Back in 2008 I wrote that Google was a Republican. This was in the run up to the election. Three years later, it’s fun to examine the perspective, since what had been considered right wing conspiracy theory has become the reality of the Obama presidency. Here’s what I wrote back in 08…
Okay, I get it, Google is not an individual. But Google is treated like one all the time. How many times have you heard someone say, “Google says that you should design Web pages to be fresh, relevant and unique,” or some such thing? Since Google is often referred to in the third person (operative word being person) I thought it would be good to dive into the political leanings of Google, since we’re so close to the election. It didn’t take long for me to come to a conclusion: Google is a Republican.
Not only is Google a Republican, but Google is a conservative Republican. Let’s look at the overwhelming evidence to back this up, shall we?
First, Google rewards achievement, which is a central tenant to conservatism and Democrats and liberals punish achievement. We can look to the current tax code and Barack Obama’s tax plan for evidence. In our current tax code, the more money you make, the higher the percentage of your income you must pay to the government, clearly punishing success.
Barack Obama takes this one step further in that his plan will provide tax breaks to “95 percent of American workers” while increasing taxes on those making over $250,000.00. The problem is that this is a mathematical impossibility. I hate to get Socratic here, but in order to grant a tax cut, what must first be present? Taxes! If some 40% of income earners don’t pay income taxes, how then can they be granted a tax cut? By giving tax credits (payments) to non-income tax paying citizens, they have received not a tax cut, but welfare. This is a central tenant of Marxism, perhaps best expressed by the Popular Marx quote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”
Google rejects this line of thinking. Google will reward well written ads by charging them less for each click. If two ads compete for the top ad position and are both willing to pay the same amount for the position, then Google will reward the more successful ad the top position. It does this by examining the click-through-rate of the ads. Whichever ad has the better click through performance wins. This provides incentive both to the winning ad manager to continue top performance and to the loser to do a better job in hope of reducing click costs. This represents the core of conservative thought: rewarding achievement provides incentive to all involved in the marketplace to either maintain high performance, strive for higher performance, or both.
Second, Google embraces limited governance. Conservative Republicans favor a limited role of government while liberal Democrats strive for greater government control and involvement in all aspects of human endeavor. Examples of the liberal proclivity for large government abound.
Barack Obama has proposed $990 Billion in new spending according to the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Almost a trillion dollars! The trillion dollars is spread across dozens and dozens of new government programs, not the least of which are nationalized heath care and making tax credit payments to people who don’t pay income taxes (welfare). The increase in the size of government for his health care plan alone would be immense. When we consider the hundreds of billions spent on other new programs, the growth of government can be nothing short of rampant.
Conservatives favor a limited role of government as defined in the US Constitution. Our Constitution lays out specific enumerated powers thus limiting government. That which is not specifically allowed is either delegated to the states, or prohibited altogether. What makes the Constitution so elegant is its simplicity.
Google emulates the US Constitution and the conservative adherence to it. The Google Webmaster Guidelines are a set of 31 guiding principles for Webmasters to follow. It is a simple, clear text that fully explains the function of the Webmaster as it relates to a successful Web site. The US Constitution consists of the original body and 27 Amendments. These two documents are similar in that they lay out the rules of engagement between the government and the governed – Google and the Federal government and Webmasters and US citizenry, respectively. That conservative Republicans tend to favor adherence to the Constitution, and Google provides no coercive dictate to Webmasters, they are quite similar in behavior and guiding principle.
Third, Google emphasizes Capitalism. The idea that the free market will naturally identify quality entities and push those entities into achievement is yet another core philosophy of conservatism. At every turn, Democrats seek to manipulate markets and override the natural market.
There is no better example than in the current housing market crisis. Going back some 30 years, the Democrat party laid the foundation for this crisis and did so by artificially manipulating the market place. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) sought to provide mortgages to under served areas, specifically the inner city and low income neighborhoods. There was a good reason for being under served – the people who lived in these areas could not afford mortgages! The government passed a law that forced banks to make an effort to lend in these areas, nonetheless. The CRA was strengthened under Bill Clinton, making compliance mandatory. Any bank out of compliance would be prohibited from engaging in mergers and acquisition, securities dealing, and other profitable activities. In short, the government compelled banks to provide mortgages to low income buyers. In doing so, the banks became saddled with billions of dollars worth of bad loans. Fast forward to 2008, we have a government caused meltdown in the banking industry because of regulation and a trillion dollar taxpayer financed bail out. Large government caused the problem and large government is further exacerbating the problem by disallowing the natural tendency of the market to correct the situation.
Conservative philosophy is flatly against social engineering like that found in CRA. It is not the government’s role to instruct banks who they can and cannot lend money – that is a function best served by the marketplace.
Google is wrapped in a Capitalist perspective. This is best exemplified by Google’s famed PageRank. PageRank is a measure of importance given to a Web page based on the number of other Web pages that link to it. A link from one Web page to another is considered a vote of confidence or a testimonial. There is no coercive mechanism that forces one site to link to another; rather the democratic nature of the Web itself encourages it. If there is a Web site about wrist watches, it is in its interest to link to a Web site about horology. By linking to a horology site, the watch site has provided a vote of confidence and the horology site will be rewarded with higher PageRank and thus, higher ranking in the Google search results pages. Because Google ranks pages from first place to last, by design it cannot make Web pages equal. Striving for equality is a tenant best found in liberal and socialist philosophy – here we are back at Marx.
These are but three examples of many proving that Google is a conservative Republican. Google rewards achievement, encourages hard work, provides ground rules but does not coerce, and is founded on the principle that the marketplace should determine who is best, and then be allowed to reap the fruits of being the best in market.
I’d like to see a debate between Google (the person) and Barack Obama. My money would be on Google.
In hind sight, I think I could have better explained that here we are talking about Google the search algorithm and Google’s Quality Score Algorithms, not the individuals who run the company. In fact, there may well be a follow up article titled, “Google is a Marxist.”