to learn and to participate in public controversy: it is a pedagogical way of intellectual emancipation.

9. Having been drawn pushes citizens to forget their personal preoccupations and to be concerned about the common world; their designation and the public eyes placed upon them encourage them to learn and to develop skills through their work, just as it does for politicians: it is a pedagogical way towards citizen responsability, all citizens.

10. To prefer the drawing by lots is to refuse giving up power of direct suffrage to the Assembly, and it is to attribute the highest importance to effective controls of all representatives: so, the draw accompanied by drastic controls at all levels, is better suited than the election (which assumes that voters are familiar with elected officials and their daily actions) to large entities. (While we usually hear the opposite.)

11. IN FACT, for 200 years of drawing by lots every day (the fifth and fourth century before JC in Athens), the rich NEVER governed, and the poor always did. (The rich lived very comfortably, do not worry, but they could not just grab without limitation, for want of political control.)

This is essential: mechanically, inevitably, irresistibly, the draw uncouples political and economic power. This is a very clever way to weaken the powers in order to prevent abuse.

It is therefore tempting to think that it is the election of politicians who made "capitalism" possible (we should better say "scumism"), and that the draw would deprive the capitalists of their principal tool of domination.

Étienne Chouard

Tocqueville, « Democracy in America »,
Chapter XVI: Causes Mitigating Tyranny in the United States –
Part II Trial by Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution

Since I have been led by my subject to recur to the administration of justice in the United States, I will not pass over this point without adverting to the institution of the jury.

Trial by jury may be considered in two separate points of view, as a judicial and as a political institution.

If it entered into my present purpose to inquire how far trial by jury (more especially in civil cases) contributes to insure the best administration of justice, I admit that its utility might be contested.

As the jury was first introduced at a time when society was in an uncivilized state, and when courts of justice were merely called upon to decide on the evidence of facts, it is not an easy task to adapt it to the wants of a highly civilized community when the mutual relations of men are multiplied to a surprising extent, and have assumed the enlightened and intellectual character of the age.*

[*The investigation of trial by jury as a judicial institution, and the appreciation of its effects in the United States, together with the advantages the Americans have derived from it, would suffice to form a book, and a book upon a very useful and curious subject.
The State of Louisiana would in particular afford the curious phenomenon of a French and English legislation, as well as a French and English population, which are gradually combining with each other. See the “Digeste des Lois de la Louisiane,” in two volumes; and the “Traite sur les Regles des Actions civiles,” printed in French and English at New Orleans in 1830.]

My present object is to consider the jury as a political institution, and any other course would divert me from my subject.

Of trial by jury, considered as a judicial institution, I shall here say but very few words. When the English adopted trial by jury they were a semi-barbarous people; they are become, in course of time, one of the most enlightened nations of the earth; and their attachment to this institution seems to have increased with their increasing cultivation. They soon spread beyond their insular boundaries to every corner of the habitable globe; some have formed colonies, others independent states; the mother-country has maintained its monarchical constitution; many of its offspring have founded powerful republics; but wherever the English have been they have boasted of the privilege of trial by jury.* They have established it, or hastened to re-establish it, in all their settlements.

A judicial institution which obtains the suffrages of a great people for so long a series of ages, which is zealously renewed at every epoch of civilization, in all the climates of the earth and under every form of human government, cannot be contrary to the spirit of justice.**

[*All the English and American jurists are unanimous upon this head. Mr. Story, judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, speaks, in his “Treatise on the Federal Constitution,” of the advantages of trial by jury in civil cases: – “ The inestimable privilege of a trial by jury in civil cases -a privilege scarcely inferior to that in criminal cases, which is counted by all persons to be essential to political and civil liberty… .” (Story, book iii., chap. viii.)

**If it were our province to point out the utility of the jury as a judicial institution in this place, much might be said, and the following arguments might be brought forward amongst others: –

By introducing the jury into the business of the courts you are enabled to diminish the number of judges, which is a very great advantage. When judges are very numerous, death is perpetually thinning the ranks of the judicial functionaries, and laying places vacant for newcomers. The ambition of the magistrates is therefore continually excited, and they are naturally made dependent upon the will of the majority, or the individual who fills up the vacant appointments; the officers of the court then rise like the officers of an army.

