On the heels of the Brendan Eich resignation, where mob-fueled persecution recalled a man’s previous support of the Proposition 8 controversy in California marriage-rights history, this weekend we’ve seen a trending “#DropDropbox” tag on Twitter. The issue is with the decision of Dropbox, the most popular provider of cloud data storage, to elect Condoleeza Rice to their board of directors despite her involvement during the Bush administration in extensive wiretapping. Forbes has written a perceptive article on the topic here.
My favorite line of the article follows:
Coming so soon on the heels of the Internet campaign that forced Proposition 8-supporting Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich out of his job, Michael Arrington took note of the “ideological purity” in vogue in the tech industry. Many of the complaints about Condoleezza Rice focused on things that are arguably irrelevant to Dropbox, with the big exception of warrantless wiretapping, which was in her purview as a national security advisor to President Bush in his first term. The other complaints about her speak to the fact that the politics she represents don’t line up especially well with the technolibertarianism we usually see coming out of the digital powerhouses of northern California.
How ironic that not only business but tech business, what you might expect to be the coldest manifestation of capitalism, is the successor of the Salem Witch Trials. The real problem here isn’t whether people are for or against Condoleeza; it’s that we are mixing the human and the business. Although we get sick and tired of the cold business ethics that have dominated since the industrial age, we are going too far the opposite direction now. The more we conflate the notions of humanity and business–the more businesses are legally, morally, and politically accepted as human–the more the real humans lose out. As we turn over our humanity to the behemoths, real humans become the inconsequential insects in the world of giant-ruled democracy.