Skip to content

Not on the agenda: Caring and justice

One of the most useful concepts I’ve come across in a long time is the idea of moral foundations theory, which I wrote about back in February. The theory posits six “moral foundations,” some of which predominate in liberals and some in conservatives. They are:

Fairness (which we can equate with justice)

In liberals, caring and fairness are prevalent. In conservatives, it is loyalty, authority, purity, and liberty. There is some overlap, of course. Conservatives care about family, and to some degree they care about people who are just like them. But if you’re not just like them, then mostly they see little basis for caring about you, and you’re on your own. And liberals have strong feelings for liberty, though we liberals would never tolerate injustice in the name of liberty, whereas conservatives have a high tolerance for that.

ProPublica posted an article this week with the headline “Has the moment for environmental justice been lost?” The article says that Donald Trump has put the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice on the chopping block. It’s not that the Office of Environmental Justice is expensive. It costs only $2 million a year. It’s because the words “environmental justice” stick in the conservative craw, combining two thing that don’t fit with conservative (or libertarian) ideas about liberty.

Trump, of late, has been ranting about loyalty. To normal people, loyalty is reciprocal — I’ll look out for you because I care about you, and because reciprocity is fair, knowing that you’ll look out for me. But to a deranged man like Trump, as an article in Vox points out today, loyalty is a one-way thing owed to the big man. And the big man retains the arbitrary and unreciprocal authority to throw those loyal to him under the bus.

During the last year, through the horror of the Trump campaign and Trump’s first six months in office, we have learned much about how the supposedly moral foundations of conservatism lead conservatives to think, speak, and act during our era — a globalized era in which their thinking, speaking, and acting are amplified by globalization and their prowess in using technology. For example:

— Inequality doesn’t matter. In fact, they want more inequality. George Lakoff has described the conservative moral hierarchy thus: God above man, man above nature, rich above poor, employers above employees, adults above children, Western culture above other cultures, America above other countries, men above women, whites above non-whites, Christians above non-Christians, and straights above gays. Inequality is both good and godly, because they believe that this also is the hierarchy that is in the mind of God.

— It is better that the rich should have tax cuts than that 30 million people should have health insurance.

— Racism and a threat of violence can be tolerated and even encouraged, since it’s a basis of their righteous power.

— Corrupt Russian plutocrats are our friends. Democrats are the true enemy.

— Screw the earth. It’s our liberty to exploit it.

— If you’re poor, it’s your own fault, and we’ll do our best to keep you from voting because all you want is to take from the rich.

— No one is owed an education. If you can’t afford it, tough. (Though training labor for corporations at public expense may be OK. Real educations are actually dangerous in the lower classes and are to be discouraged.)

— Health care is not a right. If you can’t afford it, tough.

— The market can do no wrong. Government can do no right.

— To the maximum degree it can be gotten away with politically, profits should be private and costs legally transferred to the public.

— Thank God for scapegoats such as transgender people.

— Ethics? What ethics?

— If it’s not in accord with what we believe, it’s a lie. If we believe it, it’s true.

I would argue that there is something inherently crazy-making about over-esteeming both liberty and authority. Others have pointed out how authoritarians actually crave to submit — to the big man, at least. Liberals have no such problem, because we are highly skeptical of authority.

If white, conservative Trump supporters were a majority even in their own country, then a kind of repressed political stability might be possible. But Trump is in office even though he did not get a majority of the votes, and only because of meddling in the election to an extent not yet known. Six or so percent of the people who voted for him already have turned against him. In other words, the situation is extremely unstable and unsustainable. The iron heel becomes more necessary each day. It remains to be seen whether the damage done to our governing institutions can be restored after Trump is thrown down. But turmoil is guaranteed from here on out.

Moral foundations theory is presented as an objective, values-free way of categorizing people, which is as it should be with a pragmatic theory. To be a conservative, according to the theory, is just as normal for some people as being a liberal is for others.

But now that we have seen 63 million white, angry, ill-informed, ill-educated, heavily propagandized Americans rise up and elect a new kind of leader, and now that we see what kind of leader that is, and now that we see what the Republican Party has at last become, let us please stop deceiving ourselves. Conservatism is not just a normal and alternative way of being. Though ugly in all times, in our times conservatism is deeply pathological and very dangerous. Conservatism is hostile to every virtue and every value that will be needed if humanity (and the planet we live on) is to survive for another hundred years.

