We’ve heard a lot of opinions and ideas regarding Facebook over the last few weeks. Most of it noise, regurgitated incessantly by media or media wannabes seeking attention or in vain attempts to cash in on the back of somebody else’s problem. We’ve become accustomed to this in Western societies. We accept it as an annoying side effect of free markets and the noble goal of protecting free speech.
At this point, as always, one feels compelled to remind friends and readers that some of us are staunch Independents who do not feel any allegiance or affiliation with any political party one way or the other, especially when stating ideas like the following: normally we Indies consider it lesser-minded hyperbole when we hear so-called Conservatives complain about the over-arching Liberalism of the academic community and their “zealous over-regulatory socialist agenda”.
We also often chuckle to ourselves when we hear the so-called Left making equally short sighted comments about the ruthless heartlessness of so-called Conservatives. We understand that passion and emotion are valuable human assets, but can sometimes cloud reason and logic and muddy what could otherwise be intelligent discourse.
One can find truth in anything if they go looking hard enough, and on occasion, these seemingly ridiculous inflammatory claims and accusations by both extremes in our political melting pot will appear to stem from some fundamental underlying truths… at least in part. The opinion piece published today in Marketwatch by a Mr. Perez-Breva, allegedly an MIT professor, is a perfect example. If not a joke or a deliberate hack to confuse and unsettle democracies or capitalist and democratic ideals, it may just be the dumbest, most ignorant and ill-informed collection of ideas ever penned about the subjects of social media and Big Tech. There is so much wrong here that it seems redundant and superfluous to even bother pointing any of it out specifically, let alone debating it.
But it does seem important enough to read or at least gloss over and share, if for no other reason than to see what we’re up against when well-meaning beneficiaries of capitalism with too much time on their hands begin to take for granted the benefits they derive from the hard work and capital investment of others.
It almost appears as if the author has come to believe that he and others inherently deserve to enjoy the fruits of other people’s inventions, discoveries and companies for free just because they breathe, and if they aren’t allowed to do so or can’t call the shots then they’ll resort to shouting “You fascists are trying to make slaves of us!” Which is exactly what Mr. Perez-Breva does in the attached article, going so far as comparing Facebook to a modern day pharaoh forcing billions of people to “work for free like slaves to build their pyrimids”. It may sound far fetched and small minded and thus nothing more than a humorous, innocuous sound byte. But the underlying ignorance and arrogance in these kind of casually extremist claims are dangerous, if not at the very least insulting.
Besides the innumerable obvious problems this kind of thinking potentiates in a free society built on free market capitalist ideals, perhaps the most disturbing and over-looked aspect of this train of thought is that real slavery still exists in our world. It is dark depressing deadly and terrifying. And it is INVOLUNTARY, unlike opening a free Facebook or Twitter account or searching for something online using tools like Google. Any comparison to the real thing is insensitive and irresponsible, despite how cute or cheeky the author may believe he or she is being.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone