Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
In Defense of Google
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, January 29, 2006

Led in part by Glenn Reynolds, a substantial portion of the blogosphere is attacking Google for bowing to Chinese pressure to self-censor Google results. High dudgeon is what bloggers do best, but I think it might be misplaced in this case.

The crux of the story is that Google is cooperating with the totalitarian Chi-coms by releasing...
...a version of its search engine in China that, at the behest of the Chinese government, filtered out some of the results on politically sensitive search terms such as "democracy" and "Taiwanese independence."
It's easy to say people ought to boo, hiss, boycott Google for becoming quasi-apparatchiks of the Chinese government, but I think that ignores a fundamental economic question: if the goal is to help improve the lives of the Chinese people — i.e., prosperity, information, democracy — what is the optimal path Google could take? As far as I can tell, they have two choices...
  • Cooperate with the Chinese, and deliver their product to the Chinese people while filtering out some important results. Or...

  • Refuse to cooperate, and be banned from delivering any information to China at all, including, presumably, a ban on Google-owned communication and blogging products.

I'm not sure how a refusal to cooperate would either hurt the Chi-coms, or help the Chinese people at all. On the other hand, cooperating with some of the objectionable censorship rules allows Google to deliver to the Chinese people a massively useful tool for information gathering and communication.

The recent Chinese accommodation of a market economy, including the Constitutional recognition of property rights, may be the Chi-coms equivalent of perestroika. The accommodation of the internet and greater degrees of free speech may be their first step towards glasnost.

As far as I can tell, the Chinese people are almost certainly better off with a commie-modified Google than without it. Perfect does not have to be the enemy of good.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’m not sure how a refusal to cooperate would either hurt the Chi-coms, or help the Chinese people at all
Then again, rights are whatever the government makes them, eh?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Bithead, that was funny. Seriously. By pretending to beat the wrong dead horse, you got a good laugh out of me.

But back on topic... something about the flail over Google’s decision had been bothering me, but I hadn’t thought it out just yet. I think Jon has found the heart of the issue. I would love to see Google stare down the Chinese communist state and force them to take the unfiltered Google, but that’s not going to happen. Google is wisely getting its foot in the Chinese door, almost assuredly with the expectation that this situation will get better in the future as China shakes off the current levels of oppression. What alternative do they have... wait with brows arched while some other search engine is used throughout China? Who benefits from that?
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Provocative. I’m unsure where I fall but I appreciate this from Jon. I do, however, think that this sentence needs some further thought.
The recent Chinese accommodation of a market economy, including the Constitutional recognition of property rights...
If your computer is your property but it’s use is restricted can that truly be called property rights? Well, I guess if we can make privately owned bars non-smoking while proclaiming property rights.....
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Part of the problem lies in how Google’s system has been modified.

It would seem that there were three ways that Google could have been allowed in by the PRC government:

1. Unacceptable sites are flagged as a 404-type page. "This page cannot be shown."

2. Unacceptable sites simply disappear. Google "Great Leap Forward," and you get directed only to hop-skip-and-jump sites or somesuch.

3. Unacceptable sites disappear and searches are routed to government-authorized and approved sites. This appears to be what is going on.

The problem with "3" is that Google is now complicit not simply in sins of omission, but sins of commission. The searcher is being actively misled as to what is available on the web.

And while it is easy to claim that savvy users would of course know that this was the case, the reality is that, just as press bias occurs most easily when the reading public is unaware or has no context, the same is even more true for the web.

And it is worth remembering that many, many Chinese laobaixing still believe that Tiananmen was the result of CIA/Western intelligence machinations, rather than an expression of the people, courtesy of a steady drumbeat of governmental disinformation.
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
Bithead, that was funny. Seriously. By pretending to beat the wrong dead horse, you got a good laugh out of me.
I’m quite serious. Consider; One can only come to the conclusion that Jon has, that there is no consequence for Google doing what it’s doing, if you assume that nobody’s rights are being violated in the doing.

And whatever happened to ’principle’?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Purity of search is one thing, turning down a market of that magnitude is another.
 
