Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2017 00:35 UTC
Apple

Earlier today, John Gruber linked to this piece, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the superior orders defense. Gruber later followed up with a more detailed article, and wondered what I think Apple should do.

Too many people reacting to this story think that it's about Apple deciding to acquiesce to this particular demand regarding VPN apps. It's not. The real issues are two-fold:

  • Should Apple being doing business in China at all?
  • Should the App Store remain the only way to install apps on iOS devices?

Neither of these are simple topics, and I would (and am about to) argue that neither question has a clear-cut "this is the right thing to do" answer.

Nonsense. In both of these cases, it's very "clear-cut" what "the right thing to do" is.

  1. No.
  2. No.

Since the App Store question is obvious - my computer, my rules, my software, get out - let's move on to the China question. The only reason this issue is supposedly not "clear-cut" is because we live in a society that values money over people. People like John Gruber argue that Google's advertising practices and data collection are bad and evil, but in one breath argue that it's okay for Apple to buddy up to totalitarian regimes like the ones in China or Saudi-Arabia that have complete and utter disregard for human rights because it's good for Apple.

You can certainly make that argument - and each and every one of us uses products that either depend on or are made in totalitarian regimes - but don't try to justify it or claim there's no clear right and wrong here. Collaborating with such regimes is clearly wrong, period. No ifs, buts, or maybes, and by buying products made in China or by putting Saudi-Arabian oil in our cars we are all complicit, whether we like it or not.

We like to make it seem as if right and wrong are cloudy, nebulous concepts, but in reality, they rarely are. The only thing that's cloudy and nebulous is our own cognitive dissonance and the twisting, contorting, and justifying we - as a society - do to solve it.

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RE[2]: Not so clear cut
by Wondercool on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Not so clear cut"
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

May I ask you a personal question Thom? Not long ago you proudly announced on Twitter that you bought an iPad Pro (for a lot of money - my addition).

Do you regret that decision in the light of this development?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Not so clear cut
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:42 in reply to "RE[2]: Not so clear cut"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

May I ask you a personal question Thom? Not long ago you proudly announced on Twitter that you bought an iPad Pro (for a lot of money - my addition).

Do you regret that decision in the light of this development?


The answer to that question is actually in this article: "...and each and every one of us uses products that either depend on or are made in totalitarian regimes...".

The point of this whole article is not to condemn us or companies or governments buddying up to totalitarian regimes - the point is to condemn trying to use mental gymnastics to pretend that it is morally right. None of us can avoid it, unless you live naked in the woods somewhere. The point is to be mindful that your actions have consequences, and that each and every one of us plays a (possibly unavoidable) role in maintaining and propping up really, really bad people.

Edited 2017-08-01 19:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Not so clear cut
by Wondercool on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:51 in reply to "RE[3]: Not so clear cut"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Well, the way I see it is that Apple keeps doing business in China because it makes them money. A normal principle of (unrestrained) capitalism.

If consumers of Apple products disapprove of that, there is only one thing that will speak to Apple (if enough people do it): don't buy Apple products.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Not so clear cut
by leos on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 04:37 in reply to "RE[3]: Not so clear cut"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

The point of this whole article is not to condemn us or companies or governments buddying up to totalitarian regimes - the point is to condemn trying to use mental gymnastics to pretend that it is morally right. None of us can avoid it, unless you live naked in the woods somewhere. The point is to be mindful that your actions have consequences, and that each and every one of us plays a (possibly unavoidable) role in maintaining and propping up really, really bad people.


Great, so your advice is to recognize it is wrong (debatable) and not change any behaviour in response to that. And the point is? A person that believes killing animals is wrong but eats meat anyway is functionally no different than a person who believes there is nothing wrong with killing animals for food.

Reply Parent Score: 2