By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
Some Modern-Day Contradictions on Independence Day
July 4, 2012
It was 236 years ago today that 57 brave men created the American republic by signing an historic document. Their constituents, if you will, were 3 million people in 13 colonies. The declaration signers wanted freedom from tyranny – and from the British military that wanted to arrest them for sedition and treason.
Today, the Fourth of July is a holiday of festivities and fireworks for Americans. However, too few Americans appreciate the risks of those 57 men who signed the Declaration of Independence – making freedom possible for all us.
That’s underscored by disturbing results national survey released this week by arguably the nation’s most accurate pollster – Rasmussen Reports.
Respondents were queried whether they agreed with this principle, “governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed.”
An irony: It was shocking to read that only 70 of Americans – who live in freedom – agree government gets its authority from the will of the people. Thirteen percent did not agree. Seventeen percent were undecided.
A second irony: Google’s Fourth of July doodle spells out the words: “This Land Was Made for You and Me,” in paying tribute to the inspiring Woody Guthrie tune.
Positioned under the doodle is this statement: “Celebrate freedom. Support a free and open Internet.”
To be sure, this is a patriotic concept.
Further, Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy and government affairs for the Americas, blogs: “We’ve only just begun to see what a free and open Internet can do for people and for the freedom we cherish.”
Both statements are meaningful, but Google’s declarations about freedom are representative of at least three contradictions:
- Google’s spying – capturing of personal information of Internet WIFI users via its street view car. The search engine has faced heavy criticism and penalties worldwide for its so-called inadvertent massive collection of personal data.
- Its CEO, Larry Page, attacked Facebook’s user-data practices in an interview with Charlie Rose.
- Then, on the eve of the 2012 Day of Independence, there’s a rather disturbing WebProNews headline: “Google Shopping Incites 2nd Amendment Row by Removing Guns from Search.”
“We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping,” the Google Shopping Team wrote. “In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.”
Naturally, Google is drawing fire from consumers and merchants. Proponents of the 2nd Amendment have launched a petition drive – it demands Google “not interfere with our 2nd amendment rights…”
Yes, it disturbs me even though I’ve never been a gun owner. My philosophy is deep rooted. I have an elderly father who is a longtime Democrat and who opposes capital punishment – he also is a veteran, a longtime gun owner, a staunch believer in the right to bear arms, and patriotic supporter of the Declaration of Independence.
Google is hugely successful and has prompted Bing and Yahoo to become better. The competition is fun to watch.
But Google’s behavior is also prompting me to rethink my previous defenses of the search giant:
Google has drawn fire from Associated Press and other media firms because it publishes news headlines to their stories. This means Google is, in reality, a media company.
Studies consistently show the media is biased in favor of liberals. Simply Google the key words, “liberal media bias,” and you’ll see 2,130,000 search results.
With a dominant search market share, Google has a responsibility to practice what it preaches with honesty, objectivity and accuracy.
Therefore, Google appears disingenuous and self-serving when it campaigns for freedom – meanwhile, with the perception that it violates the rights of millions of its users. If Bing and Yahoo stay the course, Google will justifiably face loss in its market share.
…The land of the free and home of the brave…I’m just sayin’.
(Disclosure: This Biz Coach portal uses Google AdSense.)
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a pertinent Fourth of July topic:
“The basis of a democratic state is liberty.”
Columnist Terry Corbell is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services (many are available online). For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule Terry Corbell as a speaker, why don’t you contact him today?