Google Is Evil

socrates

If you haven’t gotten a disingenuous push notification about this yet, let me first congratulate you on avoiding the journalistically and intellectually irresponsible click bait that defines what we collectively call “media” in our postmodern age. Let me then inform you that Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, has fired Senior Software Engineer James Damore, for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and what he claims is a violation of Google’s Code of Conduct after he published a selective literature review on the biological basis of the psychological profiles associated with differences in political beliefs as well as those that emerge between the sexes internally and it went viral.

Now, the review was selective, as all literature review is (I’d be interested in a review of every written work in human history, a comprehensive criticism of the Canon, if you have a counterexample) and it came to controversial conclusions, as all interesting and thus worthwhile work does, (after all, to fear controversy, is to imprison yourself in the past and halt the endless journey that is your continuous self-improvement), however, the hysteria I witnessed on the lock screen of my phone as the media erupted in the aftermath can only be described as “censorious.”

This document was characterized as a dangerous and radical “screed”, that is, as something akin to the manifestos of the Unabomber, Eliot Rodger, and Sayyid Qutb, when it was nothing of the sort. Far more disturbing than that, Gizmodo republished the document with all the sources stripped which then of course lead their audiences to criticize the document for the lack of sources. With that, it has thrown out its defense of incompetence and idiocy and has established beyond a reasonable doubt that they have no commitment towards journalistic integrity, eschewing it for their deliberate mendacity. We will henceforth refer to those members of the press that are guilty of such a charge (in particular, again, Gizmodo) as “mendacious idiots.”

A more subtle and nefarious effect of the mendacious idiots (like Gizmodo) are all the obfuscation they cause. Getting my hand on the primary source (and thus the source of truth), was made more difficult because, of course, as I Googled it, the secondary coverage buried it, thus increasing the cost of actually getting to the bottom of it and perpetuating the conduits of disinformation which target and polarize audiences and therefore facilitates the escalation of conflict.

At the root of this conduit that fuels the mendacious idiots (including, but not limited to Gizmodo, which has the top result when you search for the primary source of the document) is Google, which has become the interface to the world’s information, and is embedded in our everyday intelligence gathering even at even some of the highest levels of surveillance and espionage. Google is easily a monopoly, despite their creative attempts to deny it, and presumably the reason we trust a monopoly with such a critical function of a civil society is because we grant them the good faith of their motives espoused at their founding. Wikipedia details Brin’s views with the following,

“The Economist referred to Brin as an “Enlightenment Man”, and as someone who believes that “knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance”, a philosophy that is summed up by Google’s mission statement, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,”[7][8] and unofficial yet sometimes controversial motto, “Don’t be evil”.[9]”

The nail in the coffin is how these events reveal how contrary Google’s interests are to these views, the ones which laid fertile ground for Brahe, Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton to overthrow our understanding of the cosmos. The revolutions in the middle of the second millennia which coincide with the explosion of artistic, intellectual and economic activity which continue to ripple out today. Indeed, Google itself claims to be an intellectual descendent of and somewhat of a synchronization running through all these threads that start with the Greeks: the Scientific Revolution which led to incredible technological improvements of the Industrial Revolution and now the Informational Revolution in our economy, the liberal revolutions of America and France which both led the way to the idea that the Leviathan is only justified operating under the consent of the governed, those moments associated with freeing our minds from the shackles of ideological and physical tyranny and the transition towards the heroic triumph of human liberty.

Google’s original sin in the way it defined itself was, of course, to omit the Humanistic traditions alive in the Age of the Renaissance that are just as much a part of the Enlightenment as any of those already listed. It demonstrates a willful ignorance that those heroes who woke us from a dogmatic slumber were men of letters devoted to artistic expression and self-creation. This philosophical outlook it carries, this acceptance of the artificial dichotomy between The Two Cultures, is also why they are behind on the more practical and aesthetic appreciation of graphic and especially industrial design that distinguishes their competitors. This leads them to engage in the strategic practice that Microsoft laid down at the beginning of the PC revolution, which is to be promiscuous with their systems software, license it out to OEM’s and create a platform which must accept the lowest common denominator, facilitating the spread of every kind of software disease you can possibly think of (as promiscuity does), and tends to flood our culture with plastic garbage which we must then tolerate as our tools for creation. Google funds this assault on our culture and its other boondoggles with the revenues it collects from the tracking-industrial complex of which it is the main broker. It is no secret that their business model is to spy on their users and sell that intelligence to their customers. That is, their users are their product, and their service is something Winston Smith would recognize.

