In his book Is Democracy Possible? (1985) John Burnheim used the term "demarchy" (created by Friederich A. Von Hayek in his Law, Legislation and Liberty) to describe a political system without the state or bureaucracies, and based instead on randomly selected groups of decision makers. This has striking resemblances to classical democratic ideas, as reported by Thucydides. In 2006 Burnheim published a second edition with a new preface in which he directed the reader to an emphasis that "a polity organised by negotiation between specialised authorities would work much better than one based on centralised authority".
Burnheim used to be a Roman Catholic priest and, from 1958-1968, was rector of St John's, the Catholic college attached to the university. He was a major figure in the disturbances of the 1970s that split the university's Department of Philosophy.
- Sutherland, Keith John Burnheim: To Reason Why at Equality by Lot (Wordpress) blog, 30 June 2011. (It will be seen that John Burnheim is a respondent to the blog.) Accessed 24 October 2013
- Burnheim J. Is Democracy Possible? Preface to the second edition At SETIS (Sydney University) (2006)
- Stove D. A Farewell to Arts from Quadrant May 1986, reproduced by Keith Windschuttle at The Sydney Line
Franklin, J. (2003), Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia, Macleay Press, ch. 11
- Burnheim J Is democracy possible? The alternative to electoral politics 2nd edition (2006) Sydney University Text and Imaging Service (SETIS)
- Works by or about John Burnheim in libraries (WorldCat catalog)