This state of things is entirely contrary to the sound administration of justice, and to the intentions of the legislator. The office of a judge is made inalienable in order that he may remain independent: but of what advantage is it that his independence should be protected if he be tempted to sacrifice it of his own accord? When judges are very numerous many of them must necessarily be incapable of performing their important duties, for a great magistrate is a man of no common powers; and I am inclined to believe that a halfenlightened tribunal is the worst of all instruments for attaining those objects which it is the purpose of courts of justice to accomplish.

For my own part, I had rather submit the decision of a case to ignorant jurors directed by a skilful judge than to judges a majority of whom are imperfectly acquainted with jurisprudence and with the laws.]

I turn, however, from this part of the subject. To look upon the jury as a mere judicial institution is to confine our attention to a very narrow view of it; for however great its influence may be upon the decisions of the law courts, that influence is very subordinate to the powerful effects which it produces on the destinies of the community at large.

The jury is above all a political institution, and it must be regarded in this light in order to be duly appreciated.

By the jury I mean a certain number of citizens drawn by lot, and invested with a temporary right of judging.

Trial by jury, as applied to the repression of crime, appears to me to introduce an eminently republican element into the government upon the following grounds:-

The institution of the jury may be aristocratic or democratic, according to the class of society from which the jurors are selected; but it always preserves its republican character, inasmuch as it places the real direction of society in the hands of the governed, or of a portion of the governed, instead of leaving it under the authority of the Government.

Force is never more than a transient element of success; and after force comes the notion of right. A government which should only be able to crush its enemies upon a field of battle would very soon be destroyed. The true sanction of political laws is to be found in penal legislation, and if that sanction be wanting the law will sooner or later lose its cogency. He who punishes infractions of the law is therefore the real master of society. Now the institution of the jury raises the people itself, or at least a class of citizens, to the bench of judicial authority. The institution of the jury consequently invests the people, or that class of citizens, with the direction of society.*

[*An important remark must, however, be made. Trial by jury does unquestionably invest the people with a general control over the actions of citizens, but it does not furnish means of exercising this control in all cases, or with an absolute authority. When an absolute monarch has the right of trying offences by his representatives, the fate of the prisoner is, as it were, decided beforehand. But even if the people were predisposed to convict, the composition and the non-responsibility of the jury would still afford some chances favorable to the protection of innocence.]

In England the jury is returned from the aristocratic portion of the nation;** the aristocracy makes the laws, applies the laws, and punishes all infractions of the laws; everything is established upon a consistent footing, and England may with truth be said to constitute an aristocratic republic.

[**This may be true to some extent of special juries, but not of common juries. The author seems not to have been aware that the qualifications of jurors in England vary exceedingly.]

In the United States the same system is applied to the whole people. Every American citizen is qualified to be an elector, a juror, and is eligible to office.* The system of the jury, as it is understood in America, appears to me to be as direct and as extreme a consequence of the sovereignty of the people as universal suffrage. These institutions are two instruments of equal power, which contribute to the supremacy of the majority.

All the sovereigns who have chosen to govern by their own authority, and to direct society instead of obeying its directions, have destroyed or enfeebled the institution of the jury. The monarchs of the House of Tudor sent to prison jurors who refused to convict, and Napoleon caused them to be returned by his agents.

However clear most of these truths may seem to be, they do not command universal assent, and in France, at least, the institution of trial by jury is still very imperfectly understood. If the question arises as to the proper qualification of jurors, it is confined to a discussion of the intelligence and knowledge of the citizens who may be returned, as if the jury was merely a judicial institution. This appears to me to be the least part of the subject. The jury is pre-eminently a political institution; it must be regarded as one form of the sovereignty of the people; when that sovereignty is repudiated, it must be rejected, or it must be adapted to the laws by which that sovereignty is established. The jury is that portion of the nation to which the execution of the laws is entrusted, as the Houses of Parliament constitute that part of the nation which makes the laws; and in order that society may be governed with consistency and uniformity, the list of citizens qualified to serve on juries must increase and diminish with the list of electors. This I hold to be the point of view most worthy of the attention of the legislator, and all that remains is merely accessory.

