Is Everything Rigged? Yes, Always Has Been

Updated November 30, 2020

Everything is rigged and always has been. This is to say, everything is biased/skewed and gives the edge to some. That’s because everything (a government, an electoral system, an economic system, a game (football, chess, Grand Theft Auto 5), a constitution) has a design, a structure, a form that guarantees that some people because of that design/structure/form, will be affected differently (for example, find it easier to succeed in that government, economic system, game, or constitution) than others. 

Consider America’s electoral system:

For sure it’s rigged; not, as The Trumper alleges, by demonic Democrats, Dominion voting machine software, or dumps of votes but, rather, by design. For example, members of Congress are elected in single-member districts and the candidate who receives a plurality of votes is the winner of the congressional seat. The losing party or parties win no representation at all. This “first-past-the-post” system fosters a two party system and is based against the development of a multiparty system. Numerous other riggings/biases in the American electoral system are discussed in a Wikipedia article: “First-past-the-post voting.”

Consider America’s constitutions:

The Articles of Confederation (in effect from 1781 to 1789) was America’s first governing structure. It was rigged/designed to advance the authority and power of the states, allowing each of the 13 to govern themselves as each saw fit. The central/national government (the Congress of the Confederation) was essentially powerless concerning affairs within and among the states. 

The Articles were also rigged against a strong executive (President of Congress) and for legislative supremacy. “Congress held all the central government’s power,” and the President was “by design,[emphasis added] a position with little authority.” Essentially ceremonial, the primary role of the President of Congress was to preside over meetings of Congress.

The Constitution into which we are now Framed (in effect from 1789 to . . . well, no one knows the future) is rigged for the success and dominance of the central/national government vis-à-vis the states. This bias is baked into the document by the “supremacy clause”  and the “necessary and proper clause.”

The Constitution, by design, establishes an executive (President of the United States) with extensive powers; for instance, in treaty making and appointments. In addition, the President can veto legislation and he/she is Commander in Chief of the armed forces. 

The Constitution of 1789 was also rigged against the general/voting populace in that only the House of Representatives was directly elected and, by itself, could do nothing.

In addition, America’s second constitution tilted the never-level playing field in favor of slavers and against slaves. Numerous provisions in the Constitution protect the institution of slavery; for instance, Article 1, Section 6 prohibits Congress from banning the importation of slaves until 1806.

Also, the Constitution was drafted/designed/rigged by the upper class for the benefit of the upper class.  This bias is documented in numerous studies, including Charles A Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States; Woody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution; and Michael Klarman, The Framer’s Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.

Since everything that exists has a design/structure/form and therefore by its very existence is rigged/biased/skewed, there cannot be anything—a constitution, government, game, automobile, algorithm, app, whatever!—that affects everyone equally. You can’t make or find anything that’s not rigged, that doesn’t advantage some people more than others. 

Here’s how to move ahead in a rigged world, the only world there is:

* Acknowledge and accept the universality of rigging/bias.

* If the rigging of whatever you’re interested in–say, an economic system–is acceptable to you, maintain that rigging/design or, perhaps, strengthen it. 

* If a particular rigging is not acceptable to you, modify or eliminate it and rig the system to your liking.  

* Whatever you do, don’t try to make or find anything that’s not rigged, biased, skewed, or discriminatory. Don’t try to do what can’t be done. This is not Smokey and the Bandit.

About George Beam

I'm an educator and author. The perspectives that inform my interpretations of the topics of this blog are behaviorism and system analysis. Specific interests include American politics, socioeconomic issues, survey research, and effects of the Internet and attendant hard- and software. I'm Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago.
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1 Response to Is Everything Rigged? Yes, Always Has Been

  1. Pingback: US Constitution Rigged | George Beam's Blog

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