Written By: Dr. Smith
URL: http://www.antiagingatlanta.com
That’s pretty much been my reaction too, Jon. I will never understand the means by which some come to the conclusion that half a loaf is worse than none.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
I am becoming more pessimistic every day about the "economic freedom will inevitably lead to political freedom" theory of China. I have seen little evidence so far, Google being only the latest example. I have a feeling that democracy and political freedom in China will only come about after significant bloodshead. The only question is whose blood?
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
You know what, the issue is that coming so quickly on the heels of Google’s not cooperating with the DOJ request for search records, with the founders trumpeting their "don’t be evil" mantra on every newscast....it just went over about as well as an acidic belch.

That sort of thing really trips the old BS meter.

 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
This would be a non-story except for the hype over the "Do No Evil" slogan. I’m sorry but Google deserves all the mockery it gets.

Using the internet in China is already very hit or miss. For example, lots of sites get the 404 treatment, etc. No blogspot at all.

I’m as worried about the slow growth of Chinese political reform as the next guy, but with China’s boom, comes tons of opportunities for people to get more personal power, to complain more, to demand more, and to know more. Not so long ago, people in China were told that all the cars shown in Taiwan TV were faked...now nobody in China would believe such a lie. It just takes a long time to get a critical mass going for political reform, and yeah, when you are poor, income and food on the table matter a bit more than warrantless wiretapping. At some point though, they will start to demand more rights and political reform.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Purity of search is one thing, turning down a market of that magnitude is another.


So Google facilitating the violation of the rights of billions of people is OK, so long as they make a buck at it?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Observation -
The Soviet Union came to a halt despite the fact there was no Google to search
and make your quest for ’freedom’ as easy as a couple of keystrokes and clicking search.

Don’t let’s take a search engine too seriously as a mechanism of ’rights’ and
progress towards economic freedoms.

If someone has the brains to DO a search on "Tawainese Freedom" and "Democracy" then they have at least heard of the ideas, right? So it’s not like by derailing a Google search the government has derailed discussion, thought or ’black market’ travel of information. They’ve just closed the most obvious routes, and done so in a ham-handed way that’s like erecting a fifty foot wall around a quarter mile of land and hanging signs that say "nothing of interest going on here...move along....".

If you think the Chinese in China proper aren’t going to KNOW that they’re being censored, and/or have been directed to government approved sites that tell them "democracy is evil" (and point to the Democratic results of the latest elections in, say, Palestine) then you’re just a little on the simple side.

Jon’s right, better Google provide information on other aspects of information that aren’t clearly and directly linked to ’Freedom’ or ’Democracy’.
You can search on plenty of information that will lead you to the conclusion that there is ’freedom’ and ’democracy’ without specifically asking about just those terms.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And by the way, you guys will recall that there was a major row over the possibility, the mere possibility, mind you, that the U.N. would be taking over the Internet and its administration. There were concerns, nay... there were HOWLS coming from every political corner, that this would affect freedom of speech.. that certain websites.. such as this one... would be ’controlled’.

Explain to me please, how allowing this stuff to happen in one country, by simply turning our heads, is any different than allowing it to happen all over the world, in terms of principle?


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
...and probably the cool kids in China now have code words for these terms and can search all they want for "Taiwan Indy Pen Dice" or "Freak Selections"
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Bingo!

Anyone who wants a sample of getting round it should try and write a rule that excludes junk mail of certain types.
The faster you write the rules, the faster they come up with mechanisms to bypass them.

People are really resourceful...who’d a thunk....
The only way to derail this train is to burn the train AND the tracks.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Henke wrote:

"The recent Chinese accommodation of a market economy, including the Constitutional recognition of property rights, may be the Chi-coms equivalent of perestroika. The accommodation of the internet and greater degrees of free speech may be their first step towards glasnost."

The operative word in that is MAY. In fact, MAY NOT or IS NOT is more likely the case.

Generally, people who are out to practice perestroika and glasnost generally say "Hey, you know, we’ve been bad and really need some perestroika and glasnost". The Chi-coms haven’t.

Henke, you’re advocating a colloboration with evil.
 
Written By: Calarato
URL: http://
Evil - a form of government now?

How about a form of government that we don’t like....

