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The Right ChoiceA couple of days back Wired Magazine published the article "Google's Search Algorithm Could Steal The Presidency". The centre of that piece is research conducted by Epstein and Roberson (two scientists working for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology) which indicates that in terms of candidates, Google's ranking matters. They estimate that whichever candidate Google ranks first is viewed in a more positive light by about 48% of people and this could bias about 25% of all national elections. They even have a name for it: Vote Manipulation Power or VMP.

The researchers actually go a step further, they realize that if ranking has this effect in elections, it has the same effect for everything! And so they say "Now that we've discovered this big effect, how do you kill it?"

PEOPLE ARE STUPID

You are reading this little blog, ergo, you are not stupid. You think. This probably places you beyond the six Sigma distribution of population. Without going into statistical terms, let's just say that you are indeed a rare avis! Which means, that the vast (very vast) majority of the population is not. And what is that everybody else does?

Think!

Hell no! They don't think.

They read. They consume. They have opinions. They have beliefs. They have superficial actions driven by superficial information. Thus, Google's ranking matters. Because it is superficial information. It is the crowd's choice. It is the pack's answer to a threat. Safety in numbers, no matter how dumb those numbers may be. Hell yes! Let's all jump off a cliff in mass. It seems like a good idea! Let's go!

The last one is a lemming!

STUPID PEOPLE ARE EASILY SWAYED

Ask any psychologist. People who have never bothered developing their critical thinking skills are quite easy to influence. This is so because they don't know how to gauge information. They can't filter and reject worthless data. They are incapable of independent thought. Thus, they accept whatever they are told. Thus, Google's ranking matters.

It never occurs to these people to look at the core of Google's ranking algorithm, which is basically written popularity. The ranking process in its essence is simple: the more links a website has pointing at it from other websites, the more "popular" that link is. Which implies absolutely nothing regarding the view of those websites. Think about it! A candidate or a product may be "popular" because it stinks! A great deal of people are dissatisfied with it, yet, it may rank at the top of a search result.

Think!

Would you buy a product just because there is a great deal of people complaining about it? Or would you actually consider the fact that they are complaining? We hope you would. Yet, most people don't. This is yet another wonderful effect of the "nanny" state. Don't think, just enjoy your life… and don't forget to pay taxes. We will think for you.

IT DOES NOT GETS BETTER

But let's assume that yes indeed Google's ranking matters when it comes to elections. Wow! How terrible! People may elect the "wrong" candidate and that would be terrible because… because… because… camon, help us out here… because?

Look, some things are simple. This is one of those things.

Let us get you into a secret: there is no right candidate!!!

They are all wrong candidates because they all operate within a democratic system which is based on Social Contracts and Social Contracts Are A Scam. All modern governments are socialists which basically means that they are spending us (and you) into oblivion. Don't believe us? Check our Socialism Indices and our Default Indices and you will see. In particularly, take a look at our Incompetence Socialist Index (ISI). This index has been calculated for several years across many, many countries. The result? They are all incompetent!

That's right. No matter which candidate or party you vote for, they are all incompetent!

Which, obviously, defeats the purpose of voting in the first place. But if voting is irrelevant, does Google's ranking matter? Of course not!

It only matters because people are stupid.

IT GETS WORSE

But what is this behaviour saying about other products? Is Google having an effect on their sales? Of course! It is unavoidable. For the same reasons. But if this is the case, how can we, Libertarians, justify such an "intrusion" in our freedom of choice?

Look, again, this is not difficult.

The only reason why there is so much effervescence in this matter is because it does have an effect on people.

Come again?

If this would not have an effect it would be a moot point, right?

Well then, let's make it irrelevant for people! There. Problem solved.

Huh?

OK, OK. We will spell it out.

This gigantic influence that Google has on the choices that people make is driven precisely because people can be swayed one way or another. And why can people be swayed to such a monstrous degree? Because, again, they don't think. And why don't they think? Because they have been taught not to think. At least not to think critically.

In a Libertarian system you are on your own. Nobody will do the thinking for you… unless you pay them (and not too many people would be able to afford such a service). Thus, in a Libertarian system you are forced to think critically because you have no choice. Thus, you will recognize Google's ranking position for what it truly is; a "popularity" contest, not a quality indicator!

In a Libertarian system what Google does or does not do is mostly irrelevant. In a Libertarian system marketing strategies are far less effective precisely because customers are not only better informed, but they are better (far better) thinkers. In other words, in a Libertarian system propaganda matters very little. It becomes a non-event. Something we tune-out from by default. Period.

Again we came to the same conclusion. If this is a problem it is because states created them. They were the enablers of such problems. We, the people, left to our own devices would have solved this artificial problem the natural way long time ago. But no. We never had the choice.

CONCLUSION

The fact that Google's ranking algorithm can sway elections and by extension any propaganda can sway minds is only relevant within "democratic" systems. In Libertarian systems this is utterly irrelevant. The question that was posed by the scientists "how do you kill it?" has only one ineffective answer within democracies: regulations. More of the same. However, within a Libertarian context it becomes irrelevant by nature. And so we yet again come to the same conclusion. Remove governments from issues and the issues solve themselves. What a surprise! NOT!

Look, some things are easy. This is one of them. If you prefer regulations then regulations is what you will get. Just one thing, don't look upon us to help you choose the "best" ones. We refuse and you should too.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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