Big Tech as Big Brother

Conservatives more than anyone else view with a gimlet eye the rise of the Internet and the gigantic tech companies that are taking over ever larger parts of our lives.  Even the place where most of these companies dwell, Silicon Valley, is a bastardization of its real name, Santa Clara, or St. Claire of Assisi, who worked real wonders with Saint Francis.  And probably few people in Apple Inc. know that their city, Cupertino, is named for St. Joseph Cupertino, a Franciscan with an IQ so low he wouldn’t get a job as a janitor at Apple’s “campus,” as it’s called.  And he levitated without the help of Siri.

We need help wherever we can find it, so I welcome World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, by Franklin Foer, a former editor of The New Republic.  His analysis is a bit off, and his prescriptions involve more government, when what’s needed is less.  As an old print journalist myself, with 29 years at the Orange County Register, I sympathize with the bytes and arrows slung at him.  Like him, I left my publication and was then called back as an editor, only to be pushed out of a job for the first time in my life after the Register went bankrupt a second time.  Jobs were slashed by the aptly named Digital First Media, itself owned by a hedge fund.

In Foer’s case,...

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