Frankly growing up and watching Chairman Mao I would have never thought
I was going to ultimately work with anyone from the People’s Republic, or
that they would have ever been a trading partner of ours.

Things change.
Consider - they went on a program of one family per child. This has led to
a great number of only children. If you don’t think that sort of activity
is going to change a demographic in a radical way then you’re discounting
human nature.
One child is less likely to sacrifice because he/she hasn’t had to as often.
Families with one child are a lot less likely to be complacent about seeing
their children fed into a meat grinder of human wave assaults a’la Korea in
1950.
So far the Chi-coms I’ve met are surprisingly, considering my long indoctrination into their evil methodologies, nice people.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Just a reminder. We were all capitalists until about 100 years ago. During that time we had very successful kingdoms and empires with little freedom. China’s leadership is making a switch to capitalism, but making the changes necessary to ensure its continued grip.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe you need capitalism to be free. But having capitalism doesn’t make you free. And with the right tweaks (ie Google) it can be blunted from helping to bring freedom about.

Back in the 80’s Reagan starved the Russians into change. Now we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re propping up a crumbling Communist dictatorship and helping it to adapt and survive.

I look forward with mixed feelings to the day that the Chinese government tells all the foreign business interests, "Thanks for all the technology, investment and know-how you’ve brought to this country, you can leave now. In fact, we insist you do within the next 18 hours".
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Then again, rights are whatever the government makes them, eh?
Since I’ve been asked this and given my answer over and over again, yet you still cannot grasp it — or even just go back and read what I’ve already written, then: "I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
If your computer is your property but it’s use is restricted can that truly be called property rights?
At the risk of committing libertarian heresy, yes, it can. For example, you can’t look up kid porn on your PC, but you consider yourself to have a property right to it.
The problem with "3" is that Google is now complicit not simply in sins of omission, but sins of commission. The searcher is being actively misled as to what is available on the web.
Perhaps a case can be made that Google is committing outright fraud, rather than simply complying with the laws of the country in which it does business. I’m not sure. Businesses often do the same thing, though — i.e., block employee access to websites. Is it fraud if a business network returns a 404 message for a company user, rather than a sign saying "don’t look, get back to work!"?

Anyway, an interesting argument could be had about the degree to which Google ought to comply with Chinese law. That’s an argument on the margins, though and not about whether Google should comply at all.
That’s pretty much been my reaction too, Jon. I will never understand the means by which some come to the conclusion that half a loaf is worse than none.
Principle!
I am becoming more pessimistic every day about the "economic freedom will inevitably lead to political freedom" theory of China. I have seen little evidence so far, Google being only the latest example. I have a feeling that democracy and political freedom in China will only come about after significant bloodshead. The only question is whose blood?
I’m no Sino-psychologist, but I don’t see China engaging in mass revolution. They seem to have a rather compliant — stoic, even — culture, which is far more likely to riot against outsiders (Boxer Rebellion) than their own.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the only way China can change is slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly.
I’m as worried about the slow growth of Chinese political reform as the next guy, but with China’s boom, comes tons of opportunities for people to get more personal power, to complain more, to demand more, and to know more.
I’m a big believer in the idea that free markets will tend to free people. The arrival of a solid middle class in China will mark the arrival of a undeniable demand for freedom, stability and market opportunity. I don’t see how the Chi-coms can resist that.
Henke, you’re advocating a colloboration with evil.
While you, of course, make it a point to buy no Chinese goods. In fact, you only buy goods produced in perfect libertarian countries. Because I’m certain you’d never subsidize Evil.

Me, on the other hand, I’m more practical about these things. I shop at Wal-Mart.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Back in the 80’s Reagan starved the Russians into change. Now we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re propping up a crumbling Communist dictatorship and helping it to adapt and survive.
I don’t think we actually did do that. In fact, we traded with the Russians quite a bit, and — towards the end — tried to open up their markets. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single communist nation that we brought over to freedom via embargo. I mean, how’s that worked out with Cuba?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Real well....and it’s worked so well it might spread to Venezuela.

