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posted by martyb on Wednesday December 06, @05:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the thorny-questions dept.

The bloom is off the rose:

It was about an hour and a half into a hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee when Sen. Dianne Feinstein laid into Facebook, Google and Twitter.

"I don't think you get it," she began. "You bear this responsibility. You've created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones to do something about it. Or we will."

The tech giants were being grilled by Congress over Russian trolls abusing their services to meddle in last year's US election, and the California Democratic lawmaker had had it.

It was just one of very public tongue-lashings the Silicon Valley companies received over the course of three marathon congressional panels last month, held over a two-day span. The hearings were anticlimactic, in part because the three companies only sent their general counsels instead of their famous CEOs -- a point several lawmakers bemoaned during the public questioning.

Is it Google, Twitter, and Facebook who don't get it, or Senators like Dianne Feinstein who don't get it?


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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 06, @08:14PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday December 06, @08:14PM (#606356)

    I'm not going to disagree in general. But only with the assertion that I one I started with, to which you replied "Sure it does".

    Nope. It doesn't. I can definitely state that I am not against democracy, and that I do indeed have a problem with some actions of the Republican party (but not necessarily limited to that party either).

    Therefore you CAN indeed be against that party's actions and still favor democracy.

    Rather than assert Sure it does, I would like to hear an argument that explains how I either don't have a problem with the R's actions, or that I really somehow am not in favor of Democracy even though I am convinced that I am in favor of democracy.

    As for the R's winning the will of the majority, they didn't. Trump is in office because of the electoral college, not because of the popular vote -- despite Trump's assertion that he won the popular vote, which he verifiably did not. Nor Trump's assertion that his electoral college victory was the biggest ever -- again verifiably untrue. However, even if the R's had won by popular vote, that does not invalidate my counter assertion that I can indeed be against certain actions they take yet still be in favor of democracy.

    Am I missing some bit of logic or critical thinking here? (It wouldn't be the first time.)

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 06, @10:17PM (1 child)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 06, @10:17PM (#606438)

    Therefore you CAN indeed be against that party's actions and still favor democracy.

    It's contradictory, if that party validly represents the majority of the people, unless you're claiming that you're OK with those people (who you disagree with) getting their way, even when the resultant policies are horrible.

    As for the R's winning the will of the majority, they didn't. Trump is in office because of the electoral college, not because of the popular vote

    Trump isn't the only GOP politician in office, or who won in 2016. The GOP swept races across the nation at all levels of government. Those other races are not decided by the EC, they're straight majorities. And while you might scream "gerrymandering", that only applies to US Representative races, not Senate seats, not governorships, etc. The simple fact is that, outside of a few densely-populated coastal cities, most of the country favors the GOP.

    I would like to hear an argument that explains how I either don't have a problem with the R's actions, or that I really somehow am not in favor of Democracy even though I am convinced that I am in favor of democracy.

    Let's ignore the whole Electoral College thing for a bit (esp. in light of my argument above). If the majority are voting for policies you find repugnant, I'm not sure how you can defend democracy as a good system in that case. Perhaps better than the alternatives, but that's arguable; Britain under Elizabeth I was widely considered a golden age, for instance, and there's other cases of autocratic rule that were similar considered quite good (Rome under Marcus Aurelius too I think). (The argument against autocracy is that the good autocrat eventually dies and then it's a toss-up how the next one is.) We can also look at 1930s Germany: they elected Hitler! Now, you might argue that the election system was bad because he didn't win a majority, and it was a 3-way race (IIRC), but this still doesn't excuse democracy, since that's how most democratic systems work. Honestly, your who pro-democracy argument really boils down to "the alternatives are even worse", but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Winston Churchill was right when he said "the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter".

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Saturday December 09, @09:27PM

      by DannyB (5839) on Saturday December 09, @09:27PM (#607801)

      That's it. Even though I think the outcome is horrible, I still believe in democracy.