The postmodern thought that fills the vacuum of culture in the absence of the humanities and leads to these detestable business practices is a nihilistic voice that gnaws at one’s soul until its morals have been decayed from the inside. It incessantly whispers that there is no canonical culture because there is no Truth. It is what Harold Bloom calls “The School of Resentment” in literature, and is therefore merely a continuation of a misguided resistance to the rich traditions of discourse that have gotten us here, migrating from the safe-havens of the Church of Academia and rearing its ugly head into our private industries. The definition of “diversity” that is their modus operandi seems to be that we will accept our differences by pretending we are all the same, an amoral absolutism that claims zero culture is better than one culture and therefore we will settle for that. It is a disservice to the cause it espouses, and has sullied the otherwise admirable and indeed imperative outcome to which it aspires.

We should therefore hand these disingenuous and feckless dilettantes “diversity” and instead seek an American cosmopolitanism, a cross-pollination of ideas and a recognition that we are all created equal before the law and granted our own unalienable rights. Indeed, the sole justification for the Leviathan is to preserve that sovereignty. Our only means of identification should be that of the individual and we should explicitly seek to separate gender, racial, ethnic, and religious markers from what brings us together as a nation and settle our differences by speaking freely and engaging in rational discourse. I am of course merely referring to the Socratic idea of dialectic which gave birth to secular philosophy, and the natural rights ideas of the primacy of the individual, of the free mind of the Enlightenment, primarily espoused by Locke and cited by Jefferson in the formation of our great Republic. It is precisely these values that separate America from Christendom and historical sources of authority before it, the monarchs and feudal lords who saw their subjects as serving them instead of the other way around.

It is also what separated us from our rivals in the rise of American cosmopolitanism after the 20th Century and prompted Earth for what Karl Popper called “The Open Society” after World War II, a concerted effort to never again allow the occurrence of the totalitarian horror of the first half of the 20th Century. We emerged victorious precisely because of our embrace of this Open Society, our facilitation of a culture that did our forerunners justice, an ethic that cemented an idea was judged on its merit and not on who said it, that despite our immutable differences, we can all organize around a common goal. This is the core of American ethics, making us the true children of the Enlightenment and those who carry its torch into interplanetary transport and beyond.

If the motives were believably pure we could perhaps excuse Google for its ignorance of its own intellectual foundations and an utter lack of appreciation for the wisdom our Founders all easily recognized, but it is quite clear there is a culture of moral intimidation and intellectual dishonesty that haunts the workplace (one might even call it a “hostile work environment”) and silences dissenters with the same intentions the Church had when putting Galileo under house arrest. What not-so-well meaning people would like to do with this denial of our national identity is fuel identitarian movements of all stripes to define themselves by immutable characteristics and hence perpetuate the false narrative of a zero-sum game with those who do not share them, and to provoke political conflict to expand their audience. They are the most vile of opportunists who can barely contain their glee at a corpse they can wave at their political opponents, and making them dark and sexy, making them the counter-culture, plays right into their hands. Banning the Daily Stormer from your domain registrar does not help the Southern Poverty Law Center keep tabs on them, it merely pushes our domestic threats underground in loosely coupled and resilient distributed systems in the same way in which our foreign threats are organized. It means they convene at a private domain instead of a public one. It means you have allowed them to escalate their security capabilities. It means you are emboldening our domestic enemies by betraying our American values of free expression and our cosmopolitan values of an Open Society.

The legal dispute between Damore and Google has yet to be decided, but the moral verdict is in:

  • for the original sin of omitting the culture of the Humanities from its founding
  • for the ongoing commoditization of our identities for profit to serve elite interests
  • for flooding our culture with mediocrity

and most heinously

  • for the duplicity of lying to us about their mission and pursuing its opposite
  • for abandoning their espoused values of the Enlightenment
  • for betraying their intellectual forefathers of secular philosophy and scientific methodology and their traditions of free expression and rational dialectic in search of Truth
  • for opposing the Open Society and engaging in apologetics for nihilistic totalitarianism by sentencing the Socratic figure of Damore to be banished for his corruption of the youth
  • and for aiding America’s major domestic terror threats to our national security

Google is evil.