John Rawls:

The unjust man seeks dominion for the sake of aims such as wealth and security…. The bad man desires arbitrary power because he enjoys the sense of mastery which its exercise gives to him…. By contrast, the evil man aspires to unjust rule precisely because it violates what independent persons would consent to in an original position of equality, and therefore its possession and display manifest his superiority and affront the self-respect of others…. What moves the evil man is the love of injustice: he delights in the impotence and humiliation of those subject to him and relishes being recognized by them as the author of their degradation.

Which kind of man is Trump? He might once have been merely an unjust man. I would argue that, when he was running for president, he had become a bad man. And now, week by week, he becomes more evil. We also have seen Trump’s conservative moral depravity echoed in the kind of people he has surrounded himself with. Conservatives cannot conceive of themselves as morally depraved. After all, they go to church; they go around saying God, God, God; they make a great show of praying; and they would like to paint “In God We Trust” on every government building in America. But they are proving themselves to be actively depraved. They are acting it out.

To direct our resistance only at the big man and the Republican government is insufficient. There remains the problem of the 63 million people who voted for this and how their conservatism has damaged them and is damaging the rest of us. What is a solution to that, a solution compatible with caring and fairness? What does caring and fairness owe to the morally depraved? I don’t know, though cleaning up their messes and comforting those they are afflicting is part of it. Their big man acts like a child, a child with vast powers, and they’re OK with that. What they all have done cannot be overlooked or forgotten.

The Brontës: To Walk Invisible

For literature lovers, “To Walk Invisible” is a must-see. It’s a two-hour, two-part British production about the Brontë sisters, shown this spring in the U.S. on PBS and now available on DVD.

It is an extremely strange production, and it will give Brontë fans hours of arguing and brooding material. As far as I know, Juliet Barker’s massive tome of a biography of the Brontës (1994) remains the go-to biography. I have not read the entire book (it’s 1,004 pages, and I bought it years ago partly as a reference), but I have read much of it. Based on the Barker biography, I would have said that the chief feature of the sisters’ life in their Yorkshire parsonage would have been unremitting boredom relieved only by imagination. But “To Walk Invisible” shows the household in constant turmoil, a turmoil caused mainly by Branwell’s alcoholism and his overall dysfunction.

The casting is superb. How is it possible that Ireland and the British Isles go and and on producing such superb young actors and actresses? Is it their training? Normally I am quite good at following regional accents in the British Isles, but the northern accents in “To Walk Invisible” were a challenge, especially Emily’s, played by Chloe Pirrie, who is Scottish. Finn Atkins, who plays Charlotte, is English. Charlie Murphy, who plays Anne, is Irish. So I can’t vouch for the authenticity of their northern accents, but they sure threw me. If the dialogue is a problem, you can turn on English subtitles. Jonathan Pryce is a superb Patrick Brontë, and Pryce speaks a perfect Oxford-Cambridge English.

Whether or not Brontë scholars would give their seal of approval to the accuracy of the details of the events and dialogue and turmoil inside the Brontë parsonage (mostly I think they would not), this is a beautiful production. It also gets out onto the moors, dogs and all. Any telling of the Brontës’ story is going to be heartbreaking and heavy on pathos, in that they died far too young and far too unhappy. Only Charlotte lived long enough to enjoy her fame. But a part of appreciating the Brontë contribution to English literature is an appreciation of how badly they suffered to produce it.

Into the Woods: the 10th anniversary

Tomorrow, July 18, will be the 10th anniversary of the Into the Woods blog.

I started the blog while I was still living in San Francisco, more than a year before I actually moved to North Carolina. I hope you will indulge me for a moment for a few self-referential comments.

• In the past 10 years, I have written 1,219 posts, totaling almost 400,000 words. That would equal about four good-size novels.

• About half the readership of the blog is by regular readers who come here almost every day. The other half come from web searches, people who stop by to read an article on a particular subject.

• The most-Googled post is the one on “Buffalo China — a sad American story.”

• Quite a few people stick around and read dozens and dozens of posts, pretty much all the posts about the building of the house at Acorn Abbey, a gothic revival cottage. I’ve lost count, but a number of people have bought the plans to the house from the architect, Rodney Pfotenhauer, and have built (or are at present building) a similar house. I’m going to guess that I’ve helped Pfotenhauer make a good bit of money (which he richly deserves).

