Bending the Arc Away from Google


My default is always to assume against direct conspiracies; individual incentives and human nature are usually enough to explain seemingly coordinated action without presuming some conscious cabal.  But, I mean, come on:

A video recorded by Google shortly after the 2016 presidential election reveals an atmosphere of panic and dismay amongst the tech giant’s leadership, coupled with a determination to thwart both the Trump agenda and the broader populist movement emerging around the globe.

I haven’t watched the whole hour-long discussion, but even on a skim of the content one can see that some of the executives made no effort to distinguish “we” from the Clinton campaign, and it isn’t at all clear that the repeated pledge to use the company’s vast resources to advance “our values” isn’t a promise of political activism.  More disturbing, though, is the insistence that advancing those values is part of “bending the arc of history.”  In other words, this isn’t a statement that Google’s products improve people’s independent thought and that Google’s values will ultimately prevail for that reason.  Rather, it’s a statement that Google will work to nudge people’s thinking in a particular direction.

Please consider a voluntary, tax-deductible subscription to keep the Current growing and free.

Along those lines, the concession that I would have liked to hear somewhere in my scanning of the discussion, but did not, is a reminder that people who disagree with the beliefs of Google’s apparent monoculture are still the company’s customers, with their own rights and independence and deserving of the company’s honest and enthusiastic service.

In short, people who don’t agree with Google’s social and political views should take the hint.  Reduce your dependence on the company’s products, and look for alternatives more generally.

  • Justin Katz

    Umm… I think you’re missing the key distinction, which regards the role of Google in our society.

    • guest

      Google is a private company, Justin. Why do you want to regulate and/or control it? Who are you to assign it a “role” in society? Isn’t that contrary to your core beliefs? Why can’t Google be afforded “Freedom and Prosperity” too?

      • Mario

        If he wanted to “regulate and/or control it” I’d be arguing right along with you. Fortunately I bothered to read the whole thing, so I didn’t make a fool of myself like you did.

  • BasicCaruso

    So Google shouldn’t be concerned with the US economy? Don’t be evil…

    ‘Bad for the environment, bad for the economy:’ Facebook, Google, and Amazon react to Trump’s decision to withdraw from Paris climate agreement

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I am not sure what degree of “free speech” Google is entitled to, probably quite a lot. I doubt it comes under “freedom of the press”. I am not in favor of restrictions, although monopoly might come into play. I very much favor a lot of info on the degree of bias. Those of us who notice such things are not taken by surprise with Google’s leanings, it is not a recent discovery.

  • Christopher C. Reed

    Shh…don’t let anyone see this:

    • BasicCaruso

      Readers of this site are of course free to ignore actual science in lieu of YouTube videos. Google execs will continue to express panic and dismay that the right is racing towards the precipice.

      What me worry?
      As Hurricane Florence dumps rain on the Carolinas–perhaps as much as 30 or 40 inches in some areas, causing dangerous flooding–it’s raining more because of climate change. A new study estimates that the forecasted rainfall along the coast is 50% more intense than it would have been without greenhouse gas emissions from humans…

      “Climate change is often viewed as a distant threat, far off in the future,” says Kevin Reed, a professor of marine and atmospheric sciences at Stony Brook University and one of the authors of the study. “We did this during the event, as it was unfolding, to actually help communicate the reality that climate change is here and it’s a real risk to the public now.”

    • BasicCaruso
    • Mike678

      Bad Chris–you attacked Russ’s religion and ‘actual’ Science, which must be different from Science. Next we’ll get links to credible sources such as the Guardian.

      • BasicCaruso

        Meanwhile, in North Carolina…

        Scientists warned of rising sea levels in North Carolina. Republican lawmakers shelved their recommendations.
        The state’s coastal plain, Riggs said, would not be in such grave danger if lawmakers had not rejected a study prepared by a panel on which he served that predicted the sea level would rise 39 inches by 2100 because of climate change. The projection should guide “policy development and planning purposes,” advised the 2010 report, whose authors were mainly scientists and engineers at the state’s leading research universities, as well as state and federal regulators.

        The historical record, wrote the experts, offered “undisputable evidence that sea level has been steadily rising in North Carolina,” while “multiple indicators” suggest that the rate would accelerate because the “global climate is warming.”

        The 2010 election brought a shift in power in Raleigh, however, as both chambers of the General Assembly changed hands from the Democrats to the Republicans. The majority began rolling back environmental regulations and clearing the way for more coastal development.

        • Mike678

          Thanks Russ. I agree the climate is changing, as it has for centuries; warming and cooling cycles are well documented. Where we disagree is the degree of “man made” warming. As for the doomsday “39 inches”, give me a break. This hysterical over-reach turns off a thinking public which, in turn, causes many to ignore the much smaller changes that may occur if this warming trend continues. And so what if people want to take a chance on a coastal home? It’s their money, no?

          • BasicCaruso
          • Mike678

            We apparently agree on yet another subject! God (or Climate change) be praised! Flood insurance should be discontinued. If you want to build in a flood area because of the view or land cost is cheaper, take the risk. Are you sure you aren’t a closet libertarian?

            But why stop there? What of the morbidly obese, drug abusers and so forth on medicaid/medicare? Are you not paying for their lack of will/discipline? Car insurance with “accident forgiveness”? The list goes on…

      • Christopher C. Reed

        yeah, my bad. Hate to barf on anyone’s religion, but there ya go. In 2141, global warmism is going to get its own chapter in the tricentennial edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Assuming we’re not frozen solid in another ice age.

        For connoisseurs of cranky, I managed to get all tax hamster crazy on Langevin in today’s Projo. They even let me get away with ‘Congresscritter’. Win!