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GORIN Capitalism Comes Full Circle
by Julia Gorin
[comedian] 5/25/06

"The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."— Vladimir Ilich Lenin

After not stocking Free Inquiry magazine because it contained the Mohammed cartoons, Borders Bookstores went a step further. Last month, the Little Green Footballs blog posted a letter from a Borders employee reporting that, in response to complaints by Muslim customers who found Korans stocked anywhere other than the top shelf, the book chain now stocks the Koran only on the top shelf. JihadWatch had this follow-up:

"Maybe this is a clue as to why the Qur'an must not be stocked below the top shelf at Borders? 'Borders(R) and Al Maya Group Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Borders Franchise in United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council Countries,' from Yahoo! Finance:

"'Borders Inc., a subsidiary of global book, music and movie retailer Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP - News), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Maya Group, a diversified corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, to establish a franchise arrangement under which Al Maya will operate Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.'"

Julia Gorin

Comedian and Opinionist Julia Gorin is proprietor of www.JuliaGorin.com and is a contributing editor to www.JewishWorldReview.com..[go to Gorin index]

The first comment below the post read, "Let me see, Korans on top shelf, no Salman Rushdie books, no books on anti-Islam or anti-Koran or anti-Muhammed. No books on Jews and Isreal unless it's about Holocoust denial. Seems the capitalists are determined to sell our freedoms for a few tokens of gold."

Indeed, it looks like we're seeing capitalism coming full circle, as businesses place profits over principles on a very macro scale. Another glaring, more well-known, example was Google, MSN and Yahoo agreeing to the Chinese government's censorship requirements in order to do business with that second-largest Internet market. When Chinese citizens type words like "democracy", "freedom", "human rights" (or other "profanities") into these search engines, they get an error page. While search engines are hardly the only ones culpable for doing business with China, their product is information, and they're willing to corrupt it for profits. And that's the least of the problem.

Google was the last of the three companies to enter the Chinese market, and by doing so it's on a dangerous course. Yahoo has been implicated in helping Chinese authorities to identify at least three Internet writers who were subsequently jailed for "subversion," and Microsoft followed Beijing orders to shut down the site of an outspoken blogger. So far, Google hasn't done anything so reprehensible, but the future doesn't look promising.

Last month Google CEO Eric Schmidt had this to say about the company's bowing to Chinese censorship: "It is not an option for us to broadly make information available that is illegal, inappropriate or immoral or what have you." (By "illegal, inappropriate or immoral", he's referring to "democracy, freedom, human rights," etc.)

As AFP reported then: "While Google and the other companies have come under pressure in the United States not to succumb to Chinese pressure, Schmidt praised China's rulers for their Internet strategy that has seen a huge online population develop.

"'We look at the rise of China, the investment and the smart people and we are in awe of what has occurred here...And we salute the government, key leaders in the industry and all of you who have made the rise of the Internet in China such a tremendous accomplishment.'"

Schmidt then declined to answer whether Google would supply personal information about its users to Chinese authorities if requested: "'I'd rather not answer a hypothetical question,' he said."

What makes the Google case of putting profits over principles particularly galling and depressing—aside from its "Don't Be Evil" (in pursuit of corporate profits) slogan—is that its founder, Sergei Brin, escaped with his parents from the clutches of the Soviet regime. All so that he could reach the height of success that American freedom and opportunity afford and then choose to once again do as the Communists tell him.

Worse, while bowing to Chinese orders, the company refuses to cooperate with our own Department of Justice in facilitating anti-child-porn measures.

By making the choice—in a land where he has a choice—to do business with a place where there is no choice, Brin's company promotes a wider world without choice. "We have all made a commitment to the government that we will absolutely follow the Chinese law," Schmidt added. "We don't have any alternatives."

Precisely. Such is the country that the Google CEO praises. Sergei Brin's American odyssey back to Communism is what happens when immigrants forget where it is they came from, and why they left. CRO

This piece first appeared at JewishWorldReview.com

copyright 2006 Julia Gorin





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