• About a third of the blog’s regular readers are outside the United States, particularly in Europe. Readers who come here from Google are from all over the world and are particularly interested in my more nerdy posts, including my post on the Nikon Model S microscope and the post on rebuilding classic Peerless speakers.

• During the past five years, five books have been conceived and/or written here — three by Ken, and two by me. Of course there will be more.

• I am planning a book on the building of Acorn Abbey, but that book is in the queue behind the third Ursa Major novel, to be released next year. It will be a book not just about building a particular house, but about downsizing and simplifying while remaining a productive citizen and staying involved with the world.

Thanks for being a reader! And here’s to the next 10 years.

Coming Dec. 15: The Last Jedi

Today Disney released a teaser for the next Star Wars Film, “The Last Jedi.” The film will be released Dec. 15.

It is thrilling to see Gwendolyn Christie cast in the new film. She is the 6’3″ British actress who plays Brienne in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” It’s heartwarming to see new scenes with Carrie Fisher, who is now dead. She had already filmed her scenes before her death. It appears that we will return to Ireland’s Skellig Michael, one of the most magical places in the world.

Those of us who would curl up and die without stories are looking forward to Season 7 of “Game of Thrones,” which starts tomorrow. And looking forward to “The Last Jedi” should see us safely through til Christmas.

⬆︎ Gwendolyn Christie

This Land Is Our Land

Ken has completed his next book, and it is due at the publisher this week. The book is This Land Is Our Land: How we lost the right to roam and how to take it back. It will be released next April.

The book came about after Ken published a piece in the New York Times last year, “This Is Our Country. Let’s Walk It.”

Ken calls the book radical. But having read the manuscript two or three times, I would say that it’s radical only to those who hold, as Ken says, a despotic view of property rights. The book is scholarly but very readable (as Ken always is). It’s brilliantly researched and documented, with 575 footnotes. It is, in many ways, a book about the law. But it also imagines a future that I’m pretty sure the readers of this blog would like.

Sleek and healthy

I got a good look at the resident twins and their mama yesterday while they were snacking in the back yard. Everyone looks very sleek, healthy, and well fed. The rainy spring has been very good for all the wildlife. I have never seen so many lightning bugs.

A great feast of reckoning is coming

Don Jr. and Eric Trump, during their now-gone days of gloating

They thought that they could get away with it. With the presidency and the executive-branch bureaucracy in their hands, with both houses of Congress, and with a stolen seat on the Supreme Court, it looked like a slam-dunk to them.

They’d have all the power they needed to never be found out and brought to justice. They’d be able to make deals with the Republican party to enact the entire right-wing agenda — vast new riches for the rich; new miseries for the old, the poor and the sick; a deregulatory ax to any kind of restraint on exploitation, whether of disempowered people or of the earth; Orwellian levels of lies and deception along with a mewling media too weak and demonized to challenge it; more dumbing down of the masses, from the first grade to the universities; ingenious new laws to lock all of this in place even when a strong majority rose up against them; a pool of white trash brownshirts in the flyover lands, always angry and primed for violence; blow jobs and a cut of the tax money for the white preachers; perpetual degradation and a life of fear for godless liberals and all the others they hate; ever crueler courts, as they continue to stack the courts; new powers for right-wing state governments; more prisons — prisons that even turn a profit; a new international alignment playing kissy-kissy with kleptocracies (and kleptocrats) while insulting people-oriented democracies (and their leaders); unrestrained American corruption on the Russian model; and an American democracy crushed and looted, like Pinochet’s Chile.

Though we are still not out of the woods, with luck we may have just passed the point at which the tables have turned.

The New York Times has turned the tables during the past four days with an ever-tightening noose — a noose of treason — around the neck of Donald Trump Jr. Actually, though, the noose was not made by the New York Times. Rather, the noose was made by whoever supplied the brilliant sequence of leaks that have forced Donald Jr. to incriminate himself ever more deeply with each day’s new leak. So far there have been four days of leaks about the meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. But we may not be done yet. Young Trump, according to the emails revealed by the Times, was delighted at the prospect of getting some dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian operatives. With that dirt, they’d be able to stampede the media, bamboozle the voters, enrage their base, and make Sanders supporters hate Hillary as much as Republicans did. We don’t yet know whether they tampered with elections systems, though we do know they tried. They’d be able to say (and say, and say, and say) that they’d won the election. Therefore they’d have had themselves a masterpiece worthy of a narcissistic crime family — a legal coup. Apparently they are so narcissistic that Donald Senior even boasted about Russian help, as though it never occurred to him that justice could ever catch up with a Trump.

