We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Against Despair

9th August 2017

Kevin Williamson is shook up.

At the nation’s leading technology company, an engineer has been blacklisted for having unpopular political views, and, rather than recoil from this, the nation’s young people have in no small part celebrated Google’s exercise in suppression. This is a reminder that Mohandas K. Gandhi’s mathematical observation goes both ways. Gandhi famously informed the British authorities that Indian independence was inevitable inasmuch as a few hundred thousand Englishmen could not hope to control a few hundred million Indians if those Indians did not cooperate. The despair-inducing converse of this fact is that tyranny is never really imposed on a population from the outside. The people are almost always collaborators in their own repression: Germans, Russians, Venezuelans, and, in time, Americans.

The Google situation is a particularly maddening example of a strange modern phenomenon — the vulnerable person who is so exquisitely sensitive that he can act simultaneously as hostage and hostage-taker. One Google apologist noted that some of the firm’s employees were so distraught by . . . the discussion of opinions at variance with their own . . . that they stayed home from work. Those kinds of shrill theatrics used to be called “hysteria,” but we’ve all been taught that that is a horribly sexist word, which means that we’ll need a new word to describe women who are so emotionally incontinent that they become non-functional human beings when it is suggested that they are emotionally less continent than maybe they could be.

The engineer in question had argued that Google’s closed corporate culture created an echo chamber marked by ruthlessly enforced conformity. Google proved him right.

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