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Free Minds & Free Markets

Franklin Foer's Tech-Panic Manifesto

Pessimism by numbers

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, by Franklin Foer, Penguin Press, 272 pages, $27

Penguin PressPenguin PressIf you want to sell a book about tech policy these days, there's an easy formula to follow.

First you need a villain. Google and Facebook should suffice, but if you can throw in Apple, Amazon, or Twitter, that's even better. Paint their CEOs as either James Bond baddies bent on world domination or naive do-gooders obsessed with the quixotic promise of innovation.

Then you repackage some old chestnuts about commercialism or false consciousness. Add a dash of pop psychology and behavioral economics. Be sure to include a litany of woes about cognitive overload and social isolation.

Finally, come up with a juicy Chicken Little title. Maybe something like World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.

Wait—that one's taken. It's the title of Franklin Foer's latest book, which follows this familiar techno-panic template almost perfectly.

Foer's arguments may not break any new ground, but he has managed to bring together in one tome the three dominant fears of modern tech criticism: the death of journalism and high culture, the growth of unstoppable tech conglomerates, and the rise of isolated, distracted individuals. This trifecta of troubles is leading us down a "terrifying trajectory," Foer says. It is eroding "the integrity of institutions," even "altering human evolution."

It all sounds quite ominous. But it isn't any more convincing than those other anti-technology texts.

Foer, a correspondent for The Atlantic, begins by admitting he's more than a little bitter about his own run-in with a Silicon Valley do-gooder. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes bought a stake in The New Republic in 2012, then hired Foer to serve as editor of the magazine. But the relationship deteriorated quickly, and Foer was dismissed two years later.

Foer's experience with Hughes serves as the foundation for his fusillade against the technology sector. Echoing themes already developed in books by Andrew Keen (The Cult of the Amateur), Lee Siegel (Against the Machine), Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget), and Mark Helprin (Digital Barbarism), Foer rails against Silicon Valley's "assault on journalism" and "war on professional writers," charging the internet with the "death of the author" and the "collapse of the economic value of knowledge."

Like many in his profession, Foer isn't a fan of journalism being a business at all. While originally viewing Hughes as a "savior" ready to subsidize a magazine, Foer soured on him once the dreaded demands of popularity and profitability entered the picture. His indictment goes well beyond that, though. Foer lambasts what he calls the GAFA cabal (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) for an ethos that is allegedly "disrespectful of authority." GAFA isn't just undermining journalism: Its members are fighting a "war on free will" and aim "to impose their values and theological convictions on the world."

Yet Foer is all for the theology of the old media order. He falls into a long list of critics who are nostalgic for a time when supposedly enlightened gatekeepers served as the "guardians of intellectual seriousness." Foer suggests that the recent artisanal food movement and "buy local" farmers market model might offer a framework for a better media age. But there already are plenty of specialized community websites and digital services tailored to almost every imaginable interest. Foer just doesn't like so many of them being associated with big platforms like Facebook.

So the erstwhile editor wants the government to step in. Specifically, he wants Washington to "wage war" against these "ascendant monopolies" that "aspire to encompass all of existence." With this call to antitrust arms, Foer joins the big-is-bad chorus of Tim Wu (The Master Switch), Jonathan Zittrain (The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It), Siva Vaidhyanathan (The Googlization of Everything), and others.

A generation ago, many of the same monopoly concerns were raised about Microsoft, MySpace, AOL Time Warner, Blackberry, and Motorola, all of which allegedly possessed unassailable market power. But the decline of yesterday's villains doesn't enter Foer's narrative, so he doesn't feel the need to address the possibility that creative destruction will shake up information markets again.

What really seems to offend Foer is not the scale of the modern tech giants but the scale of their objectives. Oh, the vanity of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk dreaming of colonizing Mars! Even short of space travel or electric cars, Foer stares down his nose at talk of making all the world's information more accessible or just creating big online communities and shopping experiences.

Some of Foer's arguments are contradictory. He worries that tech titans have "given rise to a new science that aims to construct products that pander to the tastes of their customers." Just a paragraph later, he frets about homogenization. It's hard to see how giant corporations can be guilty of giving a diverse citizenry all the different things they demand while also apparently denying them any real choices.

Regardless, he understands that under the modern antitrust worldview, he's going to have a hard time rallying regulators around the flag of—in his own words—"rejecting the primacy of convenience and low prices." Competition policy has been oriented around those two values for years, after all. Now that we have abundant affordable choices, Foer wants to rewrite the rulebook to suggest that too much of a good thing is bad for consumer welfare.

One reason for the success of big platforms and aggregators is that consumers appreciate not only lower monetary costs but also lower transaction costs. It's simpler to notify your family and friends about a new baby when Facebook puts them all just a click away. Need to sell that old junk in your garage? Craigslist and eBay make that a lot easier, too. And Amazon and Google satisfy your shopping and search needs in a frictionless fashion compared to the past. If Foer has his way and government starts encumbering these activities by undoing efficiency enhancements, consumers aren't likely to be soothed by explanations that diminished choices or higher prices are all for their own good.

Photo Credit: © Birdigol/Dreamstime.com

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  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    It Came From The Silicon Valley

  • Crusty Juggler||

    BUCS has seen it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Roboerotica is the future we need, but do not deserve.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    +2 reasons to watch Terminator 3

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    I dislike these tech companies for a different reason: their unrelenting lust for our private information. However, the majority of the population doesn't seem to mind or at least tolerates it as long as they get what they want (Hell, I hate it, but I still have a Google account despite my best judgement. Fucking android.); so I can't blame Google and the like too much for wanting to capitalize.


    The author of this book should do some introspection. It's very easy to blame other people or things; it's very easy to claim oneself as a victim; it's also dangerous. I hope one day he will have an epiphany.


    Also I'm still salty over yesterday's absence of delicious links. Doesn't Reason know that I subsist off of them?

  • Shirley Knott||

    Reason knows.
    Reason doesn't care.
    [/commentariat]

  • SQRLSY One||

    Du Bist eina Vagina,

    I like your Nome de Plume! As for me, Ich bin ein bear's weiner!

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    Danke, JFK.

  • Phred||

    "eina"

    Wtf is that.

  • SQRLSY One||

    We are word-playing etc. in German. In German, as in some other languages, EVERYTHING has a sex, male, female, or neuter. The chain, the ceiling, they sky... They all have a sex. You have to use der-die-or-das instead of "the", and "a" is "ein" or "eina" as I recall. So to speak proper German, you have to memorize the "sex" of every noun!