And it’s not just Donald Jr. whose neck is in a noose. This is going to be a wholesale hanging. Jared Kushner also was at the meeting, as was Paul Manafort. This morning, the Palmer Report reported that ProPublica has recovered an old tweet that reveals that Reince Priebus, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, was at Trump Tower on the morning of the meeting. So it seems likely that the Republican party was in on the treason, too. Donald Senior denies knowing anything about the meeting or the conspiracy, but if you believe that, then I have a big building or two in New York to sell you, if you don’t mind the underwater mortgages.

Now we wait for the wheels of justice. We liberals are used to that. We know all too well that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and we know all too well who it is who always tries to break the wheels of justice. Because it’s always the same damned people.

Just think how they gloated after the election. Remember how they taunted us? Are they gloating now? How well do you suppose they’re sleeping? How paranoid do you suppose they are about which piece of the story is going to be revealed next?

And so, unless they are somehow able to head this off, then the same democratic institutions in Washington that have stopped them before will stop them again. Government. No wonder they hate it.

But that’s just Washington’s justice, and that’s not justice enough. Almost 63 million Americans voted for this. Some already regret it. Some never will. To them, the biggest shit show in American history promised to make us strong again. And the most depraved character in American politics — ever — looked presidential. That is deeply pathological. It’s terrifying. The Republican party enabled it (and is still trying to head off justice).

Because I live in the sticks, I am acutely aware of another matter of justice and of holding people responsible for what they have done. As I have said before in this space, anyone who voted for Donald Trump has forfeited the right to be called a decent human being. We have to figure out how to handle that. Speaking strictly for myself, I am not willing to ever forget it.

Informed delivery??

Back in April, the U.S. Postal Service rolled out a new feature called “Informed Delivery.” If you sign up for it, then each morning you’ll receive an email from the postal service with a scanned grayscale image of each piece of mail that is to be delivered to you that day.

I wasn’t aware of this until I picked up a promotional leaflet about it while I was at the post office today. My first reaction had to do with privacy. Obviously they’re taking pictures of every single piece of mail that passes through the post office.

After a little Googling, I learned that the post office has been taking pictures of all the mail since the 1990s. It’s part of the address-scanning and automatic sorting process. But just think what they can do with that. Not only do they have pictures of all the mail, but they also can cross-reference all the addresses and feed a database that documents who knows whom, and who does business with whom. In other words, there is no private way of communicating with anyone anymore — not by telephone, not through email, and not through the post office. You can be sure that it’s all in a database somewhere, indexed, cross-referenced and retained.

Privacy questions aside, what might Informed Delivery be good for? I live about a quarter of a mile from my mailbox. It actually would be nice to know in advance what, if anything, is in the mailbox before I go out to retrieve the mail. I don’t necessarily go to the mailbox every day. But yeah, I signed up for it.

In its promotional material on Informed Delivery, the postal service says that they hope it will make the postal service seem more relevant to millenials, since millenials’ lives apparently revolve around their smartphones. And apparently, for those who have signed up for the service, it’s popular. The postal service says that almost 80 percent of the people who receive the daily emails look at them. (You do know, don’t you, how businesses can tell whether you opened a piece of mail?)

It seems the postal service will also try to use it for marketing. Companies that send mail will be able to pay the postal service for little ads that will be displayed in the daily emails, when something the company has mailed is scheduled to be delivered that day. Direct marketers are trying hard to figure out how to leverage that.

In any case, now we know that someone has pictures of all the mail we’ve received since sometime in the 1990s. We can assume that the mail can be searched by name and address, and we can assume that they can build lists of everybody we’ve ever sent mail to or received mail from. We also should assume that the mail can be cross-referenced to telephone calls and emails. Keep in mind that, as you drive each day, particularly in urban and suburban areas, your license plate is frequently scanned by roadway cameras, and thus your car can be tracked. Your cell phone is a tracking device. And of course they have, or at least have access to, a database of credit card transactions. What you do with your computer is tracked.

