Friday, June 20, 2008

Lobbying is a business expense

It's Friday evening. The Mighty Sparrow is singing about the Village Ram, and I am about to enter that sweet and oblivious twilight zone of speculation that I so do love.

Dad, what does 'Ram' mean in english? Bloody hell.

Anyhow. Today. Google.

Google really really really needs to start doing some serious lobbying NOW. For a confluence of reasons. First, for all the anti-competitive monopoly of GOOG's competitive position, it ain't the government. I hate google less than I hate the US government. Faint praise, I agree. But second, google has quite obviously staked its competitive well being on the openness of the internet, and that is, equally obviously, under serious attack.

People reading slashdot already know about the end of he world. For the rest of you ... let me fill you in. Pretty much everywhere, the tremendous corruption of what pathetically passes for government -- worldwide -- is closing in on the newest means of communication. Remember when they though that TV was going to be something revolutionary? Me neither. And the internet is going to end up in the same place. Here's how.

First, they're going to pass all these absurd laws on the basis of the ever-predominant logic of the modern nation state -- the Emergency. If we don't spy on everyone all the time, the terrorists will obviously win. Forget about the fact the US is the leading terrorist organization in the world, and in fact is is the only state condemned by the UN for said reason. And forget about the fact that ... you know ... they're are gay people that might hear us. Shhhh. No spying = terrorism.


Pause -- refill -- and so then where was I ... right, then ... the end of the world. Basically, my reflection was simply that the internet is going to turn into something dramatically more pedestrian than what it potentially could be, and than what I think many of us secretly think it might be and want it to be. And this will occur, true to historical form, through government regulation. Precisely the fascist combination of government and business that sponsored the last atrocity when they took the radio and used it to kill millions.

Little matter to to me that the US chose to pursue a career in pornography ... err ... mass destruction. However, this makes it hard for me, Thor-like-plastic-lawn-chair-seated-South -American-hedge-fund-manager to conservatively invest in google. That's right, the US government is fucking with my right, my fucking divine right, to make BIG BIG fucking money. And that's what really busts my chops.

Google has thrown it's lot in with the open-ness of the internet. It's a a clear philosophical principle of the company. And it can just simply be a bad bet, financially, and politically. Remember, for as monopolistic situation as google has built, the providers of the access to its services are also a very small oligopoly, and they have already proven that they know how to use the political system to their benefit. Google is falling behind in the lobbying arms race. They need to prevent the mine-shaft-gap or they simply won't exist, having been replaced by the government/ISP security alliance that takes over the role of spying on he consumer. The question is not whether the consumer wants to be spied on or no (let's face it, the sheep want no privacy) the question is merely who does the spying, and the only important part of the answer is that it not be the same guy that puts people in jail, collects their taxes and drafts them into the army if necessary. What we really need is not more government, but many many more governmentS.

Google is our best hope for the dissonant decoupling of the federal government.

This post is brought to you buy the letter F, for FREEDOM.

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