Societies need leaders that have the support of the people; they also need leaders with skills who are not beholden to financial interests or back-room promises. Current methods of electing and appointing leaders fail to do this. Elected officials tend to be more beholden to campaign donors than citizens, and tend to be better followers than leaders. Appointed officials tend to become part of an “old boys network.”
In an article posted on my blog, I suggested the following three-stage election process would yield better results:
- To assure that a potential candidate for office has the necessary skills for a job, any applicant for an office show pass a test on his knowledge of the purpose of the position, the laws that govern it, and any special skills required to perform the task. (Knowledge of the Constitution would be a good start for a test for public office.)
- To assure that the candidate has the support of the electorate, elections should be held in which citizens vote for the candidate of their choice.
- To assure that financial interests cannot control the outcome of the election, there should be a lottery from among a group of the top candidates receiving popular votes—for example the top four.
This proposed election process would need to be part of a larger constitutional system that would both reflect the lessons learned from history and the lessons we have learned more recently. Many of these are discussed in my book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0.