Following the firing of James Damore by Google for sending a 10-page company-wide memo critical of the company’s politics and diversity policies, some are thinking about ways of fighting back against the tech giant, even if that means the federal government step in.
This week, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, before interviewing Damore on his primetime show, made the case for why the federal government should step in and regulate Google as a utility because of their ability to silence speech and curate content to their liking.
“Considering that the overwhelming majority of social sciences, media and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices,” Carlson said, explaining that the search engine changed its algorithms so that “what it calls misleading or offensive [right of center] news doesn’t even show up in searches.”
He continued. “It’s now obvious that Google cannot be trusted to do any of this. Why should a company that shuts down free speech for political reasons have the power to dictate what the world knows and thinks? Well, of course, it shouldn’t have that power. Google’s long time motto was, ‘don’t be evil.’ Today it uses, ‘do the right thing.’ We should have seen this coming. Those are super villain slogans if there was ever such a thing. None of this can continue.”
Carlson then suggested that because Google was hit with a $3 million fine in Europe for violating anti-trust laws that the Trump administration and Congress should go further than that.
“Since it has the power to censor the internet, Google should be regulated like the public utility it is to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information. To the rest of us, that needs to happen immediately. Too bad it’s come to this. A lot of us trusted Google not to be evil. Silly us.”
While Carlson’s sentiments and intentions are pure in this regard, the government has no place in policing a private or even a publicly traded company like Google in how they run their business. It’s up to the free market to decide if what Google is doing is morally right. Since Google is not the only search engine used on the internet, it’s hard to make a case that they’re violating antitrust laws, unless they’re a true monopoly.
However, you can make the case that the government should not pick winners and losers. And, lately, they’ve been picking Google as a winner. How should they respond to the multibillion dollar tech company? They can either pull government subsidies or even cancel government contracts. In 2014, it was reported that Google received over $630 million in government subsidies for property taxes and training reimbursements. In 2016, Google received over $254 million from North Carolina in subsidies in exchange for creating just 210 jobs. That’s $1.2 million per job.
Google was threatened earlier this year with the cancellation of all of its government contracts, but not for silencing right of center speech or promoting liberal views over them. They refused to provide the U.S. Labor Department with employee compensation records and other documents as part of an audit to ensure the company wasn’t discriminating against their employees on the basis of gender and race.
While Google may not be discriminating against their employees based on their gender or race, there’s definitely thought discrimination. There’s no denying that. But if the shoe were on the other foot and Democrats were calling for Google to be regulated as a public utility for silencing left of center views and content, conservatives would be front and center condemning their pleas. This should be no different.