What does "Don't be evil" mean?

Been reading scattered pieces on the Google are they evil/hypocritcal meme. Google say their motto is:

"Don't be evil."

This doesn't mean "be good" or "do good" or "make sure good things happen." As a motto it's pithy but actionably weak. If we consider another phrase, attributed to Edmund Burke, we can see why.

"It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph."

We can see that evil does not only spring from the actions we take, but also from the actions we omit (and presumably most likely from our omissions to do good). Anyone who has observed any significant amount of human politics understands that often the most powerful forces act indirectly. Where they wish to do harm they do not do so themselves but allow others to do it for them, their omission is not to stand in their way.

Hence, Google's motto is meaningless.

01/01/2007 14:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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