Ah, but probably not, they have oil, not sugar and cigars, we already
know we’ll deal with Oil rich nations that don’t have a governmental style
we like.
Meanwhile the rest of the world thinks our embargo on Cuba is a joke, and
our continental neighbors Canada and Mexico, and even our good buddy the UK
actively trade with them.
But we still have an embargo, and Cuba still has Fidel.
And we still stare across a mere 90 miles of ocean at a failed governmental concept kept alive in part by it’s ability to continually demonize the beast to their north.

But no, let’s pretend that you can force feed democratic ideals to people who
have had little to no experience with them, and let’s cut them off altogether so we can maintain pure principles instead of practical principles.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I wonder if this strategy is maybe a little dangerous for Google, from the point of view of trust — assuming there’s no way for a user to tell if results are being censored, then people in other countries could start to wonder whether Google might be playing games with their results as well.

But I wouldn’t worry about Google "cooperating with evil" until the point where they comply with a Chinese government request for all IP addresses that searched for forbidden words & phrases.
 
Written By: kenB
URL: http://
I don’t think we actually did do that. In fact, we traded with the Russians quite a bit, and — towards the end — tried to open up their markets. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single communist nation that we brought over to freedom via embargo. I mean, how’s that worked out with Cuba?
We couldn’t have locked them down trade-wise any tighter in the first of the 1980’s if we had build a physical wall around them.

It was only after this lockdown that the ’openess’ began. Basically in return for showing some movement towards changes not limited to just a free market did we start trading again. We rewarded good behavior. We didn’t reward them & then wait for the good behavior to materialize.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Aparently, Google only censors searches that are spelled correctly.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
If your computer is your property but it’s use is restricted can that truly be called property rights?
Well, actually, China isn’t controlling your use of your computer. China is controlling your access to the government-controlled network that provides the connection to the internet. So, to be precise, the Chinese government is restricting the use of their property by the general public.

The computer user doesn’t own the network. The Chinese government does.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
If you want to understand what goes on in the minds of the Google guys I suggest reading "The Google Story" by David Vise and Mark Malseed. As it turns out they are a bunch of ultra liberals, so it comes as no surprise to me that they would ignore their "Don’t be Evil" philosophy, after all to a liberal the concept of evil is just relative.
 
Written By: Kolomona
URL: http://www.tsickist.com
Dale’s point is well taken.

To it, I would add that there’s a major difference between monitoring access to, say, kiddie porn sites and using Google to that end, for example... and shutting off access to all sites which don’t happen to match the political philosophy of whoever is in power.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon Henke wrote:
"Since I’ve been asked this and given my answer over and over again, yet you still cannot grasp it — or even just go back and read what I’ve already written, then: "I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.""
However, nothing you have written challenges the validity of inherent human rights being a natural law. You’ve been missing the point.

May God have mercy on your soul.

As for your kidie porn means peoperty rights aren’t real, the thing is that you can swing your fist until it hits someone on the nose.

I have to wonder deeply about the moral health and sanity of someone who can’t see why inherent human rights are a natural law and also can’t see that watching kiddie porn is hitting a kid in the nose.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom;
Correct.
It’s apparently outside the his realm of experience that someone could really understand his position and still label it cow dung. He’s like the true- beleiver communists... who to this day think the only reason Communism never did well is because it simply wasn’t understood.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
However, nothing you have written challenges the validity of inherent human rights being a natural law.
I don’t have to prove a negative. You have to prove a positive. All I have to do is swing the dead cat in your church and walk away unscathed.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"I don’t have to prove a negative. You have to prove a positive. All I have to do is swing the dead cat in your church and walk away unscathed."

Wrong. We both have to make good cases for our positives, differing views of how best to describe the human reality. Thinking we had something to prove and you didn’t—if that’s what was going on—that was your first big screw up. Yes, you had something to prove, and you didn’t.

And as for swinging the cat, you were IN the barn and still missed the walls. You halfway agreed with me and then never addressed my other points except to reiterate your points and views while never explaining why yours were better—what problems they solved better, what better results they produced, or what uneeded or problematic complications my views caused. Whenever we pointed out a complication of your views, you just dismissed them as being a "consequentalist" argument, and you seemed to take as a given that consequentialist arguments are invalid. The idea that the historically seen empirical results of your view (in some form or another) are "consequentialist" and hence can’t be used as evidence against your views...