It is better to be aware of these things than not to be aware. And I think it’s better to monitor the ways we’re monitored than not to. Normally all that stuff is stored, and ignored, in vast databases. But when they want to build a dossier on someone, just think how much they’d know.

Here’s a thought experiment. If you wanted to communicate with someone at a distance in a way that could not be monitored and that would not leave a record, would you be able to do that? If so, how?


I got my first Informed Delivery email this morning. Here’s what it looks like — a DVD from Netflix’s DVD division, and what appears to be an invitation to an elementary school reunion. It’s kind of cool, actually, because now I know that I need to go up to the mailbox today and retrieve the DVD.

Some speculations on Whole Foods

Whole Foods Winston-Salem, before the lunch rush

It’s interesting how much buzz there has been about Amazon buying Whole Foods. Even people who’ve hardly ever been inside a Whole Foods and who don’t use Amazon (people like my brother) have been talking about it. Everyone seems to suspect that this transaction may be the leading edge of big changes in how all of us shop.

At the Winston-Salem Whole Foods earlier this week, I said to the checkout guy, “What do y’all think of your new owners?”

I got a somewhat testy response that I interpreted to mean that Whole Foods employees have gotten tired of answering questions. No doubt many of the questions are hostile. He responded as though I had asked what’s going to change. Apparently that’s the question most people are asking. Anyway, his testy response was that he has no idea what it all means, that he’s not on the board, doesn’t get to sit in on the meetings, and has no idea what it’s all about. Ouch. Perhaps he also was expressing a bit of nervousness. After all, some of the stories that have been written about Amazon buying Whole Foods have speculated that checkout people will soon be replaced by machines. Note to Amazon PR types who came across this through Google Alerts: You need to communicate with Whole Foods employees and reassure them, if you can. They may be freaking out.

I’ve read a good bit of the commentary on this. Everybody is speculating. The liberal media — for example Salon, or Vox — have a strong dislike for Amazon and seem to assume that Amazon will roboticize Whole Foods stores and squeeze small organic farmers into bankruptcy, to the benefit of Big Organic.

I fear they may be right on the matter of the small organic farmers who farm with a conscience, as opposed to Big Organic, which farms with the intent of taking advantage of a market in which they can get away with charging a lot more for what they sell. On the other hand, if big players can do truly good sustainable farming and grow beautiful and exuberant produce (rather than pale and inferior stuff which just happens to have an organic sticker on it), then how much of a bad thing is that? That’s all about how organic farmers are monitored and the standards they are held to. Amazon will need to be very careful about buying only from honest, well-monitored organic operations. Luckily, Amazon has the resources to do that. They’d better get it right.

However, as for roboticizing Whole Foods stores, I just don’t think that is going to happen. Certainly Amazon has roboticized its warehouses and shipping operations. But that’s all out of sight of the customer. It’s different with Whole Foods. Amazon’s PR people will make it clear to Amazon’s management (though I feel sure that Amazon’s management already gets it) that Whole Foods will now become the brick-and-mortar public face of Amazon and that they’d better make it pretty.

If Amazon wanted impersonal brick-and-mortar operations that lend themselves to mechanization and roboticization, then they’d be competing with low-end stores such as Aldi. Why buy a top-of-the-market operation like Whole Foods just to turn it into Aldi? That would be destroying a large chunk of Whole Foods’ value, the value for which Amazon paid a lot of good money.

One of the wisest commentaries I’ve read suggests that what Amazon wants is a network of delivery centers. Whole Foods has 431 stores in upscale locations. You order online whatever you usually order from Amazon (probably not groceries). And then, the next day, or maybe even later the same day, you drive to your local Whole Foods and pick up your order. While you’re at Whole Foods, you have some ice cream, or some coffee, or a pizza, or lunch. And maybe you even shop for groceries. Whole Foods stores actually devote a considerable percentage of their floor space to food, drink, and reasonably pleasant places to sit down for a while, WIFI included. Bottom line: Amazon has new options for lower-cost and quicker delivery, plus they draw a whole bunch of new customers into Whole Foods stores. Would you want all those new Whole Foods customers to have an Aldi experience? Of course not. Whole Foods stores would now be competing with Starbucks, with every retailer at the mall, with the grocery stores, and even with the local Barnes & Noble, if you’re lucky enough to have one. You can get anything you want there, and you can still paw the lettuce and sniff the canteloupes before you buy them.

