You're More Powerful than You Think

You're More Powerful than You Think

A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen

Eric Liu

There is no such thing as a neutral human system. There is no such thing as an apolitical process. Every human system is evidence of human preference or bias. Every human system is evidence of choices made—and forfeited—about how to allocate and distribute power. Facebook’s system for deciding what stories are deemed “trending” in its News Feed is run partly by algorithms but also by human editors and curators. Conservatives complain those editors have a left-wing bias—and even the supposedly neutral algorithms are of course made by humans with bias, conscious or not. The body of judge-made law that gives our Constitution life is partly the product of highly technical tests and universal axioms applied to particular circumstances. But all those jargon-filled tests and axioms were fashioned by humans with bias. Constitutional law is not primarily an expression of justice; it is primarily an expression of power: who has the power to define “liberty” or “equal protection” or “speech” one way rather than another and to make that definition synonymous with “justice.”

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