...How very convenient a rule for you to make up for yourself.

And we see here a complication raised by your erroneous views of human nature, and best principles to apply to organizing human societies.

You wrote:

"At the risk of committing libertarian heresy, yes, it can. For example, you can’t look up kid porn on your PC, but you consider yourself to have a property right to it."

Not recognizing natural law in human rights, you think it’s somehow an imposition on property rights that society through governemnt penalizes the use of personal property to view kiddie porn. Either that or you are saying that there is a contradiction between personal property rights and such penalization that someone has to mentally gloss over. Such contradictions arise in neither worldview in fact, because in yours, society’s might makes right—in your view, society could decide its ok to do it and suddenly it is— (I’m sorry, your argument ineleuctably boils down to that, with no greater common insight to appeal to). In the natural rights view, you can’t look at kiddie porn because you never have a right to look at kiddie porn, it’s damaging to kids.

I find nothing but moral and philosphical confusion on your part in this statement:

"For example, you can’t look up kid porn on your PC, but you consider yourself to have a property right to it."

Maybe you could rephrase more clearly what you meant by this.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"on property" /= "on societally accorded property" Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom, you guys are making normative arguments — "ought" arguments. I’m not. I’m arguing that there is no transcendent "ought". I can’t prove a negative.
Maybe you could rephrase more clearly what you meant by this.
Assuming the pictures were taken with consent, whose rights do you violate by viewing a 16 year old nude? Who has the "right" to initiate force against you for viewing consentual pictures? (spare me the argument that one is incapable of making such a choice at 16 or 17, but suddenly and spontaneously becomes capable of doing so on their 18th birthday)
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"I can’t prove a negative."

Then you shouldn’t argue a negative unless you have a strong intellectual masochist streak. Your views imply a positive, that society creates rights, try arguing that.

Or give up on opposing the idea of a natural law descringing rights as being inherent ot an individual.

"Assuming the pictures were taken with consent, whose rights do you violate by viewing a 16 year old nude? Who has the "right" to initiate force against you for viewing consentual pictures? (spare me the argument that one is incapable of making such a choice at 16 or 17, but suddenly and spontaneously becomes capable of doing so on their 18th birthday)"

The arbitrary decision of when the full legal use of their rights can be made by an individual is made by society. That is a pragmatic solution. It does not impugn the idea that full human rights might be inhering to a given individual at either an earlier or later age than that arbitrarily defined by law.

You imagine contradictions where none exist. Also, being aware of the fact above, most states permit "emancipation" proceeding whereby a minor is accorded full or some specific legal powers of an adult at an age younger than that otherwise prescribed in law, so you can’t say the arbitray legal formalisms don’t recognize the actual reality of individual human rights being, err, individual in details by age.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Oh forever more:

"Or give up on opposing the idea of a natural law descringing rights as being inherent ot an individual."

/=

"Or give up on opposing the idea of a natural law descrinbing rights as being inherent to an individual."

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I find it amusing that you proceed from arguing that society doesn’t create "rights" to arguing that society gets to decide when you have "rights". Nevertheless...
Then you shouldn’t argue a negative unless you have a strong intellectual masochist streak. Your views imply a positive, that society creates rights, try arguing that.
I also cannot prove that there’s no such thing as a "soul". I do not plan to begin believing in souls because of my inability to prove their non-existence.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"Tom, you guys are making normative arguments — "ought" arguments. I’m not. I’m arguing that there is no transcendent "ought"."
Absolutely we’re making ought arguments. Where’d you get the idea that was invalid?

Of course, we’re also making is arguments.

We are describing the human reality as being best described by a natural law of inherent individual rights, and that what society ought to do is to organize itself along principles that rescpect that reality. It is also a predictive statement, making the claim that which societies best respect those rights in their organizations are the ones which will be happiest, most productive, and most peaceful.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Henke wrote:

"I find it amusing that you proceed from arguing that society doesn’t create "rights" to arguing that society gets to decide when you have "rights". Nevertheless..."