It’s devilishly clever.

Would I go there? You darn right I would, if Whole Foods will spiff up and enlarge its stores, keep them teeming with cheerful and contented employees, and sell only the best of what America’s — and here I emphasize America’s — organic farmers can produce. If the new customers that came over from Costco still want a case of canned green beans or half a ton of Pepsi, then sell it to them through the warehouse delivery system, not in the holy space of the Whole Foods store. And since the Pepsi-buyers will be Trump voters who have the manners of Walmart shoppers, please design your stores so that we old Whole Foods customers can avoid the Republicans (and they us). This may be your biggest problem, Amazon. Whole Foods customers and Walmart customers don’t mix. It’s a culture war, you know.

Whole Foods has a bad habit that I’d like to see them quit. I complain about it regularly, both on the corporate web site and at the customer service desk at my nearest store. We all should complain. That’s to stop importing so much stuff. I abhor, for example, the garlic imported from South America. It may be labeled as organic, but it’s also inferior garlic — badly cured, blemished, sometimes moldy. I’d much rather buy healthy-looking garlic from Gilroy, California, that isn’t organic, if it’s obviously better garlic (as it certainly would be if it came from Gilroy).

Maybe my view of what’s up with Amazon and Whole Foods is skewed by the fact that those two companies already get most of the money I spend. If they keep their standards up and make it fun and easy, then they’ll get 96 percent of what I spend. The rest of my spending would go to the local hardware store and to the Tractor Supply where I buy organic chicken feed. One thing that is not efficient at present for Amazon Prime are heavy items that are expensive to ship — 40 pound bags of chicken feed, for example, or even four-pound bags of cat food. Local pickup would change the economics of Amazon Prime.

Ultimately, I wonder if there isn’t something sustainable in a one-stop supply line. All those thousands of retail stores and big box stores (and the driving to and fro) suck up a huge amount of overhead and energy — and time. As long as the delivery system is efficient and sustainable (and involves far fewer cardboard boxes — the bane of Amazon Prime) then maybe it wouldn’t be an all-bad example of creative destruction.

I am cautiously optimistic.

Rich young creeps and their creepy visions

What is it about young tech billionaires that makes them so creepy?

Partly, I’m sure, it’s the character flaws that they seem to have in common — hubris, arrogance, the assurance of superiority that goes along with their being very smart and having made themselves very rich. They also see themselves as visionaries who have been anointed to lead us all into a brave new techno-utopian future brought about by the consumption of their products (and in which, coincidentally, they will be even richer). They also tend to be monomaniacs: Their idea is the one true master key to our exciting utopian future.

Why is it that their visions of the future almost always make us gag?

Just yesterday, I came across a link on Facebook to an article in Wired magazine with the headline: “Why you will one day have a chip in your brain.” Thanks for the heads-up on that, Wired magazine.

Remember Google Glass? Back in 2013, a tech blogger wrote this about Google Glass: “According to Google CEO, Sergey Brin, Google’s latest product innovation is meant to end the social isolation of smartphones as you often miss the events going on around you while playing with your phone. Google Glass eliminates that distraction as you enjoy your life while wearing glasses and have all the functions and commands of your smartphone without having to divert your attention to your phone.” Wow, Sergey. What could go wrong?

To be fair to Elon Musk, he has a broader and more mature sense of the future than do some of the lesser tech billionaires, yet he also assumes that, without the gifts that tech entrepreneurs intend to bring us, our future will be a bleak and empty one. Just recently, in talking about space exploration, he said, “There have to be reasons you get up in the morning and want to live.” Thanks, Elon. I can’t wait.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants to bring us virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and a “global community” — with Facebook, of course, at the center of it. In his recent manifesto about the future of Facebook, Zuckerberg puts this line in bold: “In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.” Thanks for the infrastructure, Mr. Zuckerberg! And by the way, thanks for all the benefits your social infrastructure provided us during the 2016 election, particularly your focus on making your infrastructure (to use your words) supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged, and inclusive. With Facebook’s help, we’re sure on our way to building a super-duper global community!

And thanks, all you guys, for reminding me why I’m hiding in the woods.

Sergey Brin

Elon Musk

Mark Zuckerberg