    Some jokes for you in "pidgin German".

    What is the German name for Vaseline?
    VeinerSchlieder!

    What is the German name for a bra, AKA an "over the shoulder boulder holder"?
    A Schtopp-em-from-Floppen!

  • Agammamon||

    They have a gender, not sex. And the cishetshitlords are #triggering me with their binary grammar!

  • Phred||

    No, you are incorrect.

    It is "eine" with an e, not an a. Eina is not a German word.

    That's why I was asking what it was.

  • ||

    Next person who says 'existential threat' and I club a baby seal.

    I'm no fan of Facebook or Google (and their ridiculous, thoughtless, puerile progressive leanings), but Foer's proposals are dumb ideas borne from a stale and jaded brain.

    Why must we always ask the government to 'step in' and 'fix' things? Haven't people realized by now it makes things worse?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The worst existential threat I've had is when our teacher forced us to read Nausea.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You know the answer. Because without government, they'd just be another loony with few followers and no money. But government brings the chance of going for the jackpot -- act loony enough, rant enough, and just maybe you can freak out enough people, get on enough talk shows, and rustle up a congress critter or two to push some regulator somewhere to decide that new regulations will save his job long enough for him to collect his pension, possible even getting their own personal lotto jackpot of a promotion or two in the process.

  • Social Darwinist||

    Foer's and his companions position is just the fear of change. Technology and the companies driving it are changing how we live in many aspects. In Foer's case, he's afraid of the change to journalism. I'm in my 50's and a news junkie so I love the advancements. The amount, sources, and variety available to me today was unthinkable just 10 years ago. I understand Foer is nostalgic for the exclusivity journalism once held and he's afraid of the changes brought by technology and pushed by big corporations. As an investor, I recently researched a potential investment with a few Bing searches I had a list of credible financial sites so long I couldn't possibly read all of them. I downloaded an app to my phone that gives me market tracking, news updates, pricing alerts, notification purchases, and research tools. To have all that available almost instantaneously is amazing. Now can I please get a decent weather forecast!

  • Johnny B||

    The government only does ``accurate'' weather forecasts a hundred years out.

  • jb2000||

    All that market stuff is old news by the time you read it. Even back in the ticker tape days that was true. What you want is a "forecast" of tomorrow. So far, nobody's got that crystal ball. But Johnny B is correct to a tenth of a degree.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Sounds like "existential threat" has become an existential threat to baby seals.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Can I help club the baby seal?

  • ThomasD||

    Foer would be merely wrong had he not attempted to make appeals to liberty. Being a collectivist his notions of liberty have nothing to do with actual liberty. It's just plain old bad faith.

  • ThomasD||

    Foer would be merely wrong had he not attempted to make appeals to liberty. Being a collectivist his notions of liberty have nothing to do with actual liberty. It's just plain old bad faith.

  • Alcibiades||

    Foer's just an old-fashioned authoritarian who's ticked off his "intellectual services" are no longer required, or respected, or acknowledged, or relevant...

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Once again, a hysterical mindset only gains any traction by co-opting government on its behalf. Imagine a society which had no coercive government able to be co-opted. Emulate socialism with contracts, whereby participants agree to turn over their wages and property, in various degrees by whatever association they sign up with.

    Clowns like this could blather all they want, start their own contractual associations, rant and rave all they want. But lies which got people to sign up, or fraud which resulted in theft, would backfire as the victims sued and won relief. And lies and fraud is all they'd have -- the early associations would quickly illustrate the consequences of lying to get members and lying to continue taking their money. Rabble rousers would learn to choose between honesty with only a few followers, or blandness to get a lot of willful sheep.

    What none of these idiots would get is a chance at scaring enough useful idiots to get the government on their side.

    That's what bothers me the most about these rabble rousers. They can't get ahead on the legitimacy of their arguments, so instead they lose all rationality in a quest to be the quackiest of quacks, to convince some government regulator somewhere that where there's smoke, there's a chance of fire, and best to stomp it out before it flares up. Everyone else suffers for no reason.

    Fuck off, slavers.

  • Sevo||

    "If you want to sell a book about tech policy these days, there's an easy formula to follow."

    Much easier, requiring even less believable 'evidence':
    Make up a story about some sinister foreign government, say the Russkis, using sophisticated mind control techniques and secretive IT methods of delivering it
    TO AFFECT THE US ELECTIONS!!!!

    Oh, nuts. Already used?

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    Pretty sure I ate their food once and never went back since the "secret sauce" seemed to be "Miracle Whip", but I'm a sucker for their ads. And I can't wait to see the one featuring this new product:

    "Jack in the Box to launch meal tailored to cannabis consumers with the munchies"
    [...]
    "The "Merry Munchie Meal," which will be available at three California locations for a week in January for $4.20, features two tacos, french fries, onion rings, five mini churros, three chicken strips and a small drink."
    http://www.thecannabist.co/201.....ies/95154/

  • DajjaI||

    People are frightened of tech and rightly so. It is very powerful. However giving government control over it is exactly the wrong thing to do. Because they will show Zuckerberg a picture of his face in flames and claim it was drawn by 'ISIS' and tell him to shut down certain accounts. The resulting infringement on free speech is the real danger, as it leads eventually into a Handmaiden's Tale dystopia. No thank you. And yes this is already happening in Germany - the police conduct house-to-house 'anti-xenophobia' facebook raids. This of course only serves to radicalize them.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I just again reported you as spam.

  • DajjaI||

    Even though Reason banned me twice for speaking out against bullying and death threats, I still trust them more than the government.

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    You say that now, but you'll be singing a different tune when The Jacket and his mannequin Gillespie break into your home and kidnap you--forever mining for links so that britches can half-ass it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Technology is only a tool. It isn't necessarily good or evil, but it can change the game for people with different qualitative preferences--and I have a qualitative preference for freedom.

    In the past, technophobia has mostly been about the job-killing aspects of technological advances--and that phobia has pretty much always turned out to be wrong. Just because that aspect of the technology isn't anything to be afraid of doesn't mean there aren't other dangers.

    Social media is an excellent example. People can communicate like never before, and in the early stages of the Arab Spring, they used it to get around state media to communicate with other dissidents, other protestors, to organize peaceful protests, etc. The technology was praised as the thing that made freedom possible.

