The following is an excerpt from a larger work in progress, tentatively titled Intelligence Hath No Party. I plan to post a working draft at IntelHathNoParty.com in the near future.
“the basis of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is baneful; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue… applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie [nation].”
— Maximilien Robespierre [1a]
Neither I nor my firm own shares in Google. I do not have any ties to (nor do I desire to be an apologist for) Google.
This piece is the first in a series which uses the topic of monopolies to discuss consequences of faulty and often partisan arguments. Foremost, when you use bad arguments for your purposes today, what happens to you when your opponents use them tomorrow.
One week ago today the United States Department of Justice, with Attorneys General from eleven states, filed an antitrust suit against Google. There might be plenty of legitimate cases the Justice Department could pursue against Google. They are the most opaque of the tech giants. They have the most access to our sensitive data and messages. And a more imperceptible issue: they are one of the few big tech firms, along with Microsoft and Apple, not run by a founder (i.e. no clear person where “the buck stops”). Claims against Google’s search engine and other proprietary technology, however, loom tenuous. The case seems less directed at substantive overreach than an effort to bring Google down a notch for the sake of slightly-less-big-tech. If the Justice Department really believes the problem is Google placing services on its own software or paying billions to Apple for default positioning, they would have been better off spending taxpayer dollars on a more explicit anti-Google search engine awareness campaign. …