I think its hysterically funny that you conflate the pragmatic understanding that society generally has the might to decide what rights you can legally exercise with rights either A) not being created by society but instead society’s evolution, or some such mumbo jumbo handwaving, with all the problems that creates or B)the idea that natural rights don’t in fact exist at all.

There is simply no contradiction between society generally having the force available to decide what natural rights you can exercise when and how*, and it also being true that the society that best recognizes those rights will be the most productive, happiest, peaceful, etc.

I’ve never argued "that society gets to decide when you have "rights"."

Where on earth do get this bizaare idea?

"I also cannot prove that there’s no such thing as a "soul". I do not plan to begin believing in souls because of my inability to prove their non-existence."

Umm... Okay. Good for you. Nice non sequitor. And have a happy extinction when you die. It’s irrelevant to any of my arguments until and unless we can make predicitive statements about the existence of a soul and see how those predictions turn out.

Now as far as Google goes, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make their level best decisions based on improving the bottom line. I think that clearly requires them to invest in and provides services to China under the restrictions that governemnt requires. Now Google has also claimed it is a "not evil" company, and you might say that is evil by the light of the principles they have otherwise claimed to have for them to do this, but a good argument can be made that the nature of the internet damage/restriction repairing, for example the use of circumlocutions, that having Google instead of an entirely government network is best for producing "not evil" results in the long run. I agree with that argument.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I note without further comment that Jon’s position on this is rather unique, even on the libertarian sites.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon’s position seems to be consistent with post-Revolution (the American one, the one that mattered) Enlightmentment, the part that wasn’t really enlightening. It might also have an unhealthy dash of post-modernism in it. shoulder

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Ehh...Wha’happened? "shoulder" was supposed to have faux html tags of shrug and /shrug around it. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I’m with Jon.

Information wants to be free. It’s been shown any halfway competent Googler can get around the filter.

Also, I’m betting Google is not going out of its way to help the Chinese filter out everything possible. As much flak as they’ve taken on this issue, I think they really do try to be less evil. On the whole, reliable access to Google is probably a boon to civil rights reform in China.

To be clear, I don’t mind seeing Google catch flak for this since it brings some attention to the issue of Chinese oppression. It would be a nice gesture if they took a simple stand on principle here and refused to do business with China, but I’m not sure what it would accomplish.

But otoh, according to their spokespeople today Google barely works in China because they have no local presence. And as you can see, in reality the filtering is basically a joke anyway. And to be fair to Google, afaik they are the only search engine that explicitly states the information is being censored by local government.

To any moderately savvy Chinese computer user, the search is going to tell them "Hey, your government is rather ineptly trying to cover up something here, and with the tiniest bit of effort you can find out what it is they don’t want you to know." So the practical impact may be to create a locked door with the key carelesly left lying on the doormat, where before there was no door at all.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://semirandomramblings.blogspot.com
I wonder if Neo-libertarianism isn’t suffering from mission creep...or at least the perception of it.

What I mean is, the principle of libertarianism is to restrict a government, not a corporation. So why should a neo-libertarian criticize an international corporation for dealing with a non-libertarian, non-democratic government, if that’s where market forces lead that corporation to go?

The only extent that libertarianism (neo- or otherwise) should go is that our government should not get involved, nor restrict us from following our conscience in whether or not to boycott Google.

Right?
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
In this case, Nathan, things not as cut and dried.... what we have is a corporation helping a government’s restriction.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Sure, but I fail to see how a corporation helping a non-democratic govt’s restriction has anything to do with libertarianism, which is a principle related specifically to the relationship between govt and an individual, and particularly detailing the govt’s subordination to individual freedom. Libertarianism does not and should not dictate a corporation’s free choices.

Are you trying to argue that it is a betrayal of freedom and/or libertarian principles to refuse to buy Dixie Chicks CDs, then? That to support freedom of speech one must support all expressions of it, and one must condemn anyone who makes a choice contrary to each and every expression?

That may be unfair, but my (tangentially related) point is: Google had a choice, a free choice, and they made it. Are you seriously advocating reducing their range of choices to bring about the outcome you want? And Google’s choice increases the number of choices that Chinese citizens have now. That’s gotta be a good thing, no?

