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The End Of Politicians

It's time for a real democracy by Brett Hennig

This book is published, but you can still pledge for rewards!

  • https://unbound.com/books/the-end-of-politicians
The End Of Politicians cover

The Synopsis

The truth is out: we don’t need politicians to govern us any more. We can fix our broken politics and create a democracy fit for the twenty-first century without them.

The information revolution is disrupting every aspect of society. Newspaper sales plummet. Television watching declines. Book publishing is being transformed. Networks expand and proliferate throughout our workplaces and our everyday lives. Politics is also in line for a major disruption. The new norms of participation, inclusiveness and open communication are infiltrating democracy and the era of politicians is coming to an end. The time is ripe to remake democracy for the twenty-first century.

This succinct, inspiring, and carefully researched book outlines how to fix our broken politics. Combining jaw-dropping insights from the history of democracy with a critical understanding of the current information revolution, it explains how a real democracy would eliminate politicians and replace them with a representative network of randomly selected, ordinary citizens. The surprising evidence from the many recent citizens’ assemblies is that they work: ordinary people can and do make good, informed, and balanced decisions. The tantalising possibility that we can govern ourselves has presented itself – it’s time for the end of politicians.

***

Darn! This is the book I wish I had written. Compelling, inspiring, evidence-based. Hennig explains how democracy got us into this mess, and how we can fix it.

– Professor Lyn Carson, The University of Sydney, Director of the newDemocracy Foundation

Do you believe holding elections every couple of years means you live in a democracy? Short, powerfully argued and carefully researched, Hennig shows how elections have for a long time been known to serve the interests of the powerful – and how ordinary citizens can regain control of their government.

– Professor Manuel Arriaga, New York University, author of Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics

Hennig takes stock of democracy in the past and present. His bold assessment will enable us to step out of the shadows of the political elite. Hennig does not stop there, however. In a fast-forward to the future, he outlines ways and systems that will make the dream of democracy come true. This book is an energy drink for social action.

– Dr Bettina Wittneben, Research Associate, University of Oxford

The End of Politicians provides a powerful critique of the democratic deficits inherent in all forms of electoral democracy. But it does much more than explore the undemocratic qualities of electoral democracy; it proposes a compelling and provocative alternative – the random selection of ordinary citizens to serve as fully empowered legislators. Whether one agrees with this or not, the clarity of the argument will generate productive debate.

– Professor Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Envisioning Real Utopias

Hennig has the right idea: Democracy requires innovation at any age, but especially this one. The End of Politicians doesn't call for an end to politics, but rather to antiquated institutions over-reliant on a small number of elected leaders. That system brought us this far, but Hennig reviews many of the alternatives that are already reshaping governance, by injecting the wider public back into public life – not as a mobilized mob, but through more deliberative bodies. Reading this book gives a glimpse of what's already changing and what lies on – or just beyond – the horizon of democratic political reform.

- Professor John Gastil, Penn State University, author of Democracy in Small Groups

The Excerpt

On 30 January, 1649, King Charles I of England mounted a platform at Whitehall in London, in front of thousands of spectators, and placed his head on a chopping block before a masked executioner. Not only was he about to die, but the idea that kings had a divine right to rule was also about to take a lethal blow. After the axe descended and blood spurted across the platform, his decapitated head was held high for all to see. The belief that power relations were God-given, that specific people were destined to rule by divine providence, would never again go unquestioned.

The execution occurred half a century after Charles’s father, James VI of Scotland, later to be crowned King James I of England, had explicitly invoked the divine right of kings to justify the absolute power of monarchs. In The True Law of Free Monarchies James I deduced, from a creative interpretation of the Bible, that kings were “higher” beings than other men. Many rulers, before and since, have sought to legitimise their position of power through a variety of claims – the theory of “divine right” was just one such attempt.

Almost a century and a half after Charles’s execution the secondary idea that lineage and dint of birth, at least for the first born son, bestowed legitimacy on a ruler also died – this time under the executioner’s guillotine instead of his axe. In Paris on 21 January, 1793, Louis XVI mounted a scaffold in Place de la Révolution and was beheaded. Afterwards the Reign of Terror would see tens of thousands of the French nobility and aristocracy, and other political opponents, executed as “enemies” of the French Revolution.

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The Reviews

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The Author

Dr Brett Hennig is a director and co-founder of the Sortition Foundation whose aim is to promote the ideas within The End of Politicians and institute the use of stratified, random selection (also called sortition) in government. The book is the result of four years of research and represents the compelling, coherent case for this campaign.

