Friday, January 27, 2006

Google This!

It is really sad to see Google agreeing to help the Chinese dictators suppress the Chinese people. Censorship is suppression. No doubt Google execs think they are being "pragmatic" in that Yahoo and Microsoft did it before them and now, in order to stay competitive, they, Google, must do it too.

Well, they are being "pragmatic" for sure. And that is the problem. Pragmatism is just an unprincipled tunnel vision which looks only at what is immediately in front of one's nose and trying to solve problems without reference to any wider principles or future consequences.

I used to think that pragmatism was hostile to and had no use for principles. I was wrong. Thanks to Google I can see now that pragmatism allows for the existence of principles. It just treats them as non-essentials. To a pragmatist a principle is a useful tool as long as you are achieving desired results. But if those results stop coming in or you desire different results, then you can dump that principle for another or no principle at all and declare you are just being "pragmatic", after all, it's practical to be pragmatic isn't it?

This is what allows Google to announce to the world its allegience to the principle "Don't do Evil" and then to cavalerly ignore that noble ideal as soon as the execs decided they wanted results that that ideal could not provide.

Not only is helping China censor its people wrong on the face of it but it is a slap in the face to capitalism and the nation that is its chief advocate-America.

All around the world right now seedy little dictators of all varieties are pointing at China and shouting to their people "See! See what these giant American corporations are doing, suppressing the Chinese people. That's what capitalism is all about--suppressing the masses and doing it for a profit."

And how are the CEOs going to answer them? But we mean well?

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