Although I often get tempted to get into the discussions that keep coming up in the “Comments” appended to each item we post, I usually hold my tongue. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy a good argument, it’s just because I don’t think it’s fair for me to get into arguments where I would always have the last word.
Still, there are times where specific questions are asked, or where I have some relevant information, and when that happens I feel free to get into those things in this new occasional column.
Those of you who read the fine print are aware that there has been some discussion of the idea of a Selective-Service Congress in our “Comments” feature, mostly by friends who seem to have overlooked the existence of a really fine sf novel, by one of my favorite authors, The Years of the City, which discusses the possibilities involved in such a scheme.
The author sums them up, if I remember correctly, by saying something like, “True, legislators and other high government officials chosen by lot might not be any more honest or intelligent than the ones we have now, but they would not be likely to be much less so, and they would certainly have one invaluable advantage over the present lot: They would not have to pay off benefactors who helped them get elected by providing them with large sums of money or political favors. Thus the system would remove at a stroke most of the tyranny of ‘special interests.’”
The book is currently out of print in the paper-and-print edition, but many dealers still have copies. (Unfortunately, the author gets no royalty on such sales, but enjoy.)