James Damore’s firing this week has uncovered a truth we need to face: the internet giants have become monopoly utilities. And it’s time we started treating them as such. Their bias has had too much of an effect on our political process to ignore.
For those who are still catching up: Google employee James Damore issued a ten page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”. In it he contested Google orthodoxy that the proportional lack of women in the tech industry was a problem rooted in sexism and “toxic masculinity”. More so, their commitment to this orthodoxy has created a terrifying culture where nobody’s allowed to dissent or argue.
For this, he was immediately fired. This was a direct violation of California labor laws, which “prohibit employers from retaliating in any way (including through wrongful termination) against an employee for his/her political beliefs or activities.”
The ensuing internet firestorm was quick and devastating. This wasn’t just about Damore being fired immediately after his memo. Now other Google employees are coming out with how Google suppresses search results it doesn’t find politically correct.
For those who are obsessing about the Russia collusion story, if they were anything other than partisan hacks, this should be terrifying. If Russia collusion had a distant star’s effect upon our election, Google’s effect is like the Sun itself.
Keep in mind Google doesn’t just decide what you see when you search. They also own YouTube, which is already purging and demonetizing conservative voices from its platform. To the point where even innocent apolitical Youtubers like Pewdiepie have been getting redpilled by the smears and repression they’ve encountered.
So what’s the solution to all this? The pure laissez-faire solution is to just leave the platform. People are already switching search providers to Bing. But really, given Google’s reach, there’s only so much we can do privately. They are a major provider of cloud services, identity management, search services, you name it. Really, they’ve become a utility. Leaving them is about as easy as leaving your cable provider or electricity provider – yes it’s technically possible but going off the grid isn’t very efficient economically.
I’ve talked before about what we can do with internet giants that have become politically damaging. In light of recent events it’s worth expanding on it:
- Sites like Facebook and Google/Youtube have worked for years to become established online public spheres. As such, they are liable to the same 1st amendment laws that malls are. We need to extend current laws to the online sphere.
- We need an investigation into how these internet giants are swaying elections in their favor. If the alleged Russia collusion had a distant star’s effect on our 2016 election, Google’s effect is like the Sun itself.
- Loathe as we Republicans are to institute new regulations, we have to consider treating internet giants like a utility, and regulating them as such. If they monopolize the public sphere, they can’t be allowed to manipulate it in their favor. This kind of manipulation makes 19th century political machines seem like child’s play.
I think these principles are a good start to bringing internet giants to heel and making them a contribution to our democracy and not a brake on it. And may I add – it’s quite the irony that the Democrats and the left, the champions of government intervention, all of a sudden turn laissez-faire whenever a company does something they support – no matter how illegal or immoral.