    What didn't get a lot of attention was that various dictatorships were using social media to track dissidents and their relationships to their friends and families like the dictators never could before. We've had the same experience in the U.S. As soon as technology made sifting through all of phone calls and emails possible, the Fourth Amendment didn't get in the way of the government doing precisely that.

  • DajjaI||

    Aung San Suu Kyi once called for a free press. Now, the dead are used for fake news

    Yep.

  • mtrueman||

    "In the past, technophobia has mostly been about the job-killing aspects of technological advances--and that phobia has pretty much always turned out to be wrong. "

    Let's go back to the days of the Luddites. These were not techno-phobic people, but were technically adept and were responsible for creating and maintaining their own tools etc. Their concern was who was in control of the new technology. They found that increasingly control lay in the hands of others, and this was their objection. Not hatred of technology. I think the same impulse, to want to maintain control over technology and resist this control moving into the hands of others, is evident today. It's mistaken to take this desire for freedom and autonomy for hysteria and panic. It probably goes back to the time when we humans first mastered fire. I'm sure we all wanted to learn how to control fire and not depend on an elite who 'owned' the knowledge of fire making.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Our precise locations are traceable now through GPS on our phones--will they watch everywhere we go in our driverless Uber cars? If the U.S. dollar ever goes blockchain like Bitcoin, it'll be because the government wants to be able trace and tax every single transaction we make and attach it to us personally. How long will the government tolerate me piloting my own motorcycle through traffic in a world of self-driving cars?

    The fact that people are willingly trading their privacy in for convenience doesn't necessarily mean that the world will be better for those who qualitatively prefer privacy to convenience. There is no technological substitute for people who insist on privacy, freedom, respect for individual choice, etc., but the technologies that we're on the cusp of embracing don't necessarily accommodate privacy, freedom, or individual choice. That's what bugs me . . .

    It isn't about jobs or journalism. It's about whether other people's choices--apart from government protection--will accommodate the choice of individuals not to participate. We're so used to thinking about our individual rights in terms of the threats government presents to them, but in the future, we may need to start thinking more about how the government has a legitimate role in protecting an individual's right to make choices for himself that aren't popular with those who sold their privacy, etc. for convenience.

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    As things get more abstracted, the less people will care; be it government or software.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Things have a way of becoming less abstract and more real in the present tense--rather than when we're looking ahead.

    Don't it always seem to go,
    you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?

    When they stop issuing driver's licenses, etc. shit gets real. Shit gets real when you can't make transactions without the government knowing about it and taxing you for it.

    Still, you want to avoid these traps ahead of time. Eventually, we'll cut spending, too, it's just a question of whether we do it on our own terms or do it because the market can no longer finance our debt at an interest rate we can afford. I want them to cut spending now so we can do it on our own terms. Otherwise, when the spending cuts come, there will be a lot of unnecessary agony. We an avoid that by being smart now.

    Same thing with protecting people's individual rights and qualitative preferences for freedom and privacy against the encroachment of some of these technologies and the wishes of the majority. If we want to avoid a lot of unnecessary agony, we better get clear on protecting people's right to make qualitative choices for themselves before shit gets real. The techno-optimist utilitarians won't even get what they want as fast as they want if people aren't convinced that the government will protect their right to make choices for themselves.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Any manifesto not written on a typewriter in a small Montana cabin is garbage.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Fd'A pounds keys harder!

  • Homple||

    I go with "naive do-gooders obsessed with the quixotic promise of innovation" who also like to help governments keep an eye on any dissidents who might want to upset things.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Your post reminds me of Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg. Both siding with the Democrats against the rest of us. Still, I'd rather have Google and Facebook collecting data on us than the government. At least we don't have to pay for it. And their financial interests will be a check on their involvement in politics as they find they lose customers (and their data) due to their politics.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "the "collapse of the economic value of knowledge."

    For those of you who aren't old enough to remember the days before Netscape went public, it used to be that if something was written by a journalist in print, it became a fact as far as most people were concerned.

    There was this television show called "Cheers", and it had a character who was a postman, Cliff Claven, who would make all sorts of outrageous claims. The only way to dispute someone like that's account of the facts was a) to speak louder and with more confidence, b) to go to the library and look it up, or c) to claim to have more knowledge because of educational qualifications.

    Neither the Cliff Clavens of the world nor this journalist can function the way they did now that every idiot in the bar has access to Google in his pocket--and anyone can be fact checked on the spot. Who longs for the days when credibility was afforded to journalists, those who could make appeals to authority, and those who could yell the loudest and speak with the most confidence?

    Only bad journalists and your drunken idiot of an uncle at Thanksgiving, that's who.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yeah, but for every person who tries to find objective info on the interwebs to refute a Claven, there are hundreds of Clavens eagerly posting and tweeting to other Clavens who repost and retweet.

    The internet as library lost out long ago to the internet as industrial gossip.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Basic facts are what they are.

    You can't claim something happened that didn't happen, or visa versa, without people being able to check you on it in real time.

    It used to be that you had to concede on the facts if you didn't know them better, and if you challenged someone on the facts, there was no way for third parties to tell who was right--on the facts.

    People used to just make shit up in conversation--and there was no way for average people to tell.

    In 1977 Woody Allen said, "If life were only like this!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRcMsqCbzWk

    Now it is like that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, climate change "denialism" isn't about the facts or the science so much as it's about people being unwilling to sacrifice their standard of living.

    Arguing with people over the science of climate change is to be off topic. You know why people aren't as passionate about other scientific topics like string theory? It's because no one is trying to use the coercive power of government to force them to sacrifice their standard of living over string theory.

    That isn't about people finding their own facts so much as it's about environmentalists missing the point. The question there isn't about "denialists" making their own facts as much as it's about environmentalists using science to make unscientific claims.

    Example of an unscientific claim: "Polar bears are more important than our standard of living". How much we should be willing to sacrifice for the benefit of other people, future generations, wildlife, etc. is a philosophical, political, economic, ethical, etc. question. Those questions can be informed by scientific observations, but no one's answer to those questions can be refuted through observation in a laboratory. When environmentalists stop answering unscientific questions with scientific answers, maybe climate change "denialists" will stop trying to mine scientific answers of their own.

  • Ariki||

    Media / Government Scientists: All extreme weather is due to climate change and will kill us all.
    IPCC: Low confidence that extreme weather is caused by climate change.

    Media / Government Scientists: Polar bears are drownings and starving due to climate change.
    Science: Polar bear population is largest for the last few hundred years and is growing.