I am so entirely convinced that the jury is pre-eminently a political institution that I still consider it in this light when it is applied in civil causes.

Laws are always unstable unless they are founded upon the manners of a nation; manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.

When the jury is reserved for criminal offences, the people only witnesses its occasional action in certain particular cases; the ordinary course of life goes on without its interference, and it is considered as an instrument, but not as the only instrument, of obtaining justice.

This is true a fortiori when the jury is only applied to certain criminal causes.

When, on the contrary, the influence of the jury is extended to civil causes, its application is constantly palpable; it affects all the interests of the community; everyone cooperates in its work: it thus penetrates into all the usages of life, it fashions the human mind to its peculiar forms, and is gradually associated with the idea of justice itself.

The institution of the jury, if confined to criminal causes, is always in danger, but when once it is introduced into civil proceedings it defies the aggressions of time and of man. If it had been as easy to remove the jury from the manners as from the laws of England, it would have perished under Henry VIII, and Elizabeth, and the civil jury did in reality, at that period, save the liberties of the country.

In whatever manner the jury be applied, it cannot fail to exercise a powerful influence upon the national character; but this influence is prodigiously increased when it is introduced into civil causes.

The jury, and more especially the jury in civil cases, serves to communicate the spirit of the judges to the minds of all the citizens; and this spirit, with the habits which attend it, is the soundest preparation for a free people.

It imbues all classes with a respect for the thing judged, and with the notion of right. If these two elements be removed, the love of independence is reduced to a mere destructive passion.

It teaches men to practice equity, every man learns to judge his neighbor as he would himself be judged; and this is especially true of the jury in civil causes, for, whilst the number of persons who have reason to apprehend a criminal prosecution is small, every one is liable to have a civil action brought against him.

The jury teaches every man not to recoil before the responsibility of his own actions, and impresses him with that manly confidence without which political virtue cannot exist.

It invests each citizen with a kind of magistracy, it makes them all feel the duties which they are bound to discharge towards society, and the part which they take in the Government. By obliging men to turn their attention to affairs which are not exclusively their own, it rubs off that individual egotism which is the rust of society.

The jury contributes most powerfully to form the judgment and to increase the natural intelligence of a people, and this is, in my opinion, its greatest advantage. It may be regarded as a gratuitous public school ever open, in which every juror learns to exercise his rights, enters into daily communication with the most learned and enlightened members of the upper classes, and becomes practically acquainted with the laws of his country, which are brought within the reach of his capacity by the efforts of the bar, the advice of the judge, and even by the passions of the parties. I think that the practical intelligence and political good sense of the Americans are mainly attributable to the long use which they have made of the jury in civil causes.

I do not know whether the jury is useful to those who are in litigation; but I am certain it is highly beneficial to those who decide the litigation; and I look upon it as one of the most efficacious means for the education of the people which society can employ.

What I have hitherto said applies to all nations, but the remark I am now about to make is peculiar to the Americans and to democratic peoples.

I have already observed that in democracies the members of the legal profession and the magistrates constitute the only aristocratic body which can check the irregularities of the people. This aristocracy is invested with no physical power, but it exercises its conservative influence upon the minds of men, and the most abundant source of its authority is the institution of the civil jury.

In criminal causes, when society is armed against a single individual, the jury is apt to look upon the judge as the passive instrument of social power, and to mistrust his advice. Moreover, criminal causes are entirely founded upon the evidence of facts which common sense can readily appreciate; upon this ground the judge and the jury are equal.

Such, however, is not the case in civil causes; then the judge appears as a disinterested arbiter between the conflicting passions of the parties. The jurors look up to him with confidence and listen to him with respect, for in this instance their intelligence is completely under the control of his learning.

