…And discovers it looks a lot like them: “The laughable innocence of Facebook and Google (and us):”
I hear wailing.
I think it’s coming from all those who believed, in some sweet corner of their minds, that they were changing the world. You know, for the better.
The generation that believed technology was heralding a new togetherness, a new openness, a new freedom, a new transparency is suddenly confronted by the idea that its idols might be something terrible — yes, pragmatic.
Suddenly, they hear that Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and all the other immature brand names might have been offering information to the government when the government asked nicely — which hardly seems something new, given the already recorded instances of government issuing subpoenas in order to get information. (Not that we know everything about them.)
Yet the wailers bemoan: “How could they do this?”
“They’ve betrayed us!” they shriek. “It’s a surveillance state. They’ve destroyed our privacy.”
It’s as if some Nirvana, some peculiar Yellow Brick Road has been defaced by the graffiti of Realpolitik Skinheads.
Hey rube!, to coin a phrase.
Incidentally, Webster’s defines “Realpolitik” as “politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives,” adding:
German, from real actual + Politik politics
First Known Use: 1914