Don't Mind the Deconstruction
Who exactly do the people in the House of Representatives represent? I'm a white male, so I'm better represented than most by race and gender. I don't even know any decamillionaires, but it looks like at least the top 5% of congresscritters fall into that category. My lackluster collection of fine italian suits combined with my voluntaryist political leanings would probably not get me invited to many dinner parties on capitol hill. Suffice it to say, by the most general definition of representative, the congress doesn't fit the bill for anyone I know.
Representative (n): One that serves as an example or type for others of the same classification.
The natural question becomes, who then are our elected officials representative of?
The Problem With Democracy
Democracy shares the same fundamental flaw with all other forms of government: some group of people can use it to justify otherwise immoral actions. If an average man forcefully takes from you, it's theft. If a small mob of men take from you, it's racketeering. If a large mob of men take from you, it's taxation.
You probably think that's a bit extreme, but the evils of government fallen into the wrong hands are apparent. From civil rights abuses and slavery to genocide and total war, abuse of centralized power creates widespread suffering. In a dictatorship, only one man needs to decide to oppress you. Theoretically, a direct democracy does better by requiring only slightly more than half of the voters to agree on oppression. If you're in the majority on most issues, that might even sound downright sensible.
The US doesn't have direct democracy, we elect representatives to make policy decisions for us. Look again at who they are though. They don't represent me and they probably don't accurately represent you either.
Unless, of course, you happen to work as a C-level executive at a big pharmecutial, financial, or defense company in which case everything's gravy. You only have to buy off a couple hundred people to get special advantages backed by the force of the most powerful nation on earth. Talk about a killer ROI .
I have never voted for a political office. Ron Paul almost got me to in 2008; I even registered. I couldn't justify it to myself though. By voting I'd explicitly endorse an easily abused system of coercion and control affecting millions of people both in the US and abroad. I realized that in most races, my "choices" were already bought and paid for anyway. If nobody voted, the system would fall apart. Most people think that would be a bad thing, and I actually agree. Such an immediate, drastic shift would have many unintented consequenses.
Still, especially among the young, I know I'm not alone in feeling that the system of representative democracy in the US is a sham, that we only have the illusion of choice, and that special interests will win out regardless of who wins office.
A Partial Solution
Make representatives more representative. Oh, and stop voting. Don't hold elections, hold a lottery. Don't pick the same corrupt leaders term after term because they have the best campaign ads and are less scary than the other establishment guy.
I know what you're thinking: "Holy shit! This guy is insane. He wants to give nuclear weapons to any random Tom, Dick, or Harry (even worse: Jada or Muhammad) whose name gets pulled out of a hat!"
I get that, I really do. I don't advocate a wholesale replacement of the current structre with a lottery system, it'll take time to make that transition. Since the US has a foundation of checks and balances, lets just start with the House of Representatives. That way, the smart people in the Senate can still keep things under control. Give it an honest chance before rejecting it out of hand.
Members to the House of Representatives will serve for terms of one year. Each month, 1/12 of the House will be selected by lottery from among the eligible residents of their district to replace outgoing members. A person is eligible for service in the House if he/she has reached the age of consent and is a legal citizen of the United States. For the year of service in office, the selectee will recieve $200,000 dollars. Optionally, the selectee can decline to serve and still recieve full compensation. Once selected, whether or not he/she chooses to serve, the selectee will not be included in the lottery for 8 years.
That's the jist of it, but I'm sure there'd be more details to work out. I just want to expand on a couple of things.
By serving a short term, even corrupt members of the House could do comparatively little damage. The montly replacement of an even number of members ensures continuity despite the short terms and helps new members integrate into the whole. The low eligibility requirement ensures that this representative body actually represents the people it governs.
Sure, you'll have a lowlife come through once in a while, but I don't see how that's much different from the way things work now. Since people can just take the money and walk away, you'll only have people that care about the issues in office.
So, what do you think? What makes you uncomfortable about this plan? Let me know and I'll try to address your concerns.