There are grounds upon which to oppose Google’s choice. There doesn’t seem to be a good libertarian ground upon which to do so.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Libertarianism does not and should not dictate a corporation’s free choices
I guess I’m thinking of it from the standpoint of the people within those companies making the chocies.

Consider, as an examle, Bruce’s listing last week of a bank telling the eminent domain abuses to go to hell. Remember that one? Just because it isn’t a /legal/ requirement doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call for responsible behavior and back that call up with our feet when they don’t act in a manner we feel worthy of support.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Heck, I love what the bank did.
Oppose Google on the grounds of freedom and democracy.
But (correct me if I’m wrong, guys) I think this blog advocates neo-libertarianism within the context of a free and democratic nation. Thus, the issue of a corporation trying to make money by dealing with a non-free government still seems to fall outside the (internally-consistent) mission objectives.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Nate, are you confusing personal action, and action of groups of citizens,(Raising hell on the public channels) with calls for GOVERNMENT action?(IE; governentally based repercussions?)

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
No. But if I understand correctly (always a questionable assumption), it seems like you and Tom are calling Jon, et al, to task for not criticizing Google because they are prominent advocates of (neo-)libertarianism. And I’m just not sure that’s a fair chain of logic.
There is a connection between neo-libertarianism and advocacy for complete liberty worldwide, but not a direct one.
Just like there is a connection for right-to-life issues between the Death Penalty and Abortion, but not a direct one. So you can be pro-Death Penalty and pro-Abortion, anti-Death Penalty and anti-Abortion, or any combination thereof.
In this case, Jon has said that he thinks half a loaf is better than none. You guys seem to be saying that if we allow China to get away with giving only half a loaf, we doom people to eternal starvation. Good points, both of them, but neither is, nor should be, dictated by advocacy of neo-libertarian issues for U.S. govt and society.
Now, if this was just general, run of the mill disagreement and persuasion attempts, then I will sheepishly bow out.

Personally, I’m of the "half a loaf is better than none", but I’m not a neo-libertarian. [shrug]
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Well, you’re right. Half a loaf is better than none. What Jon offers is none.

Eternal starvation? No. But perhaps something worse... for US.

Look, one of the things that’s come up as various dictatorships around the world have fallen and in particular and I’m thinking specifically of the Soviet Union in this, is the people coming back to us and saying why in hell were you supporting that government that was so bad for us , that was killing us, that were suppressing our rights, like nothing was wrong? Solzhenitsyn was one of these. Lech Walesa was another. I shouldn’t have to mention too many more names... you get the idea.

When the Kremlin got opened up and some of the secrets it contained about what went on during the Soviet Unions Rule... monstrous.... simply monstrous. and we supported that with our silence.

Now, before you start... I’m not speaking with regards to government action or government inaction. I’m speaking specifically with regard to the average citizen holding their silence. ( Well, Geee golly whiz, we don’t want to offend the communists. After all, they are our brothers.) We can argue about government getting involved in this exchange of foreign policy basis later if you like. But I consider government action in this case to be far less important than individual voices.

The result of our silence as individuals In the case of the Soviet union and the communist bloc, (in which I would include to buy and the central American countries that it in turn fostered) resulted in the body count that we will never have a decent assessment of... 50 years of absolute abject horror... and all of it completely unnecessary. Had we stood our ground, had we labeled the 50 years of nonsense going on at the U.N. in the name of defense of the Soviet union, much of it could’ve been prevented. and I suspect we would be a lot better shape today internationally speaking. The Russian people don’t really trust to sit the moment. And perhaps with good reason given that we let them languish for so long under despots. All while saying nothing.

The stuff isn’t new, nor is it rocket science. We know what the Chinese are doing, If, by no other means than what communist nations have done previously, while we sat by and did nothing, let alone all the particulars that ahve come up in this case. Label me McCarthyite kook, if you like, the expernece we had with the Soviets is one I’d just as soon not repeat with the Chinese. Agd I see what Jon is proposing to be exactly that; More of the same. That is to the detriment of both us and them.

