While I generally admire your writing, this piece is a bit one-sided.

I have trouble imagining Facebook as the innocent victim of anything, along with Google and the rest of that select batch of titans. At this point, they are much larger as transnational players than any government that goes after them, and fully able to defend themselves.

Anti-competitive behavior is precisely what it says, and we've had a bloody feast of it. I don't see this handful of mega-corporations as morally superior to their governments.

Technological innovation is a fine thing, but not the only fine thing. Responsibility in time of global pandemic is also a fine thing, and so is being an honest broker in the dissemination of dangerous falsehoods that jeopardize our democracy. Sometimes the consensus view has value in the face of self-seeking malice and stupidity. You can't assume that "out-of-consensus" equals "virtuous." Sometimes it equals "toxic."

The consistent irresponsibility of big business going back centuries will never go away. And that guarantees we will always have governments providing the guard rails that rapacious greed resents.

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fair comment. i'd argue choosing between incompetent and malicious governments or being left to the mercy of "rapacious" corporations is a false dichotomy. i'll spend a bit more time thinking about the alternatives. on your point re: democracy, i don't believe we operate in a democracy anymore. if we use anacyclosis as a guide, arguably we are trending towards ochlocracy, but the tools of decentralized / distributed organization arguably could be leveraged to create a third option that isn't anarchy (corporate dystopia) or totalitarianism (big brother government), but something where individuals have more freedom and governments do not control the means of production. perhaps including facebook in the above commentary was unnecessary, as they represent the antithesis of open society in many ways. appreciate the feedback.

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Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Our American ideal of democracy has always been something to aspire to rather than an accomplished fact. The Golden Rule that "thems with the gold makes the rules" has always been a guiding principle from the Founding Fathers on down.

If a third way apart from business or government is making itself visible, it's of a splintered population walled off into tribal groups based on incompatible basic facts and assumptions. Technological innovation seems to have produced a splintered society that can't agree on anything.

As for Big Tech, their starting position seems to be that they should enjoy the fruits of capitalism without any of the accompanying responsibilities. If being a good corporate citizen requires them to forgo the last tiny bit of profit, it will only happen when they anticipate and try to disarm popular pushback channeled through the instrument of government. Left to their own devices, executive compensation appears to be their primary concern.

As for Orwell, during WWII, his wife worked in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information, while he organized overseas propaganda broadcasts for the BBC. So the ideal and the real didn't quite converge for him either.

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