    Media / Government Scientists: Children wont know what snow is!
    Reality: Record snow fall.

    Media / Government Scientists: Australia will never see rain again! We need to spend billions on desalination plants now!
    Reality: Catastrophic Flooding

    Media / Government Scientists: There will be 50 million climate refugees by 2012
    Reality: 0

    I could probably list a hundred more if I tried.

    Climate change skepticism exists for the simple fact that the grand predictions of climate scientists are usually wrong. But rather than admit that the issue is with the fundamental basis of their hypothesis they just double down or come up with fudge factors to "correct" the error and issue more unfounded proclamations.

    Science and scientists suffer from the same failings as all human endeavors that involve massive amounts of money, prestige and power.

    I.e Mann just wants to get that cute grad student to suck his cock. ;o)

    Do I need to spell the rest out on this website?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Even if the science were exactly as they say it is, the important questions still wouldn't have been asked yet--and those questions are about how much of our standard of living we should be forced to forgo in order to save other people, polar bears, future generations, etc.

    There is no science that can answer those questions because they aren't scientific questions. They've been framed as scientific questions to push the qualitative preferences of the left--in an attempt subject the rest of us and our standard of living to the redistributive power of government.

    There are some legitimate environmentalists out there, but they should be livid to have their movement hijacked by people who don't really care about the environment anywhere near as much as they care about putting the kibosh on free market capitalism and using climate change as an excuse.

    Meanwhile, . . .

  • Ken Shultz||

    Buying fire insurance doesn't only make sense when my house is on fire. I shouldn't have to prove that my house is on fire to rationally justify buying fire insurance. I just have to show that the risk is significant enough to justify the cost of insurance and that the cost of insurance is low enough to be a rational purchase. People willingly buy fire insurance every day--wisely and without the coercive power of government.

    Again, the question isn't about science. The question is whether the expense is whether and how much of our standard of living the government should force us to sacrifice. Polar bear fertility rates, melting glaciers or growing glacier fields, rising temperatures, or information about the Medieval Warming Period do absolutely nothing to answer the question of how much or whether the government should force us to sacrifice for other people, other species, or future generations. It simply isn't a scientific question.

  • MoreFreedom||

    True, there is a lot of fake "news" on the internet. But then there is the reputation of the source/website. It's better than letting the NYT just repeat what a politician said, and leading to that being a fact, like you can keep your plan or Benghazi was caused by a video. It also is a great resource for showing the liars we have in politics and the media. Eventually one's own eyes will see the truth, just as we saw for Obamacare and Benghazi.

    Trust is something that takes years to earn, and seconds to lose. And thanks to the internet, what politicians do and say will be following them into the future.

  • ThomasD||

    The point of the exercise was not to affect Cliff, or any of the other Clavens, the audience has always been everyone else.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe the loudmouthed appeal to government-licensed corporate telescreen vidiocy as a source of relevant information, comrades. This is the epistemological equivalent of appeals to government-funded-and-controlled schools as a source of knowledge or competence at making inferences.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's true that being knowledgeable had more currency back when there was no better way to make sure you were right on the facts than to hire someone with a lot of knowledge or fund a fact checking department--but looking back on those days with nostalgia amounts to wishing your readers were as ignorant like they used to be. I wish they taught more critical thinking than they used to, now that knowing the facts by memory isn't as important as it used to be--but a democratically elected government has a vested interest in not teaching voters critical thinking. Authoritarian governments have the same vested interest, only more so.

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    Speaking as "That Knowledgeable Guy", I'm continually surprised by how lazy people actually are about looking things up on their phone/computer. I still share my knowledge with little fear of contradiction.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Progs will never stop.

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    Sensationalism sells. Just ask Al Gore.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "disrespectful of authority." GAFA isn't just undermining journalism: Its members are fighting a "war on free will" and aim "to impose their values and theological convictions on the world.""

    This book is more telling alt the state and attitudes of establishment journalists than anything else. Authority is the ultimate ideal. The gatekeepers of information are being supplanted!

    There's lots to be worried about with Google, Facebook et al, the irony is, the worry is that these companies are becoming institutions not unlike the establishment media that's being

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Disrupted.

  • Du Bist eina Vagina||

    "GAFA" can at least be subverted and fail. It's almost impossible to get away from big brother. So the guy wanting these companies to be nationalized disturbs me more than Crusty's salacious love affair with BUCS.

  • mtrueman||

    "A generation ago, many of the same monopoly concerns were raised about Microsoft, MySpace, AOL Time Warner, Blackberry, and Motorola, all of which allegedly possessed unassailable market power. "

    A generation ago it was inconceivable to buy a computer for which one had no root access, or administrative privileges. Now it's the norm with cell phones. This is not freedom. To be free, one needs to be in control. What we've seen over the past generation is dependency and subordination to the whims of those in control. Google, for example, always willing to collaborate with governments of all stripes, against us. Concern over this is not panic or hysteria.

  • Deflator Mouse||

    What a bunch of horrible examples on the part of the author.

    MySpace was only "dominant" in the infancy of social media. It never achieved close to the ubiquity of FB.

    AOLTW was never dominant in any industry. AOL was competing with direct Internet connections almost from the beginning.

    Blackberry and Motorola were competing with each other; again, Motorola was only dominant in the cell phone industry when cell phones were a luxury.

    The only decent example is Microsoft. But even there, MS got hit with antitrust sanctions and fell into the Xerox/Kodak trap of hoping a new technology went away rather than embracing it.

  • sarcasmic||

    The only reason Blackberry is still in business is because of government contracts.

  • Phred||

    AOLTW was never dominant in any industry"

    This is stupidly wrong.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Um... to be free one needs to not be coerced. Dictators are the murderers who need "to be in control."

  • mtrueman||

    To maximize the full potential of a computer, one needs administrative privileges. One is not free to do this unless one has root access. Then you have control over the computer. You don't need to be a murderer to do this. It was the norm until not so long ago.

  • barfman2017||

    Now it's the norm with cell phones. This is not freedom.

    Freedom means doing what you want, not getting what you want. Freedom does not mean that you deserve things, including rootable phones, because you exist.

    *barf*

  • mtrueman||

    "Freedom does not mean that you deserve things, including rootable phones, because you exist."

    Never said it did, barfboy.

  • Number 2||

    "Short of antitrust intervention, he suggests that large digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook be converted into public trustees with amorphous fiduciary responsibilities. He sees federal licensing of broadcasters as a potential model."

    Of course he does.

    Anyone who thinks regulating "large digital intermediaries" like broadcasters, or who thinks that handing any aspect of the internet to the FCC for regulation in the "public interest" will protect consumers and encourage innovation, should read "The Political Spectrum" by Thomas W. Hazlett, or "Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio" by Tom Lewis — or watch the documentary film Ken Burns produced based on the latter. Pay particular attention to how FM radio, an improvement in technology over AM comparable to the improvement of broadband over dial-up, was consistently frustrated and hindered by the FCC at the behest of industry insiders who did not want competition from a vastly superior innovation. That is what regulating online communication "like broadcasters" will look like. I wish the net neutrality numbskulls would remember this.

  • mtrueman||

    "That is what regulating online communication "like broadcasters" will look like."

    At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation. Under the system as it stands, we are at the mercy of secret government/corporate collusion where there is a total lack of transparency and accountability.

  • Sevo||

    "At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation."

    Trueman posts this sort of happy horse-shit on a regular basis.

  • sarcasmic||

    Wow dude, that's a whole lot of stupid.

    Regulation shields big companies from accountability because as long as they work within the rules (that they help the regulators to write through secret government/corporate collusion) they are not only immune from lawsuits, but they write the rules in such a way as to keep competitors out of the market.

    Reality is the exact opposite of what you just stated.

  • ||

    Pretty much.

  • mandel||

    I dislike these tech companies for a different reason: their unrelenting lust for our private information. However, the majority of the population doesn't seem to mind or at least tolerates it as long as they get what they want (Hell, I hate it, but I still have a Google https://tinyurl.com/y83723ww account despite my best judgement. Fucking android.); so I can't blame Google and the like too much for wanting to capitalize.

  • mtrueman||

    "Regulation shields big companies from accountability "

    It depends on what the regulations are and who is enforcing them. We at Reason have been singing the praises of FCC regulator Pai, for example.

  • Sevo||

    "It depends on what the regulations are and who is enforcing them. We at Reason have been singing the praises of FCC regulator Pai, for example."

    For REMOVING regulations, you idiot.

  • mtrueman||

    "For REMOVING regulations, you idiot."

    Just like draining the swamp, right?

  • Sevo||

    "Just like draining the swamp, right?"

    Yes, the *exact* opposite of your initial claim, you stupid shit. You've been called on your bullshit once again:
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

  • mtrueman||

    Pai is a regulator who heads up the FCC, a regulatory body. If you believe he's not sufficiently accountable, make your case. If you believe he's not a regulator or the FCC is not a regulatory body, make your case. Don't hesitate to call me a stupid shit again if you think it makes your case stronger.

  • Sevo||

    You stupid shit, you argued for more regulation: "At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation".
    YOU made the claim, you prove it. And pointing out that you are a stupid piece of shit is not required to make my point, since my point IS that you are a stupid piece of shit and you prove it on a regular basis:
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

  • mtrueman||

    "You stupid shit, you argued for more regulation: "At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation".

    Didn't argue for anything, just made a simple statement. Which you haven't refuted or agreed to.

  • Sevo||

    "Didn't argue for anything, just made a simple statement"

    Do you hope that others are as stupid as you? Are you really stupid enough to presume no one can read what you post?:
    mtrueman|12.23.17 @ 2:16PM|#
    "At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation"

    Fuck off, asshole. Calling you on your never-ending bullshit is tiresome:
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

  • mtrueman||

    What have you got against nonsense, anyhow? You've never made that clear.

  • Agammamon||

    You mean the accountability that stopped the practice of activists and regulatory agencies colluding with each other through the activists starting a lawsuit to implement regulations the agency and activists want, with the regulatory agency then taking a fall resulting in the judge telling the agency to implement the very regulations it was trying to do - over public outcry - because 'we lost the suit and the judge says we have to'?

    Or 'Chevron' deference?

    You mean that sort of accountability?

    Because I can leave Google anytime I want. I've already left Facebook. Never had anything to do with Apple and there's tons of alternatives to Amazon.

  • mtrueman||

    "You mean the accountability that stopped the practice of activists and regulatory agencies colluding with each other through the activists starting a lawsuit ..."

    Do you think the head regulator of the FCC is colluding with 'activists?' He is retreating on some of Obama's policies.

    "Because I can leave Google anytime I want. I've already left Facebook. Never had anything to do with Apple and there's tons of alternatives to Amazon."

    You don't have a smart phone or computer? Let me know when you get one, then we'll have something to discuss.

  • Agammamon||

    And that's your counter-example? One dude? One dude who is using his power - still unaccountably - to undo a bad decision made by another unaccountable bureaucrat?

    While ignoring the FDA, EPA, CPSA, and others?

    In neither case is there any accountability for these bureaucrats that go and do whatever the hell they want to do.

    And I absolutely have both a smartphone and a computer. One I have Android on it - sure. But there's nothing on my smartphone that I *need* to have on my smartphone. On-the-go internet access is nice, sure - not essential by any means. Plus, there's several alternative smartphone OS' so you don't need to use the Apple/Google/MS trinity - Ubuntu, Firefox, Tizen, and Sailfish for example

    And I don't have anything by Google on my computer - I take that back, I use Google earth from time to time. Don't even use Google for searching. There's tons of browsers, OS', and whatnot that are available from other places. So I don't know what you're doing that *requires* Google.

    Your complaint simply boils down to 'I want to have access to the full panopoly of technical products available today - but I don't want to do any of that gosh-derned 'trade-off' or 'learn' stuff - please big daddy gubmint, come protect me'.

    Nobody *needs* 23 different types of smartphone OS, right?

  • mtrueman||

    "And that's your counter-example? "

    Yes. You catch my drift.

    "In neither case is there any accountability for these bureaucrats that go and do whatever the hell they want to do."


    No, they answer to politicians and corporate interests.

    "And I don't have anything by Google on my computer - "

    Are you sure Google doesn't have stuff on you on their computer? You've already said you use Android, so you have a deeper relationship with Google than you may be aware of.

    "Your complaint simply boils down to 'I want to have access to the full panopoly of technical products available today - but I don't want to do any of that gosh-derned 'trade-off' or 'learn' stuff - please big daddy gubmint, come protect me'."

    I want to use the computer to its full potential. I don't want others to be in control of it. I have that on my laptop, I'd like the same freedom with the smartphone which I own.

  • Sevo||

    "Yes. You catch my drift."

    He just pointed out you have one only example, and that example is the guy who removed a regulation.
    You don't have a 'drift', you made a bullshit claim and you've been busted on it.

  • mtrueman||

    "He just pointed out you have one only example"

    Only one example is necessary to prove my point, which you can go back and read again if you like.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|12.23.17 @ 9:57PM|#
    "Only one example is necessary to prove my point, which you can go back and read again if you like."

    So we have an assertion masquerading as an argument? What sort of stupidity makes you think one example justifies the claim:

    "At least there is a chance of accountability with regulation. Under the system as it stands, we are at the mercy of secret government/corporate collusion where there is a total lack of transparency and accountability."

    I'll be waiting for your carefully-crafted, with cites, argument on how one example of a rogue bureaucrat justifies that claim, compared to 'system as it stands', which includes Pai's action you might notice, and requires no more regulation.
    Actually, I won't. You're a stupid piece of shit who is not really capable or reasoning, so instead, I'll look back from time to time and laugh at your further stupidity.

  • mtrueman||

    "argument on how one example of a rogue bureaucrat justifies that claim, compared to 'system as it stands'"

    Pai is not a rogue, but a government employee in good standing with the support of the president behind him. We at Reason really admire him.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|12.23.17 @ 10:36PM|#
    "Pai is not a rogue, but a government employee in good standing with the support of the president behind him."
    Keep it up, stupid shit.

    "We at Reason really admire him."
    "We", trueman claims.
    This is a shitbag more than happy to have the government kill farmers if they don't take care of their "warm and friendly fuzzy pets" in line with trueman's opinions.
    "We", asshole? Is that a turd in your pocket?

  • mtrueman||

    "This is a shitbag more than happy to have the government kill farmers if they don't take care of their "warm and friendly fuzzy pets" in line with trueman's opinions."

    Nonsense. We at Reason fully support the farmer's right to abuse and torment animals.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Only one example is necessary to prove my point

    Actually, it's called the fallacy of the lonely fact.

  • mtrueman||

    "Actually, it's called the fallacy of the lonely fact."

    So you admit it's a fact... Careful now, only commies and muslims are allowed to agree with me.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    So you admit it's a fact...

    So you admit that it doesn't apply in every case, thus rendering your point irrelevant.

  • mtrueman||

    "So you admit that it doesn't apply in every case,"

    Yes I do, and did so right at the beginning.

  • Agammamon||

    Are you sure Google doesn't have stuff on you on their computer?

    I'm sure they have tons of stuff on me on their computer.

    So does my credit union - and for a lot longer than the internet has been around. So does my utility company. So do innumerable other places I do business with.

    So does the US government.

    The difference is that Google isn't in a position to get away with killing me if someone in power there should decide that it would advance their career. Unlike the USG.

    "I want to use the computer to its full potential. I don't want others to be in control of it. I have that on my laptop, I'd like the same freedom with the smartphone which I own."

    Wonderful. Then stop bitching about irrelevancies and go and do that. Uninstall Windows and put in some Linux distro. Root your phone and slap a Firefox ROM onto it. Get TunnelBear. You're worrying about a problem that is solved simply by *lifting a finger* every once in a while.

  • mtrueman||

    "The difference is that Google isn't in a position to get away with killing me if someone in power there should decide that it would advance their career. "

    If you are concerned that the US government may try to kill you, perhaps you should consider emigrating.

    "Then stop bitching about irrelevancies "

    These are not irrelevancies. Neither is concern over who is ultimately in control over one's computer hysteria, techno-phobia, or panic.

    "You're worrying about a problem that is solved simply by *lifting a finger* every once in a while."

    It's not a problem that is solved simply. It's fraught with danger and uncertainty.

  • Agammamon||

    It's not a problem that is solved simply. It's fraught with danger and uncertainty.

    Yeah, so is everything in life. So, make the effort to use the tools that are already available to solve your problem.

  • mtrueman||

    "Yeah, so is everything in life. "

    No, getting root access on my laptop is extremely easy and very safe.

  • Agammamon||

    Which is what I said - so, what are you complaining about? Get root access to your laptop and phone and stop using GAFA.

  • mtrueman||

    "Which is what I said "

    You've said a lot of things. When I mentioned that getting root access on a cell phone was difficult, you said:

    "You're worrying about a problem that is solved simply"

    When I disagreed, saying it was difficult, you countered:

    "Yeah, so is everything in life. "

    Which is it? Easy or difficult? In my experience root access in a traditional computer is neither difficult nor dangerous. On a cell phone, gaining root access is both difficult and dangerous. Do you agree or disagree?

  • Agammamon||

    I disagree - its simple and easy in both cases. FFS, there are *automated tools* to allow you to root a phone.

    All you've been complaining about is already solved - if you're paying just a little bit of attention to how the tech you allow to permeate your life works.

    Otherwise you're going to end up the guy wondering how the Amazon delivery guy was able to get into your house to rape you because you had one of them there 'smart locks' with, like, a keycard and everything.

  • mtrueman||

    "I disagree - its simple and easy in both cases. "

    You just finished telling me that everything was difficult. I don't know what to make of your comments.

    "Otherwise you're going to end up the guy wondering how the Amazon delivery guy was able to get into your house to rape you because you had one of them there 'smart locks' with, like, a keycard and everything."

    As I say, I don't know what to make of your comments. Let me just reiterate my point. Rooting a laptop is really easy. Rooting a cellphone is fraught with risk and uncertainty, and it nullifies the warranty. If you don't have administrative privileges to your cell phone, you are not in control. That control lies in the hands of others, even though you bought the thing and 'own' it.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|12.24.17 @ 10:25AM|#
    "more bullshit bullshit bullshit"

    Fuck off, asshole.
    Not even a mother could love your pathetic existence

  • mtrueman||

    "Not even a mother could love your pathetic existence"

    Enough about technology. Let's get down to what's important here: my personal failings.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|12.25.17 @ 10:24AM|#
    "Let's get down to what's important here: my personal failings."

    Shitbag, we do not have time and space enough to even survey them.
    The short and sweet: You are a pathetic, failed, claimant to intelligence and due every insult given you. And a fucking slaver besides. Fuck off.

  • mtrueman||

    Just don't stop reading me, is all I ask of you.

  • Libertarian||

    "Anyone who thinks regulating "large digital intermediaries" like broadcasters, or who thinks that handing any aspect of the internet to the FCC for regulation in the "public interest" will protect consumers and encourage innovation, should read "The Political Spectrum" by Thomas W. Hazlett, or "Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio" by Tom Lewis — or watch the documentary film Ken Burns produced based on the latter."

    Or, you know, just read today's news.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Judging by things like Siri, machine translation and the like, AI simply has to mean Artificial Idiocy. As long as it carries no weapons, I'm OK with it replacing the Sanantone, Seneca, Salt Lake City cops, the entire DEA, BATF and FBI, ICE, BP. Three will get yo five that costs drop by at least half and "police involved" shootings by 2/3. In fact, from the review the book could easily have been written by one of those machines in Orwell's "1984" with hardly a noticeable difference.

  • Agammamon||

    It's hard to see how giant corporations can be guilty of giving a diverse citizenry all the different things they demand while also apparently denying them any real choices.

    Oh, that's simple, see. Its like offering 5,000 'different' flavors of Faygo - they all still taste like carbonated sugar water with added ascorbic acid but, like, they're all labeled differently and have a different color! Then people will be more in consumerism and forget the true meaning of Christmas while they suffer from choice overload because of the availablility of too many meaningless choices and so 'Top Men' must pare this down to only a few in order to safeguard the future of humanity. After all, no needs 23 choices of deodorant. Its 'inefficient' and that means its wasteful and a 'market failure' which, by definition, means the government needs more power to correct this.

  • Hank Phillips||

    When Aga say "demand," Aga mean effective demand or ineffective demand? Effective demand has answered the question "at whose expense?" Ineffective demand has to do with "who must the political State rob or kill in exchange for you voting for one of out looter politicians." So... which is it?

  • Agammamon||

    Everything within the state, nothing outside the state.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    "Journalism" has always been dead. Oh sure, they managed to pretend that they all had integrity for a couple generations, but they didn't actually have any.

  • DenverJ||

    It is eroding "the integrity of institutions," even "altering human evolution."

    He ain't wrong.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    voat.co is getting jacked like on old magazine stacks right now... odd how Reason never gets jacked by socialist cripplers with binary pliers... keep that in mind fake Libertarians on the fakest freedom platform ever. Peace out fake crypto bitches.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Reason is Koch bro cum and Cato jerk... it is the time of disruption

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Gillespie is Koch blood and Cato memes running a fucking thoroughbred of fucking streaming mindmelt of data gone mad and bent and so fucking wrong.... Cato is an empty center of eunuchs while Gillespie breathes deeply in his last relevant stages... Reason? cnn, slate, wapo, salon... all that dead air? yeah... only addicts read that shit

  • Sevo||

    AC, ya gotta get IJ in the poetry somehow.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Only if Drudge links them...

  • CptNerd||

    Seems like there could be a difference between Government mandating that all viewpoints are presented and not allowing someone to block some viewpoints.

  • Agammamon||

    In practice, with government, all it means is that government mandates that all government approved viewpoints are presented and mandates blocking of other viewpoints.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "to impose their values and theological convictions on the world."

    They turned me into a Sikh!

  • Agammamon||

    Did you get better?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Mostly, though I still have occasional outbreaks of turban.

  • juris imprudent||

    It's hard to see how giant corporations can be guilty of giving a diverse citizenry all the different things they demand while also apparently denying them any real choices.

    No, it isn't, because the answer is just below...

    Now that we have abundant affordable choices, Foer wants to rewrite the rulebook to suggest that too much of a good thing is bad for consumer welfare.

    You see, company's provide what consumers want - and dammit the proles don't understand their own wants. They need Top.Men to tell them what the right choices are - and Foer is a fan of Top.Men. He probably fantasizes that he is one of them himself.

  • mtrueman||

    "Now that we have abundant affordable choices,"

    There has to be a point of diminishing marginal returns, the point at which more and more choice becomes a negative, rather than a positive. Too much choice leads to increased waste, for example. The abundant choice we face at the supermarket has its darker side, as in some one third of the food grown on a global basis is spoiled and otherwise stripped of its market value. If you have a load of spoiled food on your hands, that's a problem.

  • MarkLastname||

    There's an easy way to avoid too many choices: pick one or two things and stick with those.

    And the reason we have more food spoiling is because food production has increased to the point that it's no longer a matter of starvation to lose food.

  • mtrueman||

    "And the reason we have more food spoiling is because food production has increased to the point that it's no longer a matter of starvation to lose food."

    Spoiled food has a cost. Perhaps it's environmental when the owner of the waste takes it out into the ocean and dumps it. Perhaps he pays someone else to dispose of it and passes down the costs to the consumer. I'd say the reason we have so much spoiled food is that the market incentivizes waste. Hardly a surprise, it also incentivizes the inhumane treatment of the animals we consume. Like turkeys and chickens etc.

  • Agammamon||

    the market incentivizes

    IOW, people *choose*.

  • mtrueman||

    It's a question of diminishing marginal returns. When does choice switch from being a good thing to a bad one?

  • Sevo||

    "It's a question of diminishing marginal returns."

    It takes an imbecile to make that claim, and guess what? Here's truman to make sure we have one!

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Idiot... Grow your own. Nothing goes to waste here. If I don't eat it, my dogs or chickens do.

  • Agammamon||

    There has to be a point of diminishing marginal returns, the point at which more and more choice becomes a negative,

    1. No, no there doesn't have to be as long as choice is a result of voluntary action.

    2. The point of diminishing returns is *always* - ALWAYS - 'once I've got mine'. Once past that its all 'those people are wasting resources'.

  • Sevo||

    I'm guilty of the same, but you are arguing with one of the most pathetic excuses for someone capable of logic who ever wasted bandwidth here.
    Tony and turd look positively 'intelligent' by comparison.
    The asshole trueman posted this (you can look it up):
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."
    I'm sure someone self-deluded could see that as irony if they didn't do exactly that on a regular basis.
    Just here, the asshole claims we need mor regulation, and in support cites the ONE TIME when a bureaucrat rescinds a regulation. And then continues to argue that it supports his claim!
    How fucking dumb do you have to be to do that? trueman shows us how fucking dumb you need to be.

  • mtrueman||

    You don't appear to understand the meaning of the phrase diminishing marginal returns and nobody seems to want to clarify it for you.

    Twenty three varieties of deodorant on the market. We can all revel in the wonderful abundance. Another is added. Now there is twenty four. Even better. Add another thousand. Now we have to drop by wallmart sized stores when we need to pick up some deodorant. Not so good.

  • Agammamon||

    Not so good? - to you maybe. Because you already got yours.

    To someone who wasn't too keen on what was available already, the n+1th additional choice could be *exactly* what she was looking for in deodorant - but you'd deny it to her because it might possibly inconvenience you when you're looking for your own preference.

  • mtrueman||

    "To someone who wasn't too keen on what was available already..."

    You're not thinking this through. A company isn't about to introduce a new product because one person might want to buy it. A million people, yes. One person, no. The point of diminishing marginal returns lies somewhere in between.

  • Sevo||

    "You're not thinking this through."
    No, you stupid shit, you are not capable of thinking *anything* through.

  • mtrueman||

    "No, you stupid shit, you are not capable of thinking *anything* through."

    Good use of asterisks. Keep up the good work.

  • Agammamon||

    So, if a million people want to buy it - then it must have value to those people.

    You're here - on a libertarian(ish) website basically saying that people are dumb and that we need a group of 'Top Men' to tell us what to want.

  • mtrueman||

    "So, if a million people want to buy it - then it must have value to those people."

    Yes, true, my point though seems to have escaped you. I'm talking about diminishing marginal returns. More and more choice for food in the supermarket changes from something good to bad. A tricky concept, I know.

  • Trollificus||

    I can just let the food manufacturers deal with the problem of 'excessive choice'. I'll shop, choose, and either stick with my choices or continue to shop. I am in no way harmed by the number of cookies or cereals people (optimistically) make available to me.

    Feel free to go ahead and tell me that's not really my opinion, though. I also enjoy the personal satisfaction derived from superiority to other thinkers.

  • mtrueman||

    "I am in no way harmed by the number of cookies or cereals people (optimistically) make available to me."

    You may be paying a higher price than if there was less choice, as I've already pointed out. More choice, more waste, more costs to be passed on to the consumer. It's a tricky concept, I admit.

    "Feel free to go ahead and tell me that's not really my opinion, though. I also enjoy the personal satisfaction derived from superiority to other thinkers."

    Don't really care about your opinion. But if you have any questions about this admitedly difficult concept, I'll do my best to answer.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    You are misconstruing the concept. DMR applies to individuals, not groups. I have a phone, 2 computers... I stop buying more because my remaining monies have better uses.

    On a group level this becomes self-regulating because individuals have a finite need for a broad category. I only need one deodorant. If I like the one I have I stick with it. If not I might weigh the cost and time involved in shopping around.

  • mtrueman||

    "You are misconstruing the concept. DMR applies to individuals, not groups. "

    Smart move publishing this nonsense under a pseudonym.

  • Sevo||

    "Smart move publishing this nonsense under a pseudonym."

    Pretty sure a simpleton like you is not capable of recognizing nonsense:

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

  • Deplorable Victor||

    "Foer is a fan of Top.Men. He probably fantasizes that he is one of them himself."

    That's why he writes for a garbage outlet like the Atlantic.

  • ThomasD||

    He's making the same argument the old school monopolists - be it steel, or oil - made.

    Only the commodity he wants to control is information.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|12.24.17 @ 2:01PM|#
    "This is a shitbag more than happy to have the government kill farmers if they don't take care of their "warm and friendly fuzzy pets" in line with trueman's opinions."

    In response we get what a dim-bulb like trueman probably considers 'irony':
    "Nonsense. We at Reason fully support the farmer's right to abuse and torment animals."
    No, you fucking Nazi, we support the fact that your OPINION is totally irrelevant.

  • mtrueman||

    Fuck off, slave.

  • Sevo||

    Fuck off, slaver.
    I'll keep this up as long as a shitbag like you wants.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'll keep this up as long as a shitbag like you wants."

    Congrats. Just the qualities I look for in an obedient slave.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Geez where to start...

    I guess you say enough to realize this monkey worked for The New Republic and The Atlantic...

    "the death of journalism"... Journalism committed suicide recently and most people haven't even noticed... Maybe it's related to "isolated, distracted individuals"... Which suits me - if they are distracted maybe they will leave me alone...

    "High culture" The "high culture" in this country has been corrupted by an army of perverts. The sooner it is wiped out the better.

    As for "the growth of unstoppable tech conglomerates," corporations are like sagebrush - they grow out bigger and bigger while rotting at the center. FB is already rotting and good riddance.

    But the real scream is "enlightened gatekeepers served as the "guardians of intellectual seriousness." Right. That would be people like Matt Lauer and the rest of the MSM perverts and propagandists who were holding the gun that "journalism" shot itself with.

    Good riddance.

  • CE||

    First you need a villain. Google and Facebook should suffice, but if you can throw in Apple, Amazon, or Twitter, that's even better. Paint their CEOs as either James Bond baddies bent on world domination or naive do-gooders obsessed with the quixotic promise of innovation.

    Bezos or Musk could walk right into a Bond movie set and get the villain lead though.

    They have their own moon rockets. Musk is digging a tunnel under LA.

  • Trollificus||

    Seems like Foer is overlooking the difference between slavery and...umm...not-slavery. IOW, one is free to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. One is even free to disconnect from the internet, take a book outside, and READ. I know, incredible, yes?

    ProTip: Take some water when you go outside for more than an hour or two. Also, seek shade when experiencing the "outside" for an extended period. The bright daystar can affect your skin adversely.

  • Berresford||

    Poor Mr. Foer is just another blacksmith complaining about the new-fangled automobile. I imagine that most blacksmiths learned new skills and got new jobs. I hope Mr. Foer finds a new career where his talents have value.

  • qoheleth||

    I can't agree more with Thierer's characterization of one more rehash of tech-phobia. It's frustrating to see each of these retreads of tired and disproven pseudo-arguments get their air-time.
    I fear the imposition of government control more than I do the current near-monopolies of Google, et al. Early in the article, Thierer points out that the bug-a-boos of the previous decade are now all has-beens. What government control of the information sector would get us is the petrification of the current status quo. We'd never get the next Google or Facebook, because the government has legislated the existence of the former.

  • Chris1990||

    I don't think you need a formula to create a tech policy book. There are many books that say the very same things, that's why following writing formulas isn't good.

  • Aol support number||

    FOR any kind of issues related to the AOL mail you can contact our technical support team that will instantly help you to get in touch with us follow this URL.
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