By comparison let’s discuss Ronald Reagan. Already told it like he saw it; The Soviet Union was an evil empire , and that’s what he called it. We went in one presidency from kissing Soviet ass to "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" and, "we began bombing in five minutes". Funny, how simply identifying a problem and calling it what it is publicly and loudly ended up being the solution to the problem.

History, is nothing but the list of consequences for actions further back into history. What kind of a consequences will attach themselves to the inaction, the business as usual attitude, that Jon proposes? Consequences, that is, for these United States?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Addendum:
but neither is, nor should be, dictated by advocacy of neo-libertarian issues for U.S. govt and society.
I was of the impression, that one of the things that libertarians stood for was freedom for all people. Certainly being involved with policy discussions for U.S. state and local governments in society in general is correct and proper. But are you really arguing that liberty stops at the U.S. border?

Also corrections:
"to Buy"/Cuba
"already/Ol’ Ronnie
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I must have missed where the ’right’ to an internet search engine free from censoring was discovered to be one of man’s natural rights.

Pul-leeese.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So why was freedom of the press IE; freedom of information, listed as a right in the first amendment to the constitution? It’s being there makes a very strong argument for natural rights if we argue that the founders were believers in natural rights. No?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
So why was freedom of the press IE; freedom of information, listed as a right in the first amendment to the constitution?
Who’s Constitution? Certainly not China’s.
It’s being there makes a very strong argument for natural rights if we argue that the founders were believers in natural rights. No?
Uh, no. The Bill of Rights has absolutely nothing to do with natural rights per se.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Who’s Constitution? Certainly not China’s.
That’s right enough, but the question being asked was within the context of natural rights, and that was the context of my response. Further, if we’re talking about Natural rights, how does what is listed in the constitution of a dictatorship ...which by definition wouldn’t respect such rights anyway... matter, really, to the question asked?
The Bill of Rights has absolutely nothing to do with natural rights per se.
A reasonable response given I botched it; That was a poorly put phrase on my part, sorry. I’ll sharpen the focus a bit;

If we argue that the founders were belivers in natural rights, (And I recall Justice Thomas, for example, making such an argument at his confirmation hearing) then it makes sense that some of those rights would have been listed fairly high up within the BOR. If, further, we note that press freedom...(really information freedom, since the press was the only tool to hand in that day).. is in the first amendment, it stands as a pretty fair indication that the founders held this to be among the natural rights, and pretty high on that list, at that.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jeeze Bit, I find it hard to believe that the press is a natural right, or anything associated with the press.

It’s a business, was then, is now.

I think the founders included it because they appreciated that it could potentially (and I use the word deliberately, the Enquirer as an example) be a force for broadcasting information in a reasonably accurate way.
What’s odd is though their freedom to broadcast information is protected, their
requirement to broadcast accurate information, without significant slanting, is not.

It’s pretty much up to them if they want to publish accurate stories
that point out suicide bombers blowing up commuters are not ’freedom fighters’, or if they want to focus on whether or not Ben and Jay-Lo are going to get
back together.
Is that last bit the sort of ’right’ you had in mind?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"I’m no Sino-psychologist, but I don’t see China engaging in mass revolution. They seem to have a rather compliant"

74 THOUSAND violentprotests and/or demonstrations in one year some large enough where the Army had to be called in does not sound that complient to me. ;-)

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/kentuckydan/CommitteesofCorrespondence/index.blog?entry_id=1129562

I have one question if Google is going to Censor internet searches coming OUT of China how long will it be before they start censoring internet searches ABOUT China.

Like the Mainstream Media did with News coming out of Iraq before the Fall of the Ba’athists.

Remember?

Oh we HAD to let the Iraq governemtn tell us what News to report or they might have cut off our access.
 
Written By: Dan Kauffman
URL: http://www.angelfire.com/ky/kentuckydan/CommitteesofCorrespondence/
Jeeze Bit, I find it hard to believe that the press is a natural right, or anything associated with the press.
That’s because you live in a world where the free flow of information has many paths. The Founders specified the ’press’ because they were THE source of info in those days. The issue here is information, and the free flow thereof, not the press per se’.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider