By Ron Arnold
Amazon’s Ron Arnold Page
March 25, 2015
Google, Inc., with its $385 billion share value, has bumped Exxon to become America’s No. 2 ranking company in market capitalization.
That may not be a good thing. A February article in New Scientist announced, Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links, and writer Hal Hodson said, “The internet is stuffed with garbage. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.”
The idea of changing page rank from popularity to “truthfulness” based on a Google-made “knowledge vault” did not go down well.
Fox News reported, “Google’s plan to rank websites raising censorship concerns.” Douglass Kennedy opened with, “They say you’re entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts. It’s a concept not everyone is comfortable with.”
They’re saying we’re only entitled to Google’s facts, which completely shortcircuits how slippery facts are and naively equates facts with truth. Ask any lawyer about truth.
Today’s climate wars consist of arguments between highly qualified scientists about facts that some sincerely believe are true and some sincerely believe are false, each for solid reasons. It should be an honest debate among equals, but it’s degenerated into a power play by alarmists to kill debate for policy’s sake, pushed by politicians and their social base.
Google’s truth plan is not so simple. Facts are statements about existence. Statements about existence can be true or false. Existence itself – your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever – can’t be true or false, it just exists. Say anything you want about existence and it won’t change a thing – it still just exists. Existence doesn’t give a damn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.
But get everyone to believe Google Facts, and you can enforce political policy worth trillions to climate profiteers.
You can see where this is going.
Imagine: Big Google the Universal Truthsayer. That’s as scary as “Mr. Dark” in Ray Bradbury’s 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, only worse, because it’s the perfect machine to kill all dissent and wither the Internet into a wasteland of groupthink, susceptible to disinformation campaigns from any power center from the CIA to the rich bosses of Google, Inc.
What about those rich bosses? Google’s two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a corporate foundation in 2005, Google Foundation, with 2013 assets of $72,412,693, grants of $7.9 million, and $29.4 million added from corporate profits.
Three of Google’s top-ten recipients are key climate alarmists: World Wildlife Fund ($5 million); Energy Foundation ($2.6 million); and the Natural Resources Defense Council ($2.5 million).
NRDC is particularly influential because it received $3.01 million in Environmental Protection Agency grants since 2009 and has 50 employees on 40 federal advisory committees: NRDC has 33 employees on 21 EPA committees, and more in six other agencies.
The big gun in Google philanthropy is Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose Schmidt Family Foundation ($312 million, 2013 assets) is a major armory for anti-skeptic groups. Schmidt has given $67,147,849 in 295 grants to 180 recipients since it was endowed in 2007.
Top Schmidt money went to Climate Central ($8.15 million), a group of activist climate scientists bolstered by $1,387,372 in EPA grants since 2009.
Schmidt gave $3.25 million to the Energy Foundation, which was almost superflouous, since EF is practically the Mother Ship of green grants, with $1,157,046,016 given in 28,705 grants to 11,866 recipients since 1999.
Among the shadier grants in the Schmidt portfolio are anti-fracking, anti-fossil-fuel grants totaling $1.19 million to Sustainable Markets Foundation, a shell corporation that gives no recorded grants, but funnels money to climate and anti-fracking organizations such as Bill McKibben’s 350.org so the donors are not traceable.
Schmidt supported the far-left Tides Foundation empire with $975,000 for an anti-consumer film, “The Story of Stuff;” the Sierra Club ($500,000 for anti-natural gas activism); the Center for Investigative Reporting ($985,000 for an anti-coal film), and so forth. This list goes on for pages.
With all the massive resources of wealth and power alarmists have, we must ask why they give so much to destroy the climate debate and the debaters? What are they afraid of?
It may be what Eric Schmidt said at January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear.”
How? The mature technology will be wearable, give us interactive homes and cars and simply fade into the background to become something that we all have, that most of us don’t really know very much about (or care) only that it can do whatever we want.
That’s the view from the pinnacle of wealth and power. On the ground, the joke is on Google.
Why? Millennials say the Internet is cheapening language, it is stunting curiosity (because answers come so easily), we are never bored so we lose creativity, it steals innocence too quickly, it makes us impulsive with our buying and talking, it is creating narcissists, it creates filter bubbles which limits discovery, it hurts local business, it is filled with false evidence, it desensitizes us to tragedy, it makes us lonely.
They want the real world.
Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He is the author of eight books, a researcher and editor of ten books, and columnist for the Washington Examiner. His pioneering work on exposing the left’s funding, displayed in the Undue Influence website, led to invitations to testify before congressional committees, resulting in a congressional investigation into the left’s funding irregularities.