Pursuant to my post on Google yesterday, I visited Google's home page today to see what they had to say in their defense. An explanation by Mr. Andrew McLaughlin, senior policy council for Google said in part:
Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world's population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced. By launching Google.cn and making a major ongoing investment in people and infrastructure within China, we intend to change that.
So, "Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission." But refusing to compromise their mission at all compromises their mission "far more severly." Obviously a degree in logic is something Mr. McLaughlin does not have. This position is such a blatent contradiction that one has to wonder what would make seemingly educated men cling to it so adamently.
I think the phrase "...a fifth of the world's population..." is a good hint. Translation: "There is a ton of money to be made and all we have to do is betray the principles that allowed us to become the sucess we are and it shouldn't cost us a nickel."
Also, notice the appeal to altruism in the phrase ..."due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China..." Translation: "The Chinese people are suffering and we want to lighten their burden so their chains will be a little more comfortable and their Communist masters will stay in power a little longer and we can't do that if we don't go in and set up shop."
This Google incident proves the pure evil of using any form of pragmatism as a thought process. Every deliberate human action is based on some principle. If you don't know what that principle is you have no way of knowing whether your actions, in fundamental terms, will have pro-life or anti-life consequences. Thinking in terms of principles will provide that knowledge.
Helping dictators censor info to their people will have anti-life consequences for sure. I don't know what concrete form such consequences will take but I can imagine one or two. Suppose in a year or two the Chinese secret police demand Google turn over all the names and addresses of people who tried to search the word say, freedom. Google does so. The police round up all those people and execute them. Does Google want to be part of this?
Or, after Google has all the infrastructure set up the army shows up and announces that China is nationalizing the search industry and seizing all your assets. What are you going to say to them? "But we had a deal?" "Right" they will retort. "But it no longer is in our interest to honor those principles. We have to be pragmatic about this. You have 48 hours to catch a plane back to America."
To see how deeply entrenched pragmatism is in the minds of these corporate leaders, consider Mr. McLaughlin's last sentence in his defense: "To some people, a hard compromise may not feel as satisfying as a withdrawal on principle, but we believe it's the best way to work toward the results we all desire."
Is that the purpose of standing on principle, to "feel satisfied"? Obviously we are to reject those feelings and do the pragmatic thing and compromise.
I think it is useless to try to persuade these men of the wrongness of their thinking. They are no longer open to reason. The irony is that it is they who are acting on their feelings, it is they who are not being practical.
The Google home page is here.