Before co-founding the Sortition Foundation Brett Hennig wore a variety of hats: as a taxi driver, a software engineer, a social justice activist, a mathematics tutor, and the primary carer and house-dad of four boys. His PhD in astrophysics proved very useful when changing nappies.

After spending several disheartening years trying to influence political decisions, both from within and without the system, he became inspired by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s trilogy on political philosophy and began investigating and researching network forms of democracy. This book is the result of those years of work.

Questions & Answers

Trevor Ellis Trevor Ellis asked:

the real end of politicians will only come when the public decide that voting is no longer worth their time.
also the system wouldn't allow that to happen...
so we are stuck with democracy...and politicians whether we like it or not.

Brett Hennig Brett Hennig replied:

Hi Trevor,
In the book I outline many cases where politicians want to use these new forms of democracy as they see them as legitimate alternatives that free them from the constraints of, for example, factions within their parties. They also often generate proposals that have much support. The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage came out of one such assembly.

I hope we stick with democracy! But there is nothing inevitable about the way politics is done now - reading Part 1 of my book will make it clear that we are not at the "end of history" with regards to democracy.

Cheers,
Brett

This looks like the kind of book I’d like to support. I read through all the various option, but none of them seems to involve an actual printed book: only eBooks are mentioned.
Is there going to be a printed version of this book and if so can you offer a means of pre-ordering it please?

Brett Hennig Brett Hennig replied:

Hi Chris,
Yes, there are only ebooks available here. If the book does well Unbound has promised to look into a printed version of the book.
Also, if I do get fully funded, then at the end of the publishing process I will order a batch of printed books (Unbound has said they can print a small run for me at cost) to bring to the launch party, and sell privately - you can contact me through the Sortition Foundation website, or on Twitter @SortitionNow, Facebook etc to order one.
Of course I still need to get to 100% first, so if you can contribute to help me get there then I will most certainly make sure your name is on one of the physical books!
Regards,
Brett

Hi! I'm involved in the French informal network promoting Democracy called "Gentils Virus" (nice viruses, contaminating the world with our nice ideas xD). Researching the net I found so much more information about real Democracy and it's history in French than in English!
Being also American, it was so frustrating not to have something to share about it to my English-speaking friends. I was so happy to find your video that just sums it up perfectly and so clearly! Thank you so much for that!

My questions :
- Have you made contact with the French democratic movements, particularly with Etienne Chouard (you can find his TEDx talk on youtube) who inspired people to start the Gentils Virus?
- Also with the Canadian researcher Dupuis-Déri who wrote the book "Democracy, history of a word"?
- In the video, you say that sortition by lot works, in your book, will you have concrete examples, research articles that back up this affirmation?

Brett Hennig Brett Hennig replied:

Thanks Julia for your kind words about my videos.

I have sent emails to Etienne Chouard but not managed to make contact (I must admit my French is non-existent!). I will now try to get in touch with Dupuis-Déri and search out the book you recommend - thanks.

And "Yes" is the answer to the third question. In the book I detail examples where sortition is used to address a variety of policy areas in a variety of countries, from which I draw the conclusion that it could work in a permanent legislative assembly. This is backed up with detailed references for those who wish to go to the source material.

Kind regards,
Brett

The Rewards

This book is now published. You can still pledge, but you won't get listed as a supporter in the back.

$15
Patron

E-book edition

$20
Super Patron (Early Bird Discount)
Special offer

Special Early Bird price. Ebook edition and your name in list of Super Patrons in the front of the ebook

Only 10 available

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$25
Super Patron

Ebook edition and your name in list of Super Patrons in the front of the ebook

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$45
Postcards & Ebook

Set of Real Democracy postcards, ebook edition and your name in the Super Patrons list in the front of the ebook.

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$65
Enthusiast

If you just love the idea and don't want extras this is for you; The ebook, and your name in the front.

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$250
Talk (Deliberative Event)

Brett will come and facilitate a discussion about the pros and cons of The End of Politicians at your home/workplace/book club/community centre either in person if it’s in or near London (or you pay for travel and accommodation), or via Skype. Plus everything at Super Patron level.

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$625
Alpine Retreat

Come with your partner or friend for a weekend in the Italian Alps with Brett and his Italian wife and family to discuss politics and The End of Politicians over home-cooked Italian food. Ski by day, chat by the wood-fire at night. Plus of course the ebook, two tickets to the launch party, your name in the front of the book, and a set of Real Democracy postcards.

Travel and ski passes not included. Only 3 available.

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