It is extraordinarily easy to rationalise an act which goes against your own beliefs. Personal reasons, legal reasons, or even cultural reasons can be blamed for such breaches of faith, and most of us do it at some point or another in our lives, whether it be against our political beliefs, our religious or cultural beliefs, or even to control or modify personal relationships. We use voodoo logic to rationalise something that seems to go against every principle we have ever claimed to support, and we end up believing our own spin, or that of another person/group/organisation/government, even if we disagree with it – because (we attest) it’s “easier” to make change incrementally, rather than revolutionise a system.
Of course, it’s not easier to make changes from the inside, and as a mole in a larger system, we end up reinforcing a culture rather than systematically breaking it down. We become hypocrites.
There are many examples of rationalising the wrong choice that I can see around me today. But probably the best example of this is the decision by Google to work effectively in China, by agreeing to censor results in line with Chinese government policy. Read the blog post rationalising the decision to prioritise functionality over freedom of speech.
Once you’ve read this apparently logical and reasonable post, then read the November 2005 letter from Vint Cerf to the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the US House of Representatives on draft telecommunications legislation … The ideological conflict between the two statements is profound.
Those rationalising the wrong choice would argue that the two statements cover very different topics, but that just isn’t the point. When you take a stand and argue for net neutrality, openness and freedom of speech, and then even reluctantly act in accordance with the policies of censorship and restricted access, you are being hypocritical. That is the point.
And I am positive that Google will suffer from this act.