It is the judge who sums up the various arguments with which their memory has been wearied out, and who guides them through the devious course of the proceedings; he points their attention to the exact question of fact which they are called upon to solve, and he puts the answer to the question of law into their mouths. His influence upon their verdict is almost unlimited.

If I am called upon to explain why I am but little moved by the arguments derived from the ignorance of jurors in civil causes.

I reply, that in these proceedings, whenever the question to be solved is not a mere question of fact, the jury has only the semblance of a judicial body.

The jury sanctions the decision of the judge, they by the authority of society which they represent, and he by that of reason and of law.*

In England and in America the judges exercise an influence upon criminal trials which the French judges have never possessed. The reason of this difference may easily be discovered; the English and American magistrates establish their authority in civil causes, and only transfer it afterwards to tribunals of another kind, where that authority was not acquired.

In some cases (and they are frequently the most important ones) the American judges have the right of deciding causes alone.** Upon these occasions they are accidentally placed in the position which the French judges habitually occupy, but they are invested with far more power than the latter; they are still surrounded by the reminiscence of the jury, and their judgment has almost as much authority as the voice of the community at large, represented by that institution.

Their influence extends beyond the limits of the courts; in the recreations of private life as well as in the turmoil of public business, abroad and in the legislative assemblies, the American judge is constantly surrounded by men who are accustomed to regard his intelligence as superior to their own, and after having exercised his power in the decision of causes, he continues to influence the habits of thought and the characters of the individuals who took a part in his judgment.

The jury, then, which seems to restrict the rights of magistracy, does in reality consolidate its power, and in no country are the judges so powerful as there, where the people partakes their privileges.

It is more especially by means of the jury in civil causes that the American magistrates imbue all classes of society with the spirit of their profession.

Thus the jury, which is the most energetic means of making the people rule, is also the most efficacious means of teaching it to rule well.

Source : p 310 s.

* * * * *

No Democracy without Sortition:
the cause of the causes of our powerlessness
is that we let the political professionals draw up
and modify the Constitution

Hello :o)

I have come to talk to you about DEMOCRACY, REAL democracy: the one that is INEXISTANT and the one we NEED today.

In 2005, during a public debate in France, I wrote a ten-page paper about what revolted me in the so-called « constitution » that was being proposed in the referendum, and I sent this document to my close acquaintances and I posted it on my personal website. And then, everything was turned upside down for me. This succinct argument in favour of the NO vote met an expectation and corrected a deficiency. And ordinary people sent this message to their contacts, everywhere in France and even in the world because they translated it into 5 or 6 languages…and thanks to Internet it has become a big event. On returning home from secondary school, after my courses, I opened my mailbox and there, a flood of e-mails began, every minute dozens of e-mails, all evening, all night. And in the following months, I tried to reply to all these people, either people who COUNTED for me or people who were saying BAD THINGS about me; I tried to be « EQUAL to the SITUATION ».

All the newspapers, radio stations, and television channels came by my house in order to understand this phenomenon, the meter on my website was going like a fan, up to 40,000 visits PER DAY(one hell of a review for a reading panel, I can tell you…), 12, 000 mails in 2 months ! Intense mails, warm mails, demanding ones too… And all of this emotion stretched a BOW within me (and continues to do so today).

I HAVE BEEN PROFOUNDLY CHANGED BY THE WAY OTHERS SEE ME: the grateful looks and the suspicious ones. My work has been nourished by THE IMPORTANCE THAT I ATTACH TO THE WAY PEOPLE LOOK AT ME. And I discovered recently that men have known for many years that it is important for the public interest : it’s called VERGOGNE it encourages virtue and it gives courage. For the Athenians, it was the foundation of the life of the City. Plato even considered that we should put to death the citizen who was « shameless » extremely dangerous for the City. And I believe that this is an essential concept even today.

So, after the referendum, I continued and I have been working like a madman for the past six years:

And here, in a few words, is the reason why I have taken so much trouble:

1) I am trying to understand the MAIN CAUSE OF SOCIAL INJUSTICE,

2) I have discovered the genial ideas upon which ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY was founded,

3) I have given back to certain important words their REAL MEANING,

4) And I am reflecting about the GOOD INSTITUTIONS that would durably protect us, ALL OF US, against the abuse of power.

AND I SHARE THAT with all of those who wish that we should PROGRESS TOGETHER in CONSTANT controversy. I am sometimes SLANDERED or RECUPERATED OBVIOUSLY but that’s not so important. In any case, I NEED MY OPPONENTS IN ORDER TO PROGRESS Consequently, I AM DOING MY BEST, I’m moving forward, I AM LOOKING.

And my method for searching is the Hippocratic method, perhaps the best idea in the world.)

This doctor used to say: LOOK FOR THE CAUSE OF THE CAUSES!

In other words, to treat an illness, to solve a problem, it is useless to attack the consequences, of course, but also useless to attack the various causes, given that everything has multiple causes:

THERE IS ALWAYS A DECISIVE CAUSE (not the only one but the one that determines all of the others). THIS IS THE ONE WE WANT.

So, of course I share the combat of my resistant friends (I have made a diagram to represent the tree of injustices and specialized areas of combat) but I have observed that the militants ARE ALL FIGHTING AGAINST THE CONSEQUENCES: I have observed that NONE IS CONSIDERING THE ROOT CAUSE. : for me, the question to be asked is « what makes all of these horrors POSSIBLE? (Environmental, economic, social…).

It is precisely this that we need to understand.


But then one asks, where does this powerlessness of the people come from? (I am constantly looking for the cause of the cause).

It has not just fallen out of the sky, our powerlessness: it is PROGRAMMED, in a higher text …

An ESSENTIAL TEXT about which nobody could give a toss! And it is called the CONSTITUTION.

(Nobody could give a hoot, except the multinationals and the banks, take good note…)

It is in the constitution that elected members ARE NOT accountable,

It is in the constitution that they CANNOT BE dismissed,

It is in the constitution that we CANNOT freely choose our candidates,

It is in the constitution that the powers ARE NOT separated,

It is in the constitution that the people-initiated referendum is NOT provided for,

It is in the constitution that the money is NOT public,

Etc. etc.

But this cause itself (this bad constitution), has a PRIMARY cause: Who wrote this text???

How is it that everywhere in the world, at all times, ALL the constitutions program the powerlessness of the people? It is certainly not a conspiracy: not everywhere, not always, it’s not possible… No, this universal process has a primary and universal cause:

(pay attention) The way I see it is, all of the human beings of the world by laziness, by fear or by ignorance, GIVE UP ON WRITING THEIR CONSTITUTION THEMSELVES and EVERYONE ACCEPTS THAT IT IS THE political PROFESSIONALS (members of parliament, judges, ministers, party members …) WHO DRAW UP AND MODIFY THE CONSTITUTION !

But one must understand WHAT A CONSTITUTION IS, WHAT ITS PURPOSE IS, every citizen should know that:

We, « the people », need representatives, above us, having the power to produce and apply written law, which pacifies our society, by preventing the arbitrary domination of the strongest.

From the very beginning, we have known that this power is not only USEFUL but it is also DANGEROUS, ALL TYPES of power tend towards ABUSE, ALWAYS. (Montesquieu), it is like an implacable, physical law and the brilliant tool to PROTECT US from abuses of power, is the CONSTITUTION.

The Constitution is a text which serves to WEAKEN the powers that be. In order to do its job of protecting, it must WORRY the powers that be. CONSEQUENTLY THEY MUST FEAR IT!


And yet it is easy to understand and to predict that the political professionals when drawing up, themselves, the rules supposed to frighten them later, such people are in a situation of CONFLICT of INTEREST, they are at one and the same time judge and jury=> in this specific case, they are UNABLE to be impartial: they are obviously going to program THEIR power and OUR powerlessness.

And we cannot really blame them: NOBODY is strong enough to commit political hara-kiri, it’s normal, anybody would do the same thing=> IT IS UP TO US, AND US ONLY TO FORBID THEM FROM WRITING, because they will not give it up of their own accord! NEVER: the solution will not come from them but from us.

Here it is then, the mother of causes (upon which we should UNITE so as to become STRONG): it is not the role of men in power to write the rules of power we must put an end to our resignation on this point.

Well, the first decisive battle is to give back to IMPORTANT words, their REAL MEANING:

Today, before anything else, I AM NOT A « CITIZEN » (a citizen is AUTONOMOUS, he votes his own laws), I AM ONLY AN « ELECTOR », that’s to say a political infant, I AM "HETERONOMOUS": i.e. I am subject to the laws passed by others than myself.

My "parents" in politics, the elected members, do not want me to emancipate myself from them, they do not want me to grow up and to become autonomous: they refuse to let me vote myself for or against the laws to which I am submitted.

Let me remind you of the coup d’État of 4 February 2008, during which our so-called « representatives » imposed upon us, via parliamentary vote the anticonstitutional treaty that we had just expressly refused by referendum ! This political rape is extremely serious and yet we have absolutely NO WAY of resisting, even that.

They say that we are "incompetent"! They treat us like children!

BUT THAT IS WELL AND TRULY OUR FAULT, perhaps we are children to a certain extent (children believe in « Father Christmas », electors believe in « universal suffrage ») : WE ACCEPT to call « democracy » (demos cratos, the power to the people ) ITS ABSOLUTE OPPOSITE : the so-called modern « democracy » what is it? Well, it’s the only the right to 1) designate our MASTERS, 2) from among people we have NOT CHOSEN, 3) and without having any means of resisting a possible betrayal between two elections. 4) With, as well the RIGHT OF EXPRESSION —BUT WITHOUT ANY CONSTRAINING FORCE.—, 5) and that’s all.

The real name of this anti-democratic regime is « REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT» (at least allegedly representative)

In fact, we agree to call « Constitution » a text which is not one.. We need TO KNOW WHAT WE WANT: THE SIMPLE WORD constitution OR THE REAL PROTECTION that it should provide for?

So; to resist well, we must begin by a STRIKE AGAINST LYING WORDS such as "democracy", « universal suffrage", "citizen" et "constitution", which HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPOSITE MEANING by the POWER THIEVES.


SIEYÈS (one of the most influential thinkers of the French Revolution), said in 1789:

« Citizens who designate representatives abandon and must abandon making the laws themselves; they have no particular will to impose. If they dictated their will, France would no longer be that representative State ; it would be a democratic State. The people, I repeat, in a country that is not a democracy , (and France cannot be one), the people can only speak, can only act via their representatives». Abbé SIEYÈS, speech of 7 September 1789.

Well, I think that that is clear, isn’t it?

And this other quotation, even more explicit from VOLTAIRE:

« A well organized society is one in which a small number of people make a greater number of people work, is fed by them and governs them ». Voltaire a democrat? Pull the other one… Oligarch!

HISTORY has shown us in detail the SHAM and the PERMANENT RIGGING of REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT for over 200 years => I warmly recommend you to watch the videos of Henri Guillemin on the net.

And those people knew very well what they were doing, they knew very well that what they wanted was « election » not drawing lots:

ALL OF THE THINKERS OF THE WORLD BEFORE 1789, from Plato-Aristotle to Montesquieu-Rousseau, KNEW and wrote that

1) ELECTION IS ARISTOCRATIC BY NATURE, THUS OLIGARCHIC and that 2) THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC PROCEDURE IS THE DRAWING OF LOTS, accompanied by THOUSANDS OF CHECKS of the people that the luck of the draw has designated.

Read these two quotations, 2,000 years apart:

Aristotle: «Elections are aristocratic and not democratic: they introduce an element of deliberate choice of the selection of the best citizens, the aristoi, instead of government by the people as a whole».

Montesquieu: «Suffrage via lots is the nature of democracy; suffrage by choice is the nature of aristocracy.»

OK, this is not a hare-brained idea of old man Chouard… It is a question of DEFINITIONS, to be respected SO THAT WORDS MAY HAVE A MEANING, SO THAT THEY SHOULD KEEP THEIR « TRUE MEANING ». And it is like that THE WHOLE WORLD OVER.

I should like to refer to history and to facts. : WE HAVE TWO, QUITE LONG, HISTORICAL EXPERIENCES : democracy and thus the drawing of lots, Athens for over 200 years, 2,500 years ago, and representative government and thus the election, for over 200 years too, since 1789 => look at the RESULTS :

1) I draw your attention, Ladies and Gentlemen to the FACT that, for over 200 years, the drawing of lots ALWAYS gave power to the poorest, « the 99% » (look at the two centuries of democracy in Athens, there are no exceptions).

2) WHEREAS experience shows us that an ELECTION ALWAYS GIVES POWER TO THE RICHEST 1% (look at the last 200 years, there are no exceptions).

=> So my central question is: «HOW MUCH LONGER ARE THE POOR (the 99%) GOING TO PREFER ELECTION to DRAWING OF LOTS???» (against their most obvious interests).

Our preference for elections is incomprehensible. There are only MYTHS to explain it: the drawing of lots hasn’t been taught for 200 years at the school called « republican ». (everyday they drum it into us that « elections=democracy, democracy=elections…), which explains the intellectual difficulty we have in taking this procedure on board , the procedure that we need so badly (all over the world) to get out of the mess we are in: it takes TIME TO BE DISINTOXICATED.

The drawing of lots frightens you? To reassure you, I must warn you against a frequent MISUNDERSTANDING:

In a democracy, it is not the people who are chosen by lots who decide! Drawing lots serves PRECISELY to WEAKEN THE REPRESENTATIVES (broadly speaking, they are the people who prepare the laws and those who apply it : civil servants, police, judges…) => with the drawing of lots, we weaken these representatives SO THAT THEY REMAIN OUR SERVANTS AND NEVER BECOME OUR MASTERS => DRAWING LOTS IS THE GUARANTEE THAT THE PEOPLE WILL REMAIN SOVEREIGN.

I haven’t got time to develop this, but don’t dismiss too quickly the drawing of lots in politics: there are LOTS OF EXPERIMENTS ON EARTH WHICH ARE WORKING PERFECTLY: A case in point is BRITISH COLOMBIA (near Vancouver) which had its whole electoral code rewritten (complex and sizeable) by an assembly composed of people who had been designated by the drawing of lots, and the story they told the journalists, these simple citizens alarmed at first but reassured afterwards becoming competent through their work, and finally with tears in their eyes at the moment they submitted their text, proud as can be for having succeeded and obtaining 57% of the referendum. … All of the experiences of citizen juries chosen by drawing lots have revealed an undeniable competence of the ordinary citizen.

But let’s be careful: to defend this idea of drawing lots (for the Constituent assembly at least, and possibly representatives afterwards), we can only count on ourselves, normal people, at the base, those who DON’T WANT power.

At this point, I would like to share with you this wonderful thought by Alain (the great philosopher), who used to say:


In an electoral regime, which gives power to those who want it, Alain is right; the worst will govern.

But on the contrary, the drawing of lots can get us out of this trap by proposing power to all of those who don’t want it. (and who are often the best amongst us).

=> We must spread the word, amongst us, amongst « normal » people and we must all become « trainers of trainers » so that we can QUICKLY become billions of « white cells » (or « well-meaning viruses ») disseminating a simple and powerful idea, an idea which aims precisely (with all of our united forces) at the Achilles’ heel of the oligarchy: WE DEMAND THE HONESTY OF THE CONSTITUENT PROCESS BY REPLACING ELECTION BY A DRAWING OF LOTS AND THE FORMING OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY BY THIS MEANS

15 minutes, it’s too short, I haven’t been able to show you the link (essential !) between MONEY and the constitution (indissociable).

I don’t have time here to say more: you must go and look for the rest on the web and in books WORK. Have a look at for example.


This idea that I am building with you, IT WILL WORK FOR EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

And if there are REALLY LOTS OF US, it will be sufficient to WANT IT for that to arrive WITHOUT VIOLENCE.

Thank you